As I sit down to write this post about Chadwick Bell I find myself back on that couch you see below and have a big smile on my face. This is the first fashion designer I’ve ever met. And I was blown away by his sincerity, sense of humor, humility, and honesty. This was a really fun experience.
Chadwick Bell. If you don’t know his name yet, you certainly soon will. His clothes have been spotted on Elizabeth Banks, Lucy Liu, and Vera Farmiga. He’s currently taking his collection around the US and showcasing his pieces in trunk shows at stores like Neiman Marcus and Stanley Korshak in Dallas. We met up with him at Stanley Korshak on his stop in the Big D to talk about his beginnings, inspiration, his take on street style, Dallas women, and – of course – where the best BBQ and Mexican Food is in the D/FW.
When asked what kind of woman he designs for, he simply replied, “the kept woman with a life on the side.” Brilliant. Keeping that kept woman in mind, Bell designs his clothes with immaculate detail to tailoring and structure. His pieces, he believes, will last a lifetime in your closet. He loved the idea of a mother passing his work down through generations – giving each piece new life as its owner makes it their own. Bell relishes in the idea of women making clothing work for them – tailoring the clothes to fit their personalities, bodies, and needs.
Growing up in California, Bell comes from a family of carpenters. At a young age he met his business partner, Vanessa Webster, and they have been quite the duo ever since. Together in 2007, they started the design house that we see today. It was humble beginnings – living together in Queens, working tirelessly for their dream. It was on those rides on the subway from Manhattan to Queens that Bell began noticing street style culture, or “thug culture” as he refers. It was the over-sized hoodies and attitude of those he observed that inspired him to mix cultures in his designs. “Fashion is where you can create a fantasy that you live in,” said Bell, as he described his passion for the craft and what he does. “You can change culture with fashion.” So true, as he named pieces and designers, like Alexander Wang, that changed the course of culture and what we wear throughout the years.
Bell walked us through his collection, pointing out stories that inspired the clothing, and details that were so meticulous, one could easily see why these pieces would last a generation. His passion for what he does was so clear, I am certain Chadwick Bell will continue to have a career for decades to come. He’s certainly off to an incredible start.
The dress Elizabeth Banks wore to the 2012 Vanity Fair Oscars Party (hands down, my favorite piece – those feathers are all sewn on by hand – a feat he said took days to complete).
Business partner, Vanessa Webster
All in all, Anna and I left so invigorated – both by Vanessa and Chadwick’s warm personas, and also the fact that they’re so young and passionate and going places. Keep watching Chadwick Bell. He’s a designer to note.