Daniel Silverstein is Creative Director and Co-Founder of 100%NY: Contemporary designer sportswear for the eco-conscious woman. He is also about to raise the fashion stakes for him and his company, as one of thirteen contestants on tonight’s Season Two premier of Fashion Star, on NBC. And guess what? Daniel is only 24 years old!
I sat down with this very thoughtful and talented individual and asked him how he turned his passion for creating beautiful clothes and his vision for a more eco-friendly design environment into a reality. Here is part of my conversation with Daniel …
How young were you when you realized that you wanted to be a fashion designer? Was there a moment?
DS: There’s not one particular moment. I’ve always been a tactile person. I remember growing up and loving movies and Hollywood and The Olympics. The gymnastics uniforms intrigued me. When I was in pre-school a boy came to class with kimonos for show-and-tell and I came home drawing kimonos and cherry trees – I think my mother knew then that I had my own style of expression. I would always find a way to dress Barbies in costumes of tissue and tape, or whatever materials I could find. When I was eleven years old I went to summer camp and had my first sewing lesson. That was the turning point. From that moment, there was no stopping me. The rest is history – it’s more than a decade later (I just turned 24) and I’m still doing the same thing …
How and when did you launch 100%NY?
DS: Six months after graduating in 2010, I was working for a well-known top fashion brand, but I was getting frustrated. There was no effort to create sustainable fashion. I remembered my senior project at school – to create pants without waste. This began to feel more and more like my calling and when my mentor encouraged me to launch my own brand of sustainable fashion, I knew it was the right thing to do. 100%NY was born. It took many nights and weekends and determination to launch my small, sample line, but I went from my gut and that is always the right thing to do …
Tell me about minimizing the eco-footprint? What does that mean to you?
DS: It means no waste – zero waste. It means making the effort to use all of the materials as possible and passing on and donating extra materials to those who will take it further, like artists. There is no ‘away.’ Materials never really go away. They are away from us but they go somewhere. The goal is to control where these materials go as much as possible.
Where do you see your company/brand going?
DS: My vision for 100%NY is to grow over the next several years and become a household name and recognizable brand, and to produce wearable clothing at all price points, for men, women and children. My vision for the world is to create teachable practices that inspire other designers, so that we all answer the greater design challenge to become well-trained and the best at what we do. It’s a way to separate the men from the boys; zero waste means bringing out the best in our abilities …
How did NBC’s Fashion Star discover you? Have you finished filming the show?
DS: A friend with New York Women’s Capsule Trade Show recommended me to the show. I met the decision-makers at NBC and after a very long process and a series of auditions, they called to tell me that I had been selected (along with twelve other designers.) Yes, the season has been filmed and I can’t tell you what happens (MKG: I wasn’t asking!!). What I can tell you is that this second year of Fashion Star you will see the same basic concept; three top retail stores bidding to buy designers’ creations. One difference: this year, all thirteen designers already have established brands.
I know who I will be rooting for tonight! Daniel is making smart decisions to create not only beautifully-crafted designs for us to look our best but also a policy of no-waste production to feel our best about ourselves and our contribution to our planet as well. Daniel, you already are a fashion star to me!
What do you think?