THE DAPIFER loves fashion designer Dana Maxx; her exquisite piecesÂ can be found in many of our editorials. We tried our best to find out what makes her tick.
Interview by Lakenya Kelly,Â Photography by Jon Gordon
THE DAPIFER: What’s the most difficult part of design for you?Â DANA MAXX: Creating a story within each collection is so hard for me to do. Plus thinking about what’s going to sell, while remaining creative, all the while staying true to my voice, it’s a lot sometimes. People think designing is so glamorous and easy. It’s definitely not for the faint of heart. There is so much that goes into designing a collection, it’s unreal. I like to tell fashion students that being a designer is 80% business, 20% being creative. That’s the reality.
Any advice for up and comers trying to break through?Â Be true to yourself, never stop learning, and don’t compare where you are to anyone else. Everybody’s journey is different! And know that it takes time to grow a successful business. It’s not going to happen overnight. It takes a tremendous amount of hard work, patience, persistence, timing, and money to make it happen.
There’s a pretty even mix of designers who use their names to brand their designs and others who come up with other solutions — what made you decide to simply be Dana-Maxx and where there other options on the table? I think I always knew that I wanted my line to be my name, Dana-Maxx.
Did you always know that you wanted to be a designer? Definitely. I knew when I was pretty young that this is what I wanted to do. Having a strong passion like that is both a blessing and a curse when you are growing up. People don’t understand it, and rightfully so. They don’t understand how your identity is tied to what you want to do. Your focus is constantly on trying to figure out how to make this giant dream a reality. But it’s something that can’t be explained. You eat, breathe, sleep, and dream about it. It’s who you are.
What’s the earliest memory you have of creating something? I had a pretend store in my bedroom when I was a little girl. My stuffed animals were my clients. It was called “Dana’s World” — because I hated my full first name at the time, Dana-Maxx. I still have the sketches I did to this day. Designing was always in my blood.
Who influenced your personal style growing up? My mom has the finest taste. And my grandmother, her mother, and my aunt have both always loved fashion. My grandmother would always look so glamorous; red nails, the chicest clothing, and her hairstyle would change depending upon her outfit. My aunt is obsessed with vintage clothing and all things unique. She goes on these amazing vintage hunts in Paris… She literally goes across the world to shop for one-of-a-kind pieces!
Do these influences still influence the way you design today? In a way they do.Â I like to think that my designs are done tastefully, with a touch of a sophistication, and with a sense of whimsy.
What type of women do you envision wearing your designs? She is a go-getter. She works hard and doesn’t necessarily have time to shop. She wants clothing that is easy, sophisticated, fashionable, sexy, and transitional.
Dana-Maxx is carried in department stores such as Bergdorf Goodman.