Glass meets … the New York-based emerging designer Chris Gelinas

GLASS talks to the Canada-born, New York-based womenswear designer Chris Gelinas  about how he is currently approaching his career in fashion design.

Chris GelinaChris Gelinas with a model wearing one of his designs

Chris Gelina PortraitChris Gelinas

How did you come to start your own line?
I started CG almost three years ago, debuting at NY Fashion Week for Spring ‘14. I dreamed of having my own collection, but spent the first part of my career working at different houses to learn as much as I could from some of my favourite designers.


Chris GelinaA look from Chris Gelinas’ AW16 collection

You worked for many fashion houses such as Marc Jacobs, Proenza Schouler, Balenciaga, and Theyksens’ Theory. How was the experience? Did it help you starting your line?
 feel so fortunate for each of those experiences and they taught me such different things that I draw on every day. The biggest lesson I took from those experiences was to always be irreverent in my vision and always design with conviction.

What made you move to New York?
I visited New York for the first time in high school and I was instant drawn to the energy of the city. I had never felt so at home anywhere else and knew I had to live here.  


Chris Gelina

A look from Chris Gelinas’ AW16 collection

What is the most challenging part to you being a fashion designer in New York?
I think visibility is the biggest hurdle when starting out. There is so much noise and so much stuff, truly the last thing the world needs is another designer, but what is always needs is a point of view. I try not to worry too much about the visibility because at the end of the day if you make something with integrity people will notice.


Chris GelinaA look from Chris Gelinas’ AW16 collection

Compared to other European designers, New York designers seem to focus on customer response and commerce rather than to focus on design creativity. How about you?Do you try to balance creativity with commerce?
I work very closely with my clients and I am always inspired by the way they wear the collection. I think it is so important to keep that connection with the women who wear your clothes, because they will ultimately inform the designs each season. I don’t think in terms of commerciality, I want to give CG women something they didn’t know they wanted and, hopefully, what they can’t live without.

Where do you go for inspiration? What inspires you the most?
I am inspired by so many things I find that each season becomes a puzzle of so many references that eventually synthesise into something totally new.


Chris GelinaA look from Chris Gelinas’ AW16 collection

What makes you different with other designers?
I don’t often think about myself in comparison to other designers. I think real creativity is innate and so personal that it is hard to compare one vision to the next or one design process to another.

Can you tell us about your AW 2016 collection?
My Fall/Winter ‘16 collection was really kind of inspired with this idea going back to something very classically feminine and as a result, thinking about the construction and the quiet intimacy that well-made clothes have with their wear.


Chris GelinaA look from Chris Gelina’s AW16 collection

Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?
I do not even know what I am going to be in next 10 minutes because it has been so crazy. But if I should be so lucky, I would be continuing to work on this collection and building my clients’ trust and having this reason of woman that love the clothe and cannot live without them and just growing that.

I think for me aspirations are not bottom-line driven. They are much more emotionally driven and, as long as I can get up everyday and come in to my work space and be able to create clothes that inspire and transform power of the woman in our world, then that is kind of a dream come true. Everything else beyond that is just icing on a cake.

by Ssam Kim

All photographs: Ssam Kim Hair&Make-up:Yoshie Kubota using MAC Cosmetic Model:Rachel Finninger@DNA Models

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