On this weeks Designer Hot List, is North Carolina designer Danielle Wiggins, creator of the Dani Oliva brand. We first met Danielle in 2008 at a model casting for the first Charlotte Fashion Week where she snagged a spot to walk for several designers in the inaugural show. Fast forward two years, Danielle is designing under her own label and killing it in fashion shows across the country.
What inspired you to make the transition from modeling to designing clothing?
I've always sewn and altered my own clothing. Modeling only brought me closer to the industry, allowing me to connect and learn from many designers.
Where did you learn to sew and do you design, cut, and sew your entire collection yourself?
I started at age nine hand sewing garments. As I got older I learned more from my great grandmother on her vintage sewing machine. I also took a class in high school and at a local college to improve my techniques. I am currently an assistant seamstress for a local tailor shop, I believe you can never stop learning. As a self taught designer, I've always felt I had a disadvantage, so I make a point to learn all that I can to perfect my craft. I currently design, cut and sew all my collections.
What were some of the biggest challenges you faced in creating your first collection?
One of the biggest challenges I face when I created my first collection was finding the right resources and fabrics. It can still be a challenge today in North Carolina where we are surrounded by an abundance of upholstery fabrics. It continues to be a learning process.
Who is the Dani Oliva client?
The Dani Oliva client is chic and classic. I make pieces that can be worn at cocktail hour or for a night out. Some pieces can also be worn in the office. Most of all, I create clothing that I myself would wear. If I don't feel comfortable wearing it or if I'm not psyched about putting on a sample piece after a fashion show to show the world, than it doesn't represent who I am as a designer.
What celebrity would you most like to see wearing your designs on the red carpet?
I would love to see timeless, classic beauties such as Zendaya, Lupita Nyong'o, Blake Lively and Meghan Markle wearing my designs one day.
Where do you see the Dani Oliva brand in the next 3-5 years?
In the next 3-5 years, I hope to gain more exposure and develop relationships and new clients on a national level and maybe open a small studio/shop so that I can provide a better experience to my customers.
What advice would you give to other inspiring designers?
I would tell inspiring designers never to give up and be true to yourself. Your creations may not be for everyone, but there is someone out there that will appreciate your style.
The Dani Oliva brand has been featured in the following shows?
Co-Produced and showed collections for Emerge Fashion Show in Raleigh, NC
Greensboro Fashion Week
Charlotte Seen Fashion Week
Wilmington Fashion Week
Atlanta International Fashion Week
Americas Mart Atlanta Trade show and Fashion Show
Walk Fashion Show- New York Fashion Week Edition
PLITZS NYC Fashion Week
Keep an eye out for this young designer on the rise. You hit her up on social media and you can see more of the Dani Oliva collection this spring at the Reimagine Fashion Show Friday, May 11, 2018 at the Mint Museum in Uptown.