Frisky Q&A: Go Ahead, Call Gabby Applegate A Witch

If you have a soft spot for Robert Smith and necromancy tickles your fancy, Witches by Gabby Applegate is the line for you. After the collection first debuted at the Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles last year (then co-designed by her friend Lauren Alexander), the signature Romantic silhouettes, Victorian lace and an abundance of black, black (and more black, of course), have since gained some serious buzz. (Insert “cult following” joke here.) Applegate, just 19, may make you feel like a big slacker, but we adore her fun yet sophisticated vision, so we took the chance to ask her a couple q’s about her aesthetic, the design process, and what we can expect from her forthcoming fall collection.

The Frisky: You’re 19 and (presumably) in school, right? Fall fashion week is upon us. How in the hell did you find time to design a collection?

Gabby Applegate: Yes, I go to SMC and I’m a sophomore. I’m fortunate enough to have parents that are willing to let me go to college part-time in order to be fully hands-on in the collection. When I’m doing something I love (like designing), it’s easy to find the time to do it.

The Frisky: I’ve read in the past that you’ve cited the designers Ann Demeulmeester and Gareth Pugh as influences. Any others you’d now add to the roster?

G.A.: My latest obsession is Rick Owens. I also love what Riccardo Tisci is doing for Givenchy. Balmain is on fire right now too! 

The Frisky: Style icons and or muses?

G.A.: I love Natasha Poly; I think she is so amazing. Fever Ray also, she has a crazy electricity about her.

The Frisky: So what is the process that goes into Witches? Are you drawing the pieces and sewing the samples or what? What’s your design education, if any?

G.A.: I have an amazing guy named Matt. I will tell him what’s coming from my head and he puts it onto paper. I’m so lucky to have someone like him who gets my ideas instantly because I cannot draw whatsoever. I then go fabric shopping and take the fabric and sketches to my pattern maker. After that sample has been perfected, we start it in production. I didn’t have any professional design education, but I grew up in a house where fashion is extremely important and my mom taught me to have the “eye.” 

The Frisky: What advice would you give to other young designers just starting out? For example, how do you differentiate yourself in this crazy saturated market?

G.A.: The advice I would give is go with your gut and really just stick with it. It takes time, but if you really believe in what you’re doing you’re bound to be amazing at it. Especially in this market, I try to make sure that I’m making something that people need and I’m making it at an affordable price.

The Frisky: Can you give us a hint about what we can expect from your fall collection?

G.A.: Fall will be full of cutout leather, suede dresses and double hooded jackets.

Oooh, mysterious! We like it.