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Interview with Mark Phillips of NU Collective

I got the exclusive opportunity to visit the office of NU Collective and interview Mark Phillips about his collection and his inspirations for the Spring 2009 season coming up. It was fun to visit his office because it was filled with happy people, great colors, and lots of activity.

NU Collective is a gorgeous collection of feminine dresses and tops that is a celebrity favorite. Paris Hilton, Nicky Hilton, Selena Gomez, Kourtney Kardashian, Amanda Bynes, Ashley Tisdale, and Tori Spelling have all been seen wearing NU Collective. I personally love the line because of all of its feminine details and tailored fit. Irena Medavoy, socialite, and a founder of Team Safe-T, as well as a charity executive, and fundraiser for the Industry Task Force also loves NU Collective so much, she gave us a testimonial. Her testimonial will be found in this story as well. (Irena Medavoy is married to Hollywood producer Mike Medavoy).

Questions for NU Collective Mark Phillips Head Designer:

1. Where did you get your start in designing? Where did you get your first job? Which designers did you apprentice for?
I started out in the business doing window displays working as the fashion coordinator in the visual merchandising department at Saks Fifth AveNUe in Beverly Hills. This job inspired me to get into the design end of the business. My first job in the industry was as a pattern maker for a funky junior contemporary line “Madhouse.” I transitioned into a designer position soon after that so I never had the opportunity to apprentice with any other designers.

2. Where did you work and go to design school?
I went to school at La Trade Tech.

3. What is your daily inspiration?
I am inspired by all the fab women in my life.

4. Where do you shop? Who are your favorite designers?
I love Opening Ceremony and Dior for high-end and Urban Outfitters and American Apparel for wardrobe staples. The designers I respect the most are John Galliano, Nicolas Ghesquiere, Marc Jacobs, Vivienne Westwood, and of course Diane Von Furstenberg.

5. Who are your celebrity inspirations when dressing your models?
I love Gwen Stefani, Rihanna, Nicole Richie, Mary Kate Olsen, and Cameron Diaz.

6. When did you know you wanted to design clothing?
From the minute I was born, fashion has always played a major role in my life.

7. What is the best part of your day?
Waking up … I’m an early bird.

8. What is the worse part of your day?
Going to bed … I’m also a night owl.

9. What advice do you have for young aspiring designers?
Full knowledge of pattern making, draping, and clothing’s construction is essential. I recommend all aspiring designers to work as a pattern maker before transitioning into a designer.

10. If I were to buy two pieces from your collection—which two pieces should I buy for Fall and which two pieces should I buy for Spring?
For Fall, our ponte and silk dress with a high waist skirt detail in superfab. I also love the metallic print cowl neck shift. For Spring, our printed Chiffon Maxi Dress id hot, as well as our cascade front halter neck top.

11. What were your inspirations behind the Spring collection? Behind the Fall collection?
For the Fall deliveries, I was really going for a feminine yet vampy look. For Spring, I’m feeling lightweight fabrics with layered effects and prints, prints, prints.

12. Is there any thing you dislike about what you do?
The endless impossible deadlines really can take its toll on a designer.

13. Do you like feedback from the people who wear your clothes? Do you often hear the feedback?
I think feedback is essential for going forward and I incorporate it into my design decisions always. I work all the major shows and speak directly to the stores that buy the collection. I also get constant feedback from all the showroom girls who wear the line on a regular basis. I talk to friends and family about their favorite pieces all the time. My mom usually wears NU Collective seven days a week!

14. Do you bring your lunch to work daily? What do you like to eat for lunch? Your favorite meal?
I actually recently started bringing homemade salads and fruit to work everyday. Sushi is my fave food.

15. Do you have a pet? A plant? Do you care about being ECO Chic?
I have two dogs, Trina and Foxy. They are both little terrier mixes that, of course, I lovelovelove! I love succulents and have them all throughout my house and yard. They are low-maintenance and perfect for California. I believe eco-chic is chic and I do not drive a gas-guzzler to help out the environment. I’m trying my best to recycle and I even started using reusable grocery bags … every little bit matters!

Designer Bio
As the son of a Hair Salon and Art Gallery Owner, Designer Mark Anthony Phillips has always surrounded himself with fashion and creativity. His first job out of college was working as a Visual Merchandiser, specializing as a Fashion Coordinator. His years at Saks Fifth AveNUe in Beverly Hills gave him a great opportunity to be exposed to all the Collections of the top Designers in fashion.

Before long, he knew he had to be on the other side of the industry, this time as a Designer. Reflecting on his career so far, Mark adds, “Every time I see one of my designs on a mannequin or in a store window display, I feel like I’ve gone full circle.”

NU Collective Information
NU Collective embodies the spirit of a collective, creative collaboration, celebrating all that is new. Fresh silhouettes, excellent fit, exciting colors, and interesting details make each style in the Los Angeles based NU Collective line, a must have item. For inspiration, individuality takes center stage, with the customer serving as the muse. New Collective fans love the day to evening versatility of the collection and are attracted to the modern and clean design inspiration. The fit works so well with so many body types due to elasticized backs and adjustable elements for a better fit. The core of the collection is fabricated with various silks in both solids and prints, as well as jersey knits and seasonal fabrics to diversify the selection. Tops are always the main focus, with the dress selection becoming more important on the line each season.

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