Donni Charm's Alyssa Wasko On Fashion In Los Angeles

PHOTOS BY KAREN HERNANDEZ FOR THE ASSEMBLIST

PHOTOS BY KAREN HERNANDEZ FOR THE ASSEMBLIST

As we set our sights on our upcoming LA trade show, the growth of our LA Square and brand community we're excited to catch up with one of our favorite (and newly located) designers Alyssa Wasko of Donni Charm.

With Alyssa's mission of providing "scarves with a story" we've been following Donni Charm's respective story closely since our first meeting in 2016. Since then, Donni Charm has continued to flourish - so much in fact, Alyssa moved the budding brand out west where she oversees the team in their newly-dubbed Los Angeles HQ.

You can imagine our excitement in getting a chance to see the design magic happen in this promising next chapter of Donni Charm's story. Read on for a refresher of Alyssa's journey as a designer, what it's been like to build the brand in Los Angeles and what she hopes to assemble daily while getting to know the LA market. Also visit The Style Line for an exclusive second part of our conversation. 

Please re-introduce yourself! What's changed since we last saw you?

A big move to LA! We recently said bye bye to NYC and came to LA to join our HQ in West Hollywood. Now we are all under one roof, operating out of Los Angeles. 

With Donni Charm’s LA move tell us about your experiences in building the brand on the west coast. What resources do you have access to that you couldn’t necessarily tap into while in NYC? 

Our production has always been in LA which was one of the main reasons for the move. I was traveling back and forth 1-2 times per month. Now that I am here, I can really immerse myself in the design process on a daily basis and expand. There has definitely been inspiration for new product categories in the near future as well!

As a bonafide LA dweller how would you describe the designer community and industry scene and what advice would you have for fellow NYC designers who are looking to make the jump to LA? 

Bottom line for me is, any designer should be based where their production is. The opportunity to be hands on with the process from start to finish is a perspective that not only solidifies your image but also ensures your product is of the best quality.

What are some interesting observations you’ve made about your LA customer? How has building a brand between two cities inspired your ability to adapt as a designer? 

I think besides the obvious weather, there aren't as many differences between east coast and west coast customers as you would think. After analyzing buying patterns, the east coast is usually first to pick up on a trend but fashionistas on the west coast quickly follow. I will say the neck scarf movement is something I’ve really seen Californians embrace all year round while east coasters tend to switch it up with the heavier styles as the winter lends itself.

With the start of 2017 do you have any design resolutions for the year (or season) ahead? What can we expect to see in the coming months?

We are always testing the limits of what we can do with fabrics. Our knitting mills are the only ones left in the country that have the capability to produce the types of knits we use. In 2017, we will continue to challenge ourselves in the fabrication department and expand on our domestic production capabilities. 

How has being part of the Brand Assembly community furthered Donni Charm and how do you plan to leverage your involvement while in LA?  

Brand Assembly is an amazing community that supports one another and promote success amongst their brands. They understand that each brand brings something unique to the table and as a community, we are stronger together.

What do you assemble daily?

Making people feel good. Inside and out!


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