Designer Dialect: A Q&A with Bonnie Young

It came as no surprise that we would knock on Bonnie Young's door when it was decided to launch 
Designer Dialect: A Fashion Feature.  

Alix Martinez captures designer Bonnie Young tying all loose ends backstage at the second edition of petitePARADE, Kids Fashion Week.

Alix Martinez captures designer Bonnie Young tying all loose ends backstage at the second edition of petitePARADE, Kids Fashion Week.

Designer Bonnie Young led Donna Karan Collection for 16 years as Creative Director before establishing her own brand in 2006. Using her designs to raise social awareness on children's rights, Bonnie Young has shown at petitePARADE, Kids Fashion Week since its premiere edition in 2010.

Fast-forward eight editions later and here we are pen-in-hand asking Bonnie a series of questions aimed to inspire & inform the next generation of children's wear designers.

So here it goes...

knock. knock.

pP: What impulsed you to start your own brand?
BY: When I gave birth to my daughter Celia I saw a big opportunity in the kid’s luxury market. I started making things out of the left over cashmere yarns and fabrics in the design room for my kids and friends kids. Then I designed and had made for my daughter my version of a princess bed, a hand carved bed inspired by a Chinese opium bed. Shortly after, my dear friend Gaby Karan asked my daughter to be the flower girl at her wedding so I designed the flower girl dresses because I could not find anything I liked. At that point Donna saw everything I was making and supported me by creating a shop in shop in her Madison Avenue collection store for my brand. When the opportunity came up to open a Bonnie Young store in Aspen, I had to make the choice to leave my position at Donna Karan to focus on building my own brand. 

pP: Who is Bonnie Young dressing/ Who is dressing in Bonnie Young? 
BY: The Bonnie Young customer is an upscale sophisticated consumer who is well traveled and very particular about what they buy. We dress many celebrities and socialites internationally. 

Related: View Bonnie Young S/S 2015 Collection

pP: The Bonnie Young brand is built around a soulful ethos and global philosophy aimed to raise social awareness on children's rights. How do your designs/brand promote this initiative? 
BY: I use my brand and my own name to align with children's charities in order to raise awareness, money and make changes. My brand strengthens my voice. I also create specific products whereby a portion of the proceeds will go to a specific children's charity. 

pP: What advice would you give an aspiring children's wear designer?  
BY: Keep in mind that the cost of making children's clothes are the same as adult clothes so you really need to love what you are doing as it is a niche market 

pP: What can we look forward to seeing on the petitePARADE runway for f/w 2015? What is the source for your inspiration? 
BY: Texture...I am feeling a bit of an ethnic inspiration but that can change. The development of my collection is a constant evolution till the day of the show. 

pP: What would Bonnie Young today say to Bonnie Young when she was 8 years old?
BY: Don't take it too seriously and always have fun!!!

pP: Share a quote that will inspire our readers. 

"Leave a little sparkle wherever you go...Create the things you wish existed!"

Ones to Watch: Malina Wissman

Malina Weissman joins the cast of our “Ones to Watch” series in partnership with Lee Clower Photography and La Petite Magazine.

Photography: Lee Clower

Photography: Lee Clower

After wowing us with her talent in last year’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, 11-year-old New Yorker has acted in numerous commercials and modeled for major designers and brands such as Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, Levi’s, Gap Kids, Benetton and DKNY. She got her start in modeling at the age of eight, following in the footsteps of her mother whose agency in fact discovered the starlet. “One of my favorite moments so far was my last shoot for Old Navy where they had a gigantic trampoline, and I just jumped however high I wanted,” Malina says. “I also love when they bring animals to take pictures with us.” Her other modeling credits so far include campaigns for Bloomingdale’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, Target, Macy’s and H&M.

Malina Wissman in Velveteen 

Malina Wissman in Velveteen 

Related: Ones To Watch: Mary Lynn Clark

Malina speaks fluent Spanish, German and English. She also spends time singing, dancing, horseback riding and synchronized swimming. “I like to tell stories when I dance,” she says. “My teacher tells me, ‘Dance is how music looks,’ and I think that is a really cool saying.”

Malina Wissman and fellow 'One To Watch' friend Mary Lynn Clark in Submarine Swim.

Malina Wissman and fellow 'One To Watch' friend Mary Lynn Clark in Submarine Swim.

She dreams of one day becoming a veterinarian or an actress. Her next feature film, Thirsty, is slated for release in 2015. Keep your eyes peeled for this shooting star.