Thus explaining why I immediately called dibs on her interview.
With her intentionally ripped fabrics, bunched lace, zippers and black leather, Autumn’s designs are the perfect combination of fearless and ethereal. Not surprising, the Philly native notes that much of her inspiration actually comes from her dreams.
After studying fibers at the University of Arts and attaining a master’s degree in fashion design from Drexel, Autumn took her work to New York, Dallas, L.A and Italy. She was welcomed home by being selected as one of the four designers-in-residence at the Philadelphia Fashion Incubator at Macy’s Center and is thrilled to work and learn with the other gals in the program.
When did you realize your passion for design?
I realized I wanted to pursue fashion while I was studying abroad in Florence, Italy. I was pursing my undergraduate degree in Fibers and I was constantly creating Art for the Body. That, combined with the amazing inspiration of Italian fashion, helped me realize that I wanted to study design.
If you had to choose, what country would you say has impacted your line the most?
The country that has impacted my line the most would be Thailand, which where my dad is from. I visit often and many of my exotic leathers and silks come from Bangkok. I hope in the next year or two to show at Elle Fashion Week (Bangkok) or Bangkok International Fashion Week.
Tell me more about your obsession with historical fashion…
I use to work very closely with historic costume and I consider Victorian era fashion to be the base inspiration for many of my silhouettes. I have also had the amazingly rare opportunity to study the inner construction and details of gowns created during the birth of Haute Couture. This knowledge has profoundly impacted the way I create garments of my own design.
Having said that dreams are the driving forces behind your designs, I’m curious—what’s the most provoking and meaningful one you can remember?
My dreams are really hard to describe, that’s why I create the way I do, because I am trying to show the world what I see when I close my eyes.
So in addition to Heartless Revival, you’re the lead designer of Autumnlin Atelier and the creative director of Heartless Mens. Can you explain the difference between the brands?
Autumnlin Atelier is my one-of-a-kind Haute Couture line and sells at a much higher price-point than Heartless Revival. Zipper Pieces and some of my high-end corsetry with exotic leather are Autumnlin. To purchase an Autumnlin piece often requires a private appoint with me because each is hand-made and constructed by myself.
Heartless Mens is part of Heartless Revival and has been a creative project I have been working on for a while but is currently only available as custom projects. We have limited ready-to-wear available but that’s something that will be developed in the near future.
If you weren’t a designer, what other career do you think you’d be pursuing?
I would probably be working in Historic Costume or in an Art Library somewhere.
Since you’ve been designing and living in Philly for years, what would you say you love most about the local fashion scene?
I love the sense of community…I’m part of a designer co-op in Old City called US*U.S. which is [comprised of] eight designers that share a boutique together…I would like to have Philadelphia be foremost known for design and I think we’re taking steps in the right direction.
Finally, what can we expect next from Heartless Revival?
Expect us to take over the world.
**Photos by Lee Besanson Photography
If you’re as obsessed with Autumn’s designs as I am, here’s where you can find them locally:
Heartless Revival: US*U.S. Designer Co-op (323 Arch St.)
Autumnlin Zipper Pieces: Kaleidoscope Boutique (151 N. 3rd St.)
Heartless Revival Scarves: The Philadelphia Museum of Art, Museum Store Annex (26th St. & Ben Franklin Pkwy.)