By Jaime Lin Weinstein
You may remember Daniel Vosovic from Season 2 of Project Runway (and the Project Runway: All Star Challenge). A fan favorite, viewers instantly fell in love with his affectionate personality and modernly urbane style through the television screen. Seven years, numerous head designer and assistant positions, the launch of his own line and recent acceptance into the second round of the CFDA’s Fashion Incubator program later, I sat down with Mr. Vosovic during last week’s designer showcase in Atlanta to talk about what’s changed between now and then. “I would say that the DNA is still there: clean lines; form, meaning great shapes; texture – but I would say that the message is much more defined,” Daniel explained. “I was on the show 4 days after I graduated college, and as most young people you think that you know what you’re doing and whom you’re dressing. But after spending time working for other companies and whatnot, the message became a lot clearer to me. So it’s not different, it’s just more refined – who I’m dressing, who I’m targeting.”
The client he is targeting? “Cool girls with modern sensibility. They appreciate great design, but it doesn’t have to slap them upside the head.” Vosovic’s collection this season certainly emulates that girl he describes. Inspired by Austrian painter Egon Schiele, the clothes mimic the expressive line and gestural figures of his art. For example, a chartreuse dress made of flowing chiffon and featuring a jagged mosaic print adopted from Schiele’s early work mimics the flesh of the women in the artist’s paintings, contrasted by the sharp angles of their body lines.
Daniel’s designs are not only impressing members of the industry (his entry into the CFDA program alone stands as proof), but those cool girls everywhere he’s targeting are appreciating his fashions, too. A dress from Vosovic’s fall line was seen earlier this year on one of Hollywood’s latest “cool girls,” actress Emma Stone. It’s those girls that are making the hard work and long journey worth it to Daniel. “At the end of the day, the press, the hype, all of that stuff, to me, the reason I work 16 hour days is because I love the expression on a woman, on a friend’s face, when she tries on one of my new garments and its like, ‘Oh, shit there’s a peacock in the room!’ She’s confident, sexy, strong, and those qualities I think are in my customers. She may not know it, but I love the fact that I can sew fabric in a certain way, choose a certain color, and it can transform the way they feel…I love that I have that sort of sway over someone…that I can give someone qualities that they weren’t sure they had.”
Beyond fostering the participants’ talent and providing exposure to their brands, the CFDA Incubator program really seeks to help grow and sustain the designers’ business. A common sentiment among them, explained somewhat unashamedly by Vosovic: “Don’t underestimate your support for young, emerging designers.” What he means is that despite the fact that you may see their clothing in a magazine or see a celebrity wearing their collection that does not mean that they are at a point of financial stability. They are still in need of consumer support. “If you actually enjoy our work, put your money where your mouth is,” Daniel continued. “That’s a very blatant answer, but I also feel it’s what this program is about…Grow your business.” Fashion Incubator actually has a partnership with NYU Stern School of Business and each designer is paired with an MBA student and an advisor from the industry to work specifically on the financial side of their business. With their help, Daniel is hoping to, “actually pay myself a salary.”