You may have noticed quite a gap with new blog posts. This is due to the fact that I’ve been working to get some interviews of some of the most influential women I’ve met. Whether it be in fashion or the community. These women are courageous, chasing after their dreams, and women that are inspiring the world for the better.
My first feature for this Woman of the Month is Crystal Lee, a Denver fashion designer, mother and fierce boss lady, accomplishing her dreams!
1. Give us a little background into your life. Are you a Colorado native?
I’m from San Marcos California and I played softball at junior college. A majority of my life was playing sports. I went to Oklahoma State on full ride softball scholarship and my roommate lived in Denver and so when she moved back to Denver that was when I moved too.
2. When did you realize that you wanted to become a fashion designer? What motivated you to want to design clothing?
The light bulb moment for me was that I am not your “sample size” and about 5-6 years ago I was not finding clothing for for myself so it was out of necessity that I started making my own clothes and friends would ask me “where did you get that?”
I went back to school (the Art Institute in Denver) around 2006-2007 for fashion and just did that!
3. What is your actual process?
Every designer has their own process. Obviously, you have to know how to sew and what not. I’m very picky about the fabrics that I use. I love fabric with lots of movement! I love the silk section! When I get fabric, I’ll take it out of the roll and see how the fabric moves and let the fabric speak to me what it wants to be. Sometimes I can sketch, but it can be limiting to me because then I feel like I need to stick to it, so i drape it and cut and just move as I see fit. Sometimes a song can inspire me and I will think, “what kind of outfit would I like to wear if this song was playing?”
The first thing I ask myself is what I want to be when I show up? Whether it’s the cool girl, the laid back woman, the classic girl, etc. I also ask my clients the same thing.
4. What does C.R. stand for in C.R. Lee Designs?
Crystal Renee Lee Designs
5. You recently did your first show at NYFW, CONGRATS! How was that?
From beginning to end; from planning to the actual show day, it was one of the hardest things besides having my son. I had some very labor some from fabrics that I need to pre-order and then to the day of the show. There is so much planning and detail involved. My plan is to grow into retail, so I wanted pieces to be ready-to-wear. I also try to show as much detail as possible whether it is for just for down the street, or NYFW, I want people to see a good show. It was everything I thought it would be. It was very seamless and so surreal.
6. What inspires your designs? Specifically your Date Night piece (which is clearly popular since it is sold out!), Halleigh, and Myia.
Date Night and Halleigh went right off the runway. The inspiration from this whole line came from straightjackets but with a softness. As women we live up to the “ideas and labels” that society gives us so I wanted to take a perception and twist it. So on the Halleigh the lines like in an insane asylum. The Halleigh also is denim and has all these different parts to it but is still a gorgeous piece. My message towards women is to be whatever you want to be and that not everything has to be perfect and polished to be pretty. There can be some destruction, some unexpected and it is still pretty. Life is beautiful with the imperfections.
The Jackie Jacket is in perriwinkle blue inspired by a strait jacket but you would never guess so it is all about how you make it appear.
The Myia is inspired by that silk and the flowy movement.
7. What else is in store for CR Lee this year and next?
I am going to take a vacation and reflect, I have some opportunities that I am hoping come to fruition. I need to go somewhere with a beach. I’ve got Massif Fashion Week, November 2nd. I am also pushing for retail. I still have my full time job and so I need to do more retail to get this to be a full time so that people can start enjoying it more and faster.
8. When I last spoke with you, you were working on some new pieces, can you describe them to us? (if it is a surprise, I totally get it)
People want to see some black pieces. so there is more black, personally I hate a whole black collection, I love color, I am expanding on the whole inspiration. There are some pieces inspired by the Rorschach test.
9. What would be your advice for someone else who wants to accomplish their dreams just like you have?
I always say the same thing. Just start. There is no formula for accomplishing your dreams, what I do may not work for you. You just have to believe in yourself and start!
10. What advice to you give your son?
Never be afraid. Fear is that one thing that keep people from trying and doing. If it doesn’t kill you, if it doesn’t bodily harm you or others around you. Just try and see what happens.
11. I saw your favorites from your SS17 collection. What are your favorites from your SS18 collection?
You know, it is funny. These pieces are like my children, so I do not really have a favorite and each piece serves a new purpose. For example, with this interview I had the other day, I wore the Janelle jumpsuit. For the Janet Jackson concert I am going to, I feel like the mood would be the jumpsuit. I do not have a favorite because they all represent a mood. The Myia is the one I get the most energy from.
12. Where can people go to find you on social media/ website?
Facebook: CR Lee Designs
Snapchat: CR Lee Designs