Threads of Fashion Advice from Designer Ann Yee
After receiving rave reviews for her fall collection at Fashion Week in New York, South Lyon native Ann Yee, 28, took a break from her hectic schedule to talk with Hour Detroit via e-mail
Have you always been into fashion?
I started sketching dresses when I was 8 or 9 at the front counter of my parents’ restaurant, and customers would always comment on them. I always loved drawing clothes.
Do you often come back home? What are some of your favorite places to shop and eat?
New York keeps me awfully busy, but I make sure to come back home for all the big holidays. Eating at my parents’ two restaurants, the Fortuna Inn in South Lyon and Great China in Brighton, is a must. I love the local Goodwill and Salvation Army; I always find the best stuff there. Some of the same pieces would cost hundreds of dollars here in New York City at vintage shops.
When did you launch your label?
In the fall of ’09. Things started to pick up in spring 2010 when we first hit stores.
Where do you look for inspiration?
I don’t necessarily seek out inspiration, but rather allow myself to be open to my surroundings. Every season, something clicks with me, whether it’s using mollusk shells, the movie Blade Runner, or most recently a [John] Keats poem as my source of creativity
Describe the collection that was shown at Fashion Week at the Sky Room.
AW/11 is a collection about mood and the dark reflections of emotion. John Keats’ poem “When I Have Fears” stands as the inspiration behind it, because it took me to a dark but hopeful place, which felt very reflective of my current state as my business enters its second year.
What’s the best part of being a designer?
Being able to continuously create and see it come to fruition. I’m still waiting to see someone walking down the street in my designs. I feel extremely lucky to be doing what I love for a living.
What trend are you most excited about for spring/summer?
I’m not really one to follow trends, so I’m just going to say that I’m excited for more color again. This winter has been quite brutal and I feel like my wardrobe has been overly saturated in gray.
What fashion trend will you never accept?
Death to Uggs.
What’s the one item every woman should own?
Any fashion advice?
Don’t be afraid of layering. You can wear that fall jacket in the dead of winter if you throw a knit over it, for example — your wardrobe will actually become seasonless! Also, don’t overthink it and make it too serious. Have fun with it, and remember: It’s just fashion, not microbiology.