Let's face it: a young, vibrant woman of color in the bridal industry is difficult to find. When she's a designer of bridal wear, she is truly a needle in a haystack. That's why we're so excited to introduce Danielle Martin-Cicero and the Danielle Cicero brand.
Incredibly precocious, Danielle knew fashion was her mission before age 10, a mission much aided by her mother's early support by providing her with the tools she needed to begin her journey: a sewing machine and a subscription to W Magazine.
The Danielle Cicero brand exists to satisfy the stylish bride who is looking for informal but flirty and fun apparel for her intimate wedding ceremony. From the engagement party to the intimate garden ceremony and reception, Danielle Cicero caters to you!
Here's an interview we had with her below:
How did you get started in bridal fashion?
I have wanted to design bridal and eveningwear since age 9. My mom used to have lots of bridal magazines around and I would spend hours sketching. Working in the industry I have done active wear and denim, but nothing inspires me more than bridal wear.
Were you always a designer? If not, what was your previous career?
I started on the path to design in 2001 when I went to school for fashion. I’ve never really had any other career outside of fashion; I have worked in retail and insurance to put myself through college, since a job is really just to pay the bills.
At what moment did you realize you wanted to be a fashion designer?
I started drawing at age 4 and got progressively better. I didn’t realize that fashion design was a career choice until around age 9. I would look at magazines and clothing catalogs and copy what I saw. Later, I started changing things until the point when I began just creating my own designs. When my mother saw what I was doing, she bought me a subscription for W magazine and lots of sketchbooks, nicer pencils and other art supplies.
What inspires you as a designer?
I’m inspired by many things, like other people (I love going to big cities like NY and LA to people watch and see what people are wearing), nature (I love the changing of seasons because of the colors and textures which puts me in a fabric frame of mind), and I love vintage clothing, basically anything that is feminine and lady like.
What made you decide to get into bridal fashion?
I started my business in 2007, and chose bridal because I love it, even after all those years of doing active wear and denim. I liked the idea of doing custom bridal wear, but also knew it would be important to have a body of work to show people, since whenever I do custom designs for people I don’t like to post it all over my blog and website. I spent a lot of time researching and realized there was a true need for informal bridal wear such as reception, tea dresses and attire for more intimate ceremonies where a ball gown is not appropriate. A lot of designers are starting to show short dresses but most of them add them as an after thought. I want to be the go to source for informal bridal gowns and dresses.
How would you describe your style?
My design style is lots of feminine details such as ruffles, flower appliqués, pearls and beading, ruching details, etc. I like feminine silhouettes and I love the A-line dress since it’s the most universally flattering shape. I try to come up with better ways to approach the A-line so they don’t look simple and boring.
Tell us about your most recent collection. Is there a consistent theme that runs through?
My Spring 2011 collection is a combination of short and long dresses that include details like ruffles, appliqués and beading. I made each dress to be unique and compliment the style of the wearer.
Can you tell our readers who a typical Danielle Cicero bride is?
A typical DanielleCicero bride is a bride who is having either a small intimate wedding like a garden party, elopement, destination or vow renewal. She may also be having a large wedding but her style is to wear a short dress and maybe a hot pair of shoes in a bold color… the point is she shies away from ball gowns or really long trains. Because some of my dresses are perfect for receptions and other bridal events, the bride who chooses to wear a formal gown can change into one of mine so she can really party at the reception.
As a woman of color working in the bridal industry, what have been your greatest challenges?
I would say my greatest challenge as a woman of color in the bridal industry is getting my name out there. I do a lot of social networking, blogging, attending events, etc; I am constantly searching for the right way to reach my target audience. There are few women of color in the bridal industry (besides Amsale), and very few if any in my age range, so I have to make sure to make my work speak for itself.
What advice would you give to a young designer trying to get into the fashion industry?
One great piece of advice I would give a young designer is to stay true to you. I think that many designers want to be the next hot designer, rather than have staying power in this industry. There are many people who are the next big thing this month and are out next month. Instead, make quality, beautiful clothing that people love and will actually wear.
What's next for Danielle Cicero?
I will be showing at Africa Fashion Week in NYC on July 15th (in celebration of my African-American/Afro-Carribean heritage) and I am finishing up developing my Spring 2012 collection. I am also doing a website redesign and working on connecting with different social media outlets. I am also working on a bridal giveaway contest so check back for more info on that.
If you could use 3 words to describe your design style, what would they be?
Vintage Elements (that’s 2!)
Many thanks to Danielle for her time! Now that you know who she is, run (not walk) to her website: www.daniellecicero.com and her blog, to know her even better and get feminine and intricately made pieces custom designed for you. We wish Danielle all the best and look forward to watching her star shine more brightly.