Within minutes of meeting Autumn Adeigbo you’re not only captivated by her bright smile, and bubbly laugh, but her bold personal style that is an exact reflection of her colorful and cultural womenswear line. The daughter of Nigerian immigrants, Autumn’s passion lies in creating a more beautiful, culturally conscious world by sticking to her Nigerian roots, and giving back as often as she can. A percentage of the sales of her pieces are donated to the Women for Women International Non-Profit, which supports female survivors of war in Nigeria, Rwanda, the DR of the Congo, and Sudan. She’s managed to create fun, modern fashion for a greater cause, and what’s better than that?
Autumn has developed her first full scale collection for Fall/Winter 2012. Her chic, sophisticated pieces have been worn by Amanda Hearst, Julianne Moore, Jill Hennessy, and Elettra Rossellini Wiedemann. She even created a custom piece for Elettra, and styled her for her Goodness Pop Up, which was featured on Vogue.com and Refinery 29. Her premier collection for Fall 2009 was selected by Henri Bendel during their Open See and featured in Women’s Wear Daily. She also has multiple placements and mentions in Marie Claire, Glamour, Lucky, Nylon, Essence, and W magazine Online.
Before starting her own line, Autumn worked for designers Betsey Johnson and Anna Sui. She then continued to cultivate her design aesthetic by assisting stylists Andrea Lieberman, Leslie Fremar, and Rebecca Weinberg, where she styled A-listers including Maggie Gyllenhaall, Gwen Stefani, and Jennifer Connelly.
We sat down with Autumn to learn more about her collection and what inspires her to create the colorful, forward-thinking pieces that she’s known for…
StyledOn: When did you first realize you wanted to be a fashion designer?
Autumn Adeigbo: Well, I always had a thing for fashion, which stemmed from my mother. She found joy in sewing a lot of the things I wore when I was a little girl. My mom also has amazing style so seeing her dress every day, on a very limited budget, really made an impression on me. But at 19, when I was completing my undergrad at Spelman College, I decided that there was really nothing else I wanted to do. So I taught myself how to sketch fashion girls late at night after I finished my homework from college. I started this sketchbook that I carried everywhere with me. It was like a combination of a fashion sketchbook, journal, and cookbook with recipes. I still have to this day.
SO: What was the first piece of clothing you ever made?
AA: It was a wrap skirt that had an eastern Indian feel. It was the summer after I decided to become a designer and my mom sat me down at her sewing machine and showed me how to sew it. I still wear it as a robe around my house. I'm quite sentimental.
SO: If you could collaborate with anyone, who would it be?
AA: I honestly could not choose just one person. In terms of creativity, the fashion industry is filled with so many geniuses that I would like to one-day work with. But I adore Tory Burch and think the brand she has created is really special. She is an outstanding businesswoman. And Giuseppe Zanotti is my favorite shoe designer I think.
SO: If you could have one celebrity be the face of your line who would it be?
AA: Right now I am in love with Solange Knowles and her fashion sense. She also seems to have a laid back and balanced perspective on life. Add to the fact that she unconventionally had a child in her teens and is a super hot, young, chic mom, and she has my heart. I also would love the young hip-hop set- like Amber Rose and Azealia Banks.
SO: What inspires you the most?
AA: Positive, successful individuals who invest back into their surroundings and communities.
SO: What are three words that describe the Autumn Adeigbo wearer?
AA: Authentic, inspired, strong.
SO: What was it like working under such great names as Betsey Johnson and Anna Sui?
AA: Those two designers were my first introduction into the contemporary world of design and it was amazing! I really got to see who a "Betsey" girl was verses an "Anna" girl. I got a wonderful glimpse into definition on brand building because those two created whole worlds around their clothing collections- shoes, jewelry, perfume, secondary lines, handbags, you name it. It was so educational and inspirational to be around them.
SO: Tell us, is Betsey as crazy/quirky and fun as she seems?
AA: Absolutely! I interned for her when I was in school. She hired me when I ran into her on the street one evening after I told her how badly I wanted to work for her. My impression of her is that even though she's very quirky, she is one of those people that if you take that aspect of her personality for granted and try to get over on her, she will quickly remind you just how smart she is and how she got to her present position.
SO: Besides your own line, which you’re known for donning often, what are other brands that you buy/wear?
AA: I honestly don't shop often, but my favorite designers are probably Marni, Oscar de la Renta, Dries Van Noten, and Azzedine Alaia.
SO: Do you plan on expanding into a jewelry line? We can see your aesthetic translating very well into accessories...
AA: Yes, and also handbags.
SO: Favorite blogs or websites?
AA: I regularly get sucked onto gossip websites; I like to be in-the-know.
SO: Any advice for aspiring designers?
AA: Learn to be as hands on as possible. The more you know how to do on your own (patternmaking, sewing samples, even Photoshop) the less you will have to pay others to do it for you in the future. Those aspects of creating a line are very expensive and often take designers just starting in their craft, out of business. Also, work as much as you can in the industry before you launch your own line. Get as much experience as possible. Partner with people whose skill set compliments your own so you can bring different things to the table, making your team more dynamic.
SO: If you could live and work anywhere other than NYC where would it be?
AA: Probably Capetown, South Africa. I dream of having property there one day. And I know this sounds crazy but I also dream of living outside of the city when I have a family, like down south in Atlanta, or in the Midwest where my parents live. I miss cars, grocery shopping with a car, and mini malls.
SO: Describe your style in one word.
AA: Out-of-the-box. Does that count as one word?
And for a bit more on Autumn...
Favorite color: Eggplant purple is very regal to me
Favorite ice cream flavor: Ben and Jerry’s Cluster Fluff
Favorite movie: The Lost Boys (80's version)
Favorite beauty product: Chapstick under Nars matte lipstick in Red Square
Favorite item you own: Probably my picture collection of family and friends from childhood
Favorite trend right now: The retro crop top with the high-waisted skirt
Least favorite trend- I don’t think pointy toe heels are comfortable and prefer a platform heel I can wear all day
Check out AutumnAdeigbo.com to view her Fall 2012 collection, and let us know which pieces you’re coveting! We love the Afiya Skirt and the Verde Cape.
What do you think of her collection? Who are some of your favorite new designers?