Brooklyn native Rosie Assoulin always knew that fashion was her one true love. It has always been in her veins. In only a few years she created a brand and today she’s known for her elegant and whimsical daywear and counts Moda Operandi and Net-a-Porter among other brands as stockists. We sat with the designer during her visit to Mexico City in order to learn about her journey and what made her take a leap into retail.
The Source Summit: How did you get started in your career as a fashion designer?
Rosie Assoulin: We started our collection about 6 years ago; we did it out of our living room. My husband was working at the time and he would come home at night, and a friend would come over and help us make dinner and we would work through the night. The next morning, he would go to work and I would take care of my son. I was pregnant with my second child and we would work until late every night, until we launched. When we launched it was kind of unknown: We didn’t know what would happen, who would see it, who would care, we just made all of our dreams basically in fabric, and put it out and we didn’t know what would happen,if we would ever do it again, if anybody would care. We were just very lucky because we had a wonderful response, people came and supported us; they came to see the collection and bought it, they were excited about it. That was encouraging and helped us know that we would do another season and do it again and keep trying to do something because we really, totally had no idea what would happen. It was taking our dream and putting it out there. We’ll see what happens, I can’t guarantee anything. It was like a dream, we just kept going, working from our home, our apartment. I was pregnant with my second child and had a three-year-old. It was a very special time.
TSS: Can you describe how the dream started, was it since you were a kid?
Rosie Assoulin: Oh, yes, for sure. There is no way to do this if you don’t always want to do it. This is something that’s in you and you can try everything else but nothing is as satisfying as finally doing it. It took 15 years of me interning and going to school and learning from many different people in their own studios around the world and never having the courage or the confidence to do it for myself because it’s very difficult, very challenging, very intimidating. But it was always a dream. Ever since I was 12 years old, I was drawing clothes, even earlier than that and I was sewing them myself. Then I got a sewing machine at the age of 14 and that made it easier and quicker, ’cause I used to do it by hand before. I worked with my husbands mother in her jewelry company Roxane Assoulin and did internships with Lanvin in Paris and Oscar de la Renta in New York and that was my whole life’s career.
One day I ran out of excuses and I said: Why not? It was just sitting on me, I was doing other things: event and party planning. It was satisfying but I still couldn’t get it out of my head, I needed to do it. My friends supported me and other people thought I was crazy, but in the end it’s what is inside you and what you need to do what counts. Whatever happens is going to happen, but you owe it to yourself to try and to give it your best shot. Everybody helps you. While it was hard given that I already had a family, it was actually helpful because they are my support system. And that is my strength in the end.
TSS: What would be a good advice for someone who has a dream but feels that the challenge is there but they are not yet in the game?
Rosie Assoulin: I would say the challenge for them is just to really ask themselves, if their dreams don’t come true and nobody cares, if they feel that it is something that brings them joy, whatever it is that is exciting for them, they have to keep trying and never give up. Of course it’s intimidating, you are exposing you inner fantasy world and you are opening up to rejection and criticism, but you have to face that fear and keep going. Hopefully, the dream is deep enough and satisfying enough to at least just try. Whatever happens, happens but just try it.
TSS: What will be your next step for the brand?
Rosie Assoulin: You just wanna keep doing exciting projects, we’re working on a home collection, on a wine, we are working on lots of different things. We are passionate about all the beauty and mystery and the curiosities of every interesting new field, we want to keep exploring them through our brand. That’s the way we want to look at the world. We want to expand beyond the scope of just fashion design in concrete boundary terms. It’s more design in general.
TSS: What brings you to Mexico?
Rosie Assoulin: We are in Mexico for the Vogue Who’s On Next competition that the magazine puts up once a year for emerging talent. We were lucky enough to be invited by editor Karla Martínez de Salas to support young talent. We are also taking on the beauty of the fashion you have here: we’ve seen beautiful exhibitions, incredible art and culture and food and people. It’s all been pleasure and more pleasure. As a tourist you see so much of it but I feel there’s an abundance in general and everybody is welcome and feel very happy because people here are very welcoming and happy.
ABOUT ROSIE ASSOULIN
Rosie Assoulin is a fashion designer based in New York. She dedicated her time to honing her skills, initially under the tutelage of her mentor and future mother in law, the veteran jewelry designer, Roxanne Assoulin, at Lee Angel. After a brief stint at the Fashion Institute of Technology, she found herself at Oscar de la Renta and had the opportunity to spend time at the design studio Lanvin in Paris, where she bore witness to Alber Elbaz’s pure, unbridled creativity and unmatched design talent. Along with a a few years in event and floral design, she found that every moment is an opportunity to cultivate her perspective.
In 2012, Rosie decisively turned back towards her first love, fashion, and her eponymous collection made its debut for Resort 2014. The Rosie Assoulin design aesthetic toes the line between the romantically fantastical and the reliably practical.
Gabriela Serna is the CEO and founder of The Source Summit, a motivational wellness brand recognized for its leading role in creating impactful conversations that connect and inspire people of different cultures.