Art Nerd New York | Los Angeles

Daniel Silverstein: Concept and Consciousness in Design

2013-07-09 08.28.26

You may remember Daniel Silverstein from season 2 of NBC’s Fashion Star, but this up-and-coming designer is steadily expanding not just his line, Daniel Silverstein, but his art. Known for his use of zero fabric waste design for his eponymous brand, Silverstein creates pieces that are not just conceptual, but also considerate in design.

Now Silverstein is adding to his body of work with a new short fashion film that he worked on as creative director. The film, When Sunny Gets Blue, features his designs in a wistfully gorgeous vignette set to the classic song, “When Sunny Gets Blue.” We had a chance to talk with the multi-talented designer about his film, his designs, and how his creative process spans different mediums. Watch the film and read our Q+A with him after the jump!

What is your background as a designer and an artist?

I have been designing my entire life! I started my first class on an industrial sewing machine when I was 14, so I have been sewing professionally for about a decade. I still sew parts of my own production and drape and pattern my own samples!

When did you move to NY and why?

I came to NYC in 2006 to go to FIT, I was 17 years old.

How did you get started in the fashion scene?

I have always wanted to be in fashion. My youngest obsession was Cher! I used to watch her on TV land, and I was hooked by the costumes. I saw a Bob Mackie (her costume designer) exhibit at FIT when I was I was about 9, and I decided then to go to FIT then and there…and the rest is history!

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

I love to use my concept for zero waste as a starting point, and I am very inspired by the human form, skeletons, fossils, and shapes found in nature.

How did you get involved with this film?

I first had the idea when I heard a recoding of Katherine [Wright, the actress and singer featured in the film] singing “When Sunny Gets Blue.” I was sitting in her bedroom, and I just knew I had to do something with that blue gown, in that blue room…

How does the medium affect what you create; in some cases, a dress, in others, a film? How are they similar and how are they different?

I feel like I am more an artist than a designer. I think most of my creativity manifests its self in Fashion, or clothing, but a film, a painting, illustration. it’s all the same. Art is something I just need to make, whatever the form.

What was it like shifting roles from designer to creative director?

It’s more than just designing a dress or two, it’s about curating a look, a brand and a larger vision.

What was the most fulfilling part of the filming process?

I loved working on the edits with Ming [Minjue Hue, the film’s cinematographer and editor]. He would edit a new version and we would get together and watch and tweak the film and it was just so amazing to watch the project grow and change.

What can we look forward to from you in the near future?

I will be launching a new line in September, and until then we will have new styles coming out on my site, www.danielsilverstein.us every few weeks, so being on our mailing list is key! We have some amazing collaborations with artists, bloggers, musicians and more!

How would you describe your style/aesthetic?

I like to make pieces that stand out. I want people to shop for my designs when they are looking for something special. I always liken it to singing. I have a terrible singing voice, so I need to create pieces that communicate emotion.

Who is your typical customer?

I like to call her the “urban influencer” she is 20% of the population, who 80% of girls want to look like. 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, she is just a badass.

Any advice for other young designers/artistic souls?

Follow your heart. There is no one right way to do things. Listen to yourself, and work heard. The harder you work, the luckier you get.

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