Ashley Pecolia is the fashion stylist behind AP for Women. Her clothing line, inspired by American Fashion and Islāmic Law, were twice featured in Couture Fashion Week in NY. She’s even landed her a 2013 Fashion Awards MD nomination in the Emerging Clothing Designer category. Ashley is quickly making a name for herself in this industry, all before turning 22. Over a Vanilla Bean Frappuccino, which accidentally matched her black and white outfit paired with gold accessories, we had a CHIC fashion chat!
Ashley was witty and honest when it came to answering the questions, adding a bit of sass here and there which can be seen in her collections. She seems to be a very passionate person who stays humble despite her achievements many of us will only dream about.
Mz Mahogany Chic: When did you start designing?
Ashley: I started when I was little, but I became more serious about it towards the 12th grade. I began designing first and then I learned to sew by myself watching shows like Project Runway. I was inspired by religion when I converted a few years ago. When I converted to Islam it helped structure and guide me towards the right direction.
Mz Mahogany Chic: How did you know this was the right career for you?
Ashley: I didn’t know this was the right path for me but I just took a leap of faith. I have been able t show at New York Fashion Week and it turned out to be a lot better than I expected. After I came back from New York I was in a car accident and ended up getting a few injuries but the following day I heard the news about my Fashion Awards of Maryland nomination and it helped me stay motivated.
Mz Mahogany Chic: What is a typical day as a designer?
Ashley: I try to make a structured schedule that I can follow and know what I need to do. But being a designer I get inspired during different times of the day so I have to be able to recreate it. Also, working with different clients around the world makes it difficult to have a structured schedule because of the different time zones.
Mz Mahogany Chic: What advice do you have for those who want to pursue a career in the fashion industry?
Ashley: Don’t think of money as the first thing. Have a niche to define yourself as a designer and make it as “you” as you can. Also, take baby steps, it’s a very competitive industry so you want to make sure you do your best.
Mz Mahogany Chic: What are your current favorite trends?
Ashley: I love gold accessories and I also love the Chanel hula-hoop bag recently seen on the runways.
Mz Mahogany Chic: Where do you get your inspiration?
Ashley: Gossip Girl, Sex and the City, Life in the Fab Lane, The Rachel Zoe Project, basically fashion forward shows. I do think Project Runway is a bit commercialized however.
Mz Mahogany Chic: Which designer inspires you the most?
Ashley: Dior inspires me the most because of the rich, powerful and elegant designs in each collection. Also Marc Jacobs, because it’s very young and fun, and he always incorporates great patterns.
Mz Mahogany Chic: What fashion risks have you taken?
Ashley: I would have to say it happened this February during New York Fashion Week. I was able to show at two different shows and for the first one I basically changed my collection because the person who helped me get on the show was giving me advice and tips to change it and I did. When I saw it down the runway it didn’t feel like myself or a collection that I created and fashion critics agreed that they were not fans of the color blocking. So I changed everything basically in one day and was able to show a more “me” collection the following show.
Mz Mahogany Chic: What is the one clothing item you cannot live without?
Ashley: I cannot live without skinny jeans because you can dress them up or down depending on what you pair with it. Also, I love Uggs because they are so comfortable and keep my feet warm!
Mz Mahogany Chic: What are some fashion items you recommend for every woman?
Ashley: Platform heels, more specifically, platform heels in either a gold or silvery glitter color. I also recommend getting long necklaces so you can use that as your statement piece.
Mz Mahogany Chic: What would you describe your design aesthetic as?
Ashley: Mod Lux stands for Modest Luxury and it’s very classy, elegant, yet comfortable.
Mz Mahogany Chic: What is the most difficult thing about being an emerging fashion designer?
Ashley: It can be very difficult to keep in contact with everyone because you do meet a lot of people but you also have a ton of work to do. It’s also extremely difficult to find models sometimes because everyone thinks they’re models, but sometimes they will quit the last minute.
Mz Mahogany Chic: What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Ashley: I always try to make clothes that are affordable for people, so I try to price my collection at less than $100. It feels pretty amazing when people buy and wear your clothing!
Mz Mahogany Chic: What is your favorite item that you have created?
Ashley: I love this red dress with a train that I have created, also this A-line dress that is white with gold lace!
Mz Mahogany Chic: Where do you see yourself in five years?
Ashley: I would like to hopefully have my own stores internationally. I’m going to start online and go from there in deciding where to sell it. I would also love to show at London Fashion Week and places like Milan and Paris and even in Germany.
Mz Mahogany Chic: Do you like to do anything while you are in “designer mode” to help keep you focused?
Ashley: I like to have Netflix on or even listen to music, I can’t work in complete silence because it helps me stay focused to have some sort of noise in the background. I like to listen to Britney Spears, Wyclef Jean, and some Lil’ Wayne.
Mz Mahogany Chic: What does it feel like to be a nominee for the Fashion Awards of Maryland?
Ashley: It feels good! I have no clue what to wear to the awards but I’m thinking maybe a high-low chiffon top with some skinny jeans.
As if Ashley wasn’t busy enough, this hardworking woman will be launching her website on May 22. Ashley has been using the website Etsy to sell her collection and is still deciding on whether she will continue to use the site after the launch for Mod Lux.
Ashley Pecolia will be collaborating with Stevie Boi for a show in Baltimore this May. She will also be doing her first show all by herself on June 20th at the DL Lounge in NYC and in addition to that a show in Atlanta on August 31st.
For more information about Ashley Pecolia or the AP for Women brand, email firstname.lastname@example.org