Meet Brand Assembly Square Designer Allina Liu

PHOTOS BY BRIDGET BADORE FOR THE ASSEMBLIST

PHOTOS BY BRIDGET BADORE FOR THE ASSEMBLIST

If you ask emerging designer Allina Liu her personal opinions on professional success she’ll tell you this, “I think the most important thing for a designer to focus on is themselves in order to grow - or else the brand, designs, and concepts won’t.”

By staying true to that idea Allina has been able to lay the foundation for her namesake contemporary brand which champions individuality while exuding an air of modern romance. From elevated materials to lush detailing, Allina’s collections embody the very essence of what we love about contemporary fashion - perspective, craftsmanship and wearability.

In fact, we’ve been able to see it all unfold firsthand here at the Brand Assembly Square New York where Allina currently resides as one of our nook tenants. There, you’ll find her stopping by between factory visits to catch up emails on and conduct meetings with fellow industry insiders. As a valued Square member we were excited to steal a few moments of the emerging designer’s time to learn more about how she got her start and what she’s currently assembling daily for future collections. Read on for our chat with Allina and also visit The Style Line for an exclusive follow up portion of our conversation.

Please introduce yourself!

Hi! My name is Allina. Aside from designing and running around to factory meetings, I really enjoy cooking, reading mystery thrillers, and hanging with my dog, Snoopy. When your hobby is your occupation, you really need to learn how to take a step back and find some other things to immerse yourself in or else it becomes harder to be creative. I value anything that helps me grow and learn about myself more as a person.

As a contemporary fashion designer why do you feel it’s important for the brand to be made in New York City and what resources have you found to be the most useful in your journey as a designer?

I think a really important thing for a young designer is to be able to monitor quality and ethical work environments. Being able to produce in the city allows me to easily be on call with my factory. If they have any questions, it’s no issue for me to hop on a train and come inspect things myself instead of dealing with emails and photos. During my time as an assistant designer for a company, all the pieces were sent to China. I noticed how ineffective this process was. The samples would come in completely incorrect even with though we sent very thorough tech packs. It was ironic because the company was trying to save money but they ended up using more from the amount of corrections they needed to do. A great resource so far has been Brand Assembly. Aside from having a great space to work, I’m surrounded by brilliant designers as well.

Give us an overview of your most recent collection. What was the driving inspiration and what do you hope to assemble further with future pieces/collections?

The brand has always had a focus on innocence versus sexuality. One of the main artists I look at while I design is Nobuyoshi Araki. I really love the unapologetic sensuality of the images. The pieces from this season have subtle nods to his work. For example, I have a bunch of pieces with straps that hang off in reference to the rope bondage images. I’m also a secret romantic so my work has always had that kind of feel to it. During the lookbook shoots I always hope to mix romance with a cooler vibe because that’s who our girl is. I think what I create in the future will always revolve around the initial concept for the brand. I feel like I’m still figuring myself out and the brand is a direct reflection of that journey.

How has being part of the Brand Assembly Square/community furthered your brand and as a Square member how do you plan to leverage your involvement on a local level?

Brand Assembly has provided me with a great space to meet interesting and talented people and work near them. It was nice to find a space that is strictly catered to brands, whether they’re established or emerging. I just participated in their most recent NY market show and it was a lovely experience.

When it comes to your day-to-day at the Brand Assembly Square what is your usual routine and what have you found to be the most rewarding aspect of being based at the Square and in the Flatiron area?

The location is great. My factory is only two subway stops away so it’s definitely a convenient place to be. Day-to-day really varies for me depending on the time of the season. Sometimes there isn’t much to be done and other times I’m completely swamped. When I’m at Brand Assembly I usually have a few meetings and deal with e-mails before I have to run to the factory.

What do you assemble daily?

Myself. I think the most important thing for a designer to focus on is themselves in order to grow or else the brand, designs, and concepts won’t.