A West Chester mom of four will bring her 40-look women's wear collection to the Big Apple this weekend to show alongside New York Fashion Week.
Deborah Mack's DAM Fashions is a sleek grouping of tailored jumpsuits, strapless cocktail mini dresses, off-the-shoulder gowns, and fitted pantsuits. The silhouettes are on the sexy side but they are produced in no-nonsense hues like mustard yellow, black, and white, appealing to the serious woman in all of us. Sizes range from 4 to 12 and prices, Mack says, will start at $399 for a single blouse or skirt and run to $1,200 for a silk charmeuse coat.
"DAM is a luxury brand for women who think outside the box," Mack told me in a telephone interview last week. "My style ranges from really conservative to edgy."
The official New York Fashion Week is a twice-annual event organized by the Council of Fashion Designers of America; the looks from this round of shows will hit stores in the spring. Fashion Week started Wednesday and runs through next Thursday. Household names in the industry like Tom Ford, Ralph Lauren, Vivienne Westwood, and Philadelphia's Tory Burch will show their collections this season.
In recent years, however, smaller production companies such as Plitz New York City Fashion Week have produced shows that run concurrent to the main events. The idea is to draw media and buyer attention to these off-site venues that often feature independent designers, like Mack. Instead of the tens of thousands of dollars it costs these emerging designers to show their collections under the CFDA umbrella, these smaller outfits charge a fraction of the cost. And thanks to the plethora of social media, independent designers are able to control their own media attention.
And that is exactly what Mack wants to do: Get exposure on her terms.
We caught up with Mack, a family court mediator turned fashion designer, as she was readying for her first N.Y.C. fashion adventure.
What is your fashion background?
I always sewed. I started in middle school. I sewed all my maternity clothes for my first and second children. Initially, I wanted to go school for fashion, but I went to Western Connecticut State University. I was raised in Connecticut. And instead of majoring in fashion, I studied criminal justice. I worked 20 years for the state of Connecticut's judicial department, then, after I retired, I ran an organic fabric-care business. So I went back to school and made my own fashion program. I went to Drexel and Moore and took an online fashion program, Factory 45.
How would you describe your collection?
I would describe it as classic. These are pieces that women can have in their wardrobes forever. I don't want to be fly by night. I want my fashions to last. These are classic, timeless looks.
What inspires your work?
Exterior elements. I really like gardens, flowers, and wrought iron they bring a lot of different vibrant colors. When I travel to places like Rome or Peru, I'm inspired by the things that I see. New Orleans … I'm inspired by different textures: soft and hard. I like to try things that aren't traditional.
When will the pieces be available?
We hope to soft-launch after the fashion show. But our pieces will likely be available by spring 2019. … Yes. If people go on my website, they can register and they will be the first to know when they are available to purchase.
Why do you think your fashion time is now?
Well, my children are grown. I worked and did my career. This is now the time that I felt I can pretty much go forward with the things I do in life. My obligations are over. Now it's time for me to do what I love to do, and that's fashion.