There are always designers you’ve never heard of, a new player on the scene, someone that you may have overheard whispers about, but haven’t really seen their work. Well hang on because we are about to bring you your new favorite designer. We’ll give you fair warning and suggest that you just make a space in your closet now, because if you’re in love with trendy pieces, modern cuts and feminine details, you’re going to need the whole collection. And that’s pretty rare—but then again so is Waldrip. Creating clothes for women everywhere (including Gwyneth Paltrow), designer Stephanie Waldrip wants her pieces to be fresh, accessible and most of all—wearable. Oh yes, they are that.
Raised in Atlanta, Georgia, Waldrip attended Savannah College of Art and Design knowing exactly what she wanted to do when she graduated. A lover of textiles, she dreamed of a collection based on simple silhouettes and opulent fabrics. After graduation she left Georgia with friend Gavin Brooks and moved to New York before the two created her eponymous label. And while some teams have been known to have squabbles over little things like buttons, Waldrip assured us, that never happens to them. “It really works, our partnership, because [Brooks] does the accounting, handles all the things that are less creative, things I’m not really interested in,” Waldrip explains to JustLuxe.
And maybe it’s best she leave the numbers to her partner, as Waldrip is clearly best in her role as creative talent of the team. “I prefer it just because it really allows me to hone in on what I love which is creating a collection, the sampling and—the materials. For me, I like working in teams,” she said. Makes sense to us—who doesn’t want to just do the fun part of their job? But despite the perfect business team, she doesn’t take Brooks for granted, suggesting that the partnership gives her the liberty to let her creative juices flow.
The Waldrip brand is rich in furs, jacquards and mismatched fabrics, and as a lover of fabrication designer Stephanie Waldrip wanted to make sure that all her resources were ethical and personally researched all her mills before deciding on those she would produce with. “I try to work with always good people, good factories, very ethical companies because a lot of things that happen in the garment district aren’t –even though it’s in America, it’s not necessarily ethical,“ she explains. But she does her best to make as much of it in as possible in the US, as roughly 60%-80% of Waldrip is produced here. All fur is sourced from New York and she intends to keep it that way “as long as I can.”
As far as the collections go—basically you’ll beat yourself up forever if you don’t snag some of those last minute Spring 2013 pieces. “There’s always some sort of theme to every collection," Waldrip explains. And while her first instinct is to think of creative, out-of-the-box designs, she reserves those for Lady Gaga, another famous client of hers. She wants to design pieces that women can wear and live their lives in, it’s not all about what’s trendy, but it doesn’t hurt that her clothes are of-the-moment anyway. When creating a new collection or piece she thinks of how it will be worn and who’ll be wearing it. “It’s more about the women I’m designing for—where is she? What is she doing? Where is she traveling to?” Waldrip says.
And even if she’s in love with a new design she doesn’t immediately send it into production. “I’m a very conscious dresser, I always think about, ‘is this going to look good on me? Is this going to look good on someone who might have a different aesthetic or a friend of mine who has a completely different style?’ I always try to think about two or three different women—like—would my mother like this?” Waldrip says. She wants the pieces to be closet staples, worn often and not tossed aside when the seasons or trends change; the last thing she wants her namesake brand to be is fast fashion.
Waldrip hopes the women that wear her pieces will adore them as much as she does. “I want them to appreciate the work that goes into them and the artistry that goes into each piece and I want that to resonate to the wearer, a sense of beauty—confidence,” she explains. As much as she enjoys going creatively wild for red carpet gowns and celebrity clients, she wants her pieces to speak to everyday women. Her intention more than anything is to create livable pieces that will last—possibly for generations. “I want her to be able to have these pieces in her closet and wear them, not just as throwaway clothes.” Oh, don’t worry, we’re not tossing ANY of these designs anytime soon.
Waldrip is available online at Waldrip and Shopbop, as well as fine boutiques nationwide including Scoop and Fred Segal.