While some designers draw inspiration from the schoolgirl look to make preppy plaid skirts paired with chunky knitted cardigans, up-and-coming womenswear fashion designer Camelia Skikos instead turned to her school uniform from communist-era Romania to make bold, edgy pieces that would have surely gotten her sent home.
“I was really inspired by the first experience I had with fashion. I used to modify my school uniform in communist Romania and get in trouble. I want my clothes to make people feel special and escape from monotony and uniformity,” explains Skikos, who was recently named one of 7×7 magazine’s Top 20 Under 40.
Skikos hasn’t lost touch with her rebellious nature when it comes to fashion. Her last two collections featured body-skimming dresses with geometric shapes and cage-like leather cutouts influenced by architecture and sculptures from the likes of Yves Klein, Anish Kapoor and Alexander Calder.
Prior to launching her eponymous collection in 2010, the graduate of Romania’s University of Art designed for various brands in London before winning a lottery-based visa to come to the United States, where she has held positions as head designer for Levi Strauss, designer for Gap and fashion design instructor at the Academy of Art University.
Now, the Diamond Heights resident spends her days in front of an enviable skyscraper view of the city while behind her stands a tall bookshelf stocked with books devoted to fashion and illustration. Despite her glamorous view, Skikos may set her sights elsewhere.
“I’m just about to start my research for the next collection. I always need to travel a little bit before I start. I’m very inspired by the energy of different places and people,” says Skikos of her forthcoming spring/summer 2012 collection, which she expects to launch in the fall.
Photography courtesy of Claudia Goetzelmann for Camelia Skikos