New York City native, Joan Madison has come a long way from the borough of Queens. Working in fashion for over 20 years, including time at top fashion brands such as Liz Claiborne and Ellen Tracy, Joan set up her own bespoke bridal boutique back in 2000. Since then she has gone on to create show-stopping, red-carpet designs, unique bridal pieces, as well as both men’s and women’s apparel as a bespoke designer.
We spoke to Joan about her thoughts on the industry, her design process, and what she believes the future holds for fashion.
How would you describe your brand aesthetic?
My personal design aesthetic is a mixture of high fashion red carpet couture evening wear. I love working with tulle and lace. I am drawn to fabrics with unique patterns and elements of shine, like sequins, and some unconventional fabrics as well.
My pieces are empowering and very dramatic high fashion garments that make a statement when you walk in the room.
What is your first fashion memory?
At the age of 7, making an outfit for my Barbie doll
Where do you look for inspiration?
As a creative spirit, I look for inspiration everywhere.
I believe there is a collective, creative universal energy, and I tap into that source daily. Whatever I am feeling in my soul, or emotionally that inspires me, I convey that feeling using my design aesthetic and my personal perspective to create tangible representations of the culture and what’s going on in the world through my clothing.
As a designer what has been your biggest challenge to date?
My biggest challenge to date is having to narrow down and focus on which pieces will comprise my newest Collection, and how I can evolve, but remain authentic to who I am as a designer.
What is your typical creative process?
My typical creative process begins with a vision board of many, many thumbnail sketches of designs, fabric swatches, trims, etc. I then start searching for fabrication to support that vision.
Each Collection takes about 3 to 4 months to complete, but my creative process is forever ongoing. I am always searching and researching fabrics for new concepts and ideas to use in the future.
As my collection becomes cohesive by narrowing down how many pieces I am going to show and which fabrics to use, I am then ready to let the magic happen and bring my designs to life.
What do you think consumers of fashion need to be made more aware of?
As a bespoke designer, each individual garment takes a lot of time and effort. There are many moving parts. There is the creative process: coming up with a design. Then the execution stage, where you have to source the fabric, make the pattern, then sew the actual garment. It’s a labor of love.
What do you love designing the most?
I love designing formalwear the most. This is when I can be the most creative.
How do you select your materials and fabric?
I source my fabrications everywhere. I have well-established contacts in New York City that I have used for decades, but I also constantly search for new sources online.
What is your ultimate design goal?
To have my Collection widely distributed on multiple platforms.
What do you think the future will bring to fashion?
As our lives have been affected by the Coronavirus pandemic, people have been staying at home more and dressing more casually. But once the coronavirus is under control, Fashion is going to kick the door wide open with new trends.
As people are able to socialize more, I think we will start to see people dressing up again, which is very exciting for the future of fashion.
Check out some of Joan Madison’s jaw-dropping designs for yourself here at Bulb Fashion.