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This Philly Designer is Poised to be the Next Big Thing

Image credit: <a href="http://shop.sheilafrank.net/product/colleen-dress">Sheila Frank</a>
Image credit: Sheila Frank

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Hauntingly quiet, enigmatic and mysterious, the wearer of Philly designer Sheila Frank's new collection, The Coming, is the kind of woman who whispers instead of shouts. She opts for a deep shade of evergreen in lieu of boring black, and she never, ever wears leggings as pants (more on that in a minute). Here, Frank, a Moore grad, tells us about all her nightmarish FW13 collection, her brand-new website, and shares advice for aspiring designers.


What inspired your FW13 collection?
"The Coming" began with a nightmare I had. Often my collections are brought to fruition from a dream, daydream, nightmare. I know this sounds cliched, but I think in pictures, like a silent film. Before I actually put pen to paper and design, I envision the campaign first. I imagine the mood and what the viewer will feel. Then I see the garment's texture, shape, and color. What's the most difficult part of designing?
Wondering if people will wear a look is difficult; but I like every part, even when I'm on three hours of sleep.

Who do you envision wearing your garments?
I design for the eclectic gal. I really would love for everyone to wear my pieces—every shape, height, and age. I like to design classic silhouettes and tweak style lines to create a new look. Each garment is handmade, and we focus on traditional and couture techniques. It's nice to feel like something is made for you. It makes it special.

Any personal favorites?
I have a soft spot for the Jessica Dress and the Elizabeth Top; they're easy, flattering pieces that everyone can wear. I also really love the Amyra Dress. I wanted to create something flattering with structure, and it was a happy accident that really worked!

You've been in the Philly fashion scene for a while now, but accessories are a new venture for you. Why did you decide to get into eco-friendly jewelry design?
I like the idea that accessories can change an outfit. Our assistant designer, Amyra Weiss, made me a necklace for my birthday last year, and I loved it. Ideas ran wild, and I knew that Amyra would be a good fit for this new venture. The fall collection is inspired by something other-worldly.

Which pieces from the collection are the most popular?
The Deco Bracelet in white is really popular. And surprisingly, we've had a lot of request for pulls for photoshoots on the Marlo Dress.

How does your new website reflect your evolution as a designer?
The rebrand was necessary for me as an artist and a designer. I really wanted my aesthetic to match my ideas. I grew up; I'm 31! The website is more streamlined and user friendly and well, professional!

Name one fashion trend you wish would die a slow, painful death.
Leggings as pants. Inappropriate.

What's the oldest piece of clothing in your closet?
A vintage dress I purchased for $3.00. I love it—perfect cut with a black and white floral print.

Do you have advice for aspiring designers?
Don't give up. You will struggle, but that makes it worth it. Stay true to yourself as a designer and your aesthetic. There is no expiration date on a dream.
· Sheila Frank [Official Site]
· Sheila Frank [Facebook]