Erin Roby: Best Student Designer


The line: The Ballard-based designer, who also holds a master’s degree in urban planning, uses one word to sum up her debut line, “edited.” It’s a well-chosen adjective: Roby’s jackets contain simple yet strong details such as cowl pockets or shoulders, leather collar work to accent her copper wool duster and the dramatically flared tuxedo coat with a nipped waist. “It’s just one word, but that’s very reflective of my approach: simple and polished, making a statement without shouting.”

Creative spark: “This is going to sound very academic, but my designs come from a sense of place,” says the 28-year-old, full-time NYFA student, who wowed judges with her sleek blazers, executive-ready dresses and polished separates, such as wool wide-leg trousers. “Being in the city, I draw a lot of influence from urban architecture. The light is different here, with its grays and moody charcoals.”

Her muse: “I design for thinking women; women who go about their lives with purpose, whether that’s in a professional capacity, with their families or just in their attitude. I think of the Erin Roby woman as someone who runs her own life.”

Mission statement: “Personally, I’m hoping to find the balance between art and commerce, how to be both experimental and artistic with my designs, but to still make clothing that people want to wear. Designing clothes is very different than, say, industrial design. It’s not all about the product; people take on clothing as part of their identity.”

Biggest fashion faux pas: “Where do I start? I did attempt to make a dress for a formal; mind you, I didn’t know how to sew and now that I think back on it, it was quite slutty actually. It had a corset top, no lining and was so short I couldn’t sit in it. I’m horrified now.”

First garment ever created: “It was in eighth-grade home economics class, back when they actually taught home ec! They taught us to sew, and I made a pair of boxer shorts in a chile-pepper-print cotton.”

Line: Erin Roby

School: New York Fashion Academy, Class of 2012

Find it:

Clothing pictured (From left to right): Black wool/gazar flared jacket layered over an ivory silk georgette raglan dress with contrasting wool/silk bodice and sleeves; copper wool raglan duster with leather collar, cuff and waistline piping. Roby wears her own designs, a black Italian wool shawl collar smoking jacket with silk crepe side cowl and pockets, paired with black lambskin suede shorts with angled front pockets and back invisible zipper closure; top, tights, boots and accessories are her own. Ivory rayon side cowl tank with contrasting band collar and back exposed zipper atop wool/silk trousers with side seam pockets and back invisible zipper closure.


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