You're a UT grad. Living in NYC, what do you miss most about Austin?
Queso! There is one restaurant in Brooklyn that has Tex-Mex style queso, but it does not compare. And I miss being outdoors more. There’s a relaxed hippy vibe in Austin that I miss and I LOVE Barton Springs. And of course I miss UT football games! I’m not even a crazy football fanatic but the games are just too fun.
Is fashion embedded in your family, or are you and your aunt [designer Kate Spade] the trailblazers?
My grandmother was amazing. She was very glamorous. She loved huge sunglasses and... was very forward thinking about fashion. I think that kind of infiltrated all of us. I can’t think of any of the women in my family who aren’t a little creative in their own way, and everyone has their own personal style.
You are a Parsons and FIT grad and designed accessories for Kate Spade before launching some important brand initiatives. What did you learn?
Working for Katie was amazing. Watching her do what she does, she has such a strong aesthetic and a very specific voice. It was a very good lesson in being true to your own voice and your own sensibilities and finding who your ‘girl’ is.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve gotten from the fashionable women in your family?
My mom is big on “less is more,” which is always good. And Katie always says, “Edit!” You are your best asset to your company – so don’t try to be everything to everybody. Just be true to yourself.
Current trend you can’t get enough of?
I’m not usually a leather girl. But I am loving leather trim and leather items. I have a leather pleated mini skirt that I am wearing with everything. I wear it with a printed blouse for night and then a Mickey Mouse sweater at work!
Who would you most want to swap closets with?
There is a blogger – Natalie Joos. I’m obsessed with her wardrobe and the way she puts herself together. And also, Alexa Chung. She is our dream girl. She is very feminine but also a bit of a tomboy.
You're a part of the CFDA's Fashion Incubator mentoring program for select NYC emerging designers, like Project Runway's Daniel Vosovic. How is it helping you develop your line WHIT?
Everyone is very friendly. During Fashion Week, I needed a seamstress and Daniel said, “Oh I’m not using mine!” It’s just a really nice support system. The fashion industry has this reputation of being so cut-throat and it’s really not like that.
What's one piece we should all have in our closet in 2013?
Every woman should have a really great full skirt. Something that shows off your waist but has a playfulness to it. And a great French white shirt, of course!