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How Vampy Goths and a '90s Sitcom Inspired This Local Designer

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All images credit: Dominique Negron/Matthew Larsen/Suzi Analogue

Finding inspiration in everything from Ecuadorian tribal art to the Goth aesthetic, fashion designer Dominique Negron is never lacking in ideas. The creative mind behind the Philly print-based apparel line Couture Vulture, Negron juggles her own brand along with two collaborative collections: one with local nail art authority Nail Tite; the other with TwiceBaked's Christine Petroni, a local leather and textile designer. "Once two creative minds connect, it's nearly impossible to stop," says Negron.

The latter collab is Negron's most current venture, a small collection of Gothic-inspired pebbled leather and oxblood velvet Casket Clutches that could make any vampire's veins run hot. Here, the 27-year-old self-taught designer tells us a little about herself and her designs, which she describes as "urban chic/streetwear meets high-end."

Tell us about your start in fashion design.
In 2007, I was very inspired by the return of the '90s hip hop era—the first retro fashion reference I actually lived and remembered! I designed my first shirt based on the Afrocentric typography featured in the credits from Martin, a sitcom starring Martin Lawrence (one of my childhood favorites).

What else inspires you?
I'm inspired by the art directly around me. For example, when I was living in Ecuador in 2010, I was inspired by the handcrafted goods made by the Quecha Indians. Upon my return, I was well-stocked in this department, and the "tribal trend" was in full-force on the retail front. Then in 2011, I started working out of a local design gallery called Studio Christensen and again my design sensibility shifted. It became more minimalist and basic in color palette. There will always be a place for ancient and modern art for me; the two are directly related.

Where do you go in Philly when you're craving a creative jumpstart?
I look to the city's art scene, from the Art Museum to murals and street art. I relate them to fashion. Elsewhere, I look to the runways and European fashion cities like Stockholm, Sweden.

Can you tell us your collections' target audience?
For each line, it varies. My men's stuff is for cultured urban dwellers aged 18 to 30; Nail Tite is younger and more playful and trendy—for ages 16 to 24; and lastly the clutches are for a more refined taste—they love fashion and recognize great quality when they see it. They could all be from one family!

What do you love about each line?
Each line is different but similar. I like that they all represent a part of my fashion sensibility and are really an extension of my personality.

How would you define Philly style?
The Philly scene is steeped in urban wear—refined leather/suede hybrid sneakers or boots, camo and flannel prints, snapbacks...People are up on the high fashion trends, too—black, minimalism, oxblood and leathers.
· Couture Vulture [Official Site]
· Nail Tite [Official Site]
· TwiceBaked [Official Site]