CG's Exclusive Interview with Fashion Star Contestant Orly Shani

For NBC Fashion Star competitor Orly Shani, fashion design is second nature. The 26-year-old bartender from New York has been designing clothing since she was a little girl and has been converting thrift store finds into fabulous fashions since she was in high school. Now Orly has her own clothing line Tuc+Wes, which is all about “provid[ing] functionality” and giving girls “the absolute most mileage out of [their] clothes.” What could be better? There is no doubt that Orly’s experience in the world of fashion design has given her the upper hand when it comes to Fashion Star. Orly has the buyers for Macy’s, Saks Fifth Avenue and H&M totally on their toes with her fresh, fun and innovative designs!

The great thing about Orly Shani’s designs for Fashion Star is that they always have a little surprise that comes along with them! From episode number one, Orly showed her creativity with a floaty skirt that can be unzipped to reveal a chic pencil skirt underneath, and from there on, Orly has been “wowing” us with a variety of innovative ideas from dress pants with convertible waistbands to cute color blocking dresses. There is no doubt that Orly’s ideas are really unique and bring an edge to the fashion industry.

Overall, I believe Orly Shani definitely has what it takes to win Fashion Star! Her designs are not just fun and fashion forward, but also fabulously functional.

Want to learn more about Orly? Read on for an exclusive interview with Orly Shani by College Gloss’s Annie Robinson…
How old were you when you started designing?
OS: I was lucky to have my mom and grandma teach me to sew, so I started designing as a little kid. My sister and I would design all our clothes for special occasions, weddings, our Bat Mitzvah, homecoming, etc., and my mom and grandma would make them. Then in high school I started shopping at thrift stores and converting the items I found into fashion relevant, one-of-a-kind items. That later turned into my first clothing line, Orly Couture.

What advice do you have for aspiring fashion designers?
OS: Work, work, work, work! Being the designer of your own brand is often less about your actual design ability, and far more about your business sense, your ambition and your persistence. If you want to be a designer for someone else’s company, then I'm a huge fan of internships. Seeing the REAL life work is the most important thing in my opinion. It will very quickly teach you whether or not you want to commit the time and the energy to do this for the rest of your life. Real life work experience... that's what I'm all about.

Who are some of your favorite designers?
OS: There are designers whose business and brand I admire, more than just a personal design aesthetic. I look to Diane Von Furstenberg, Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren... the greats who have really built distinguishable brand identities. It takes great dedication to be that consistent while still evolving with the times. I admire them tremendously.

Have you always wanted to pursue a career in fashion design?
OS: I always wanted to be an entrepreneur. I always wanted to build something out of nothing.

What are some of the personal touches you like to put on your clothes?
OS: I love to provide functionality for my girl. I want to think of everything for her, so she gets the absolute most mileage out of my clothes.

Do you have a personal favorite garment that you have designed?
OS: I still love the zipper skirt from episode one, which went to Saks Fifth Avenue! I remember coming up with the idea years ago, so it was a real treat to see it come to life!

Who or what inspires your designs?
OS: I'm inspired most by other garments. I'll put something on and instantly think of how I could make it better or more functional. I slice and dice my own clothes all the time!

What was the best advice that the mentors gave you on the TV show?
OS: Best advice I received was from Caprice Willard of Macy’s. She reminded me of hanger appeal saying; "as a designer you think of how your clothes look on the body; as a buyer we think of how your clothes look on a hanger." They have to have hanger appeal.

What did you learn from being on Fashion Star?
OS: I learned so much from Fashion Star, but I think the most important thing was to be really consistent with my brand image. Just because my personal style fluctuates on a minute-to-minute basis doesn't mean my brand image can. I need to be really focused on the image I want to perpetuate for Tuc+Wes.

What was the best part of your Fashion Star experience?
OS: The best part of Fashion Star has been all the amazing people it introduced to me to. The crew, the contestants, the viewers... it's been a dream come true. That, and it's opened so many doors for me. I can’t wait to see what the future holds!

Check out NBC’s Fashion Star next Tuesday at 10/9 Central p.m. to see what Orly has created!

By: Annie Robinson | Images: 1, 2, 3, 4

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  1. Go Orly! Go Orly! Love your designs and I can't wait to see what else is to come!

  2. I love Orly on NBC Fashion Star! I think she actually might win it....she has some pretty intense skills!

  3. I absolutely love the collection she made from Fashion Star, I would buy every piece. i hope she continues to make 2-1 clothes like the zippered skirt and the fabulous dress above with different colors. i love them.


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