Creatives in Conversation: Emily Phillips, Fashion Designer
We are excited to launch a new blog series titled Creatives in Conversation! The mission behind this blog series is to introduce and celebrate fellow female creatives and entrepreneurs that also happen to be ExVoto clients.
Meet Emily Phillips.
Emily Phillips and I met when I invited her to hold a trunk show of her boyfriend shirts and shirt dresses in our Nashville showroom. We may not have a showroom in Nashville at the moment, but Emily and I have kept in touch! I love a shirt dress and Emily has the best fitting one I have ever found. She recently released a maxi shirt dress with these great side slits and it has my name all over it! I cannot wait to get mine in the mail! You may think a shirt dress is only for the preppy girls, but I have to tell you that Emily is about the coolest girl I know who can take a boyfriend shirt in white oxford cloth, pair it with black jeans and black boots and make it look like the most cool, edgy, “why didn’t I think to wear it that way” look!
Elizabeth: “What is your background?”
Emily: “Well, I honestly worked every position at the GAP! When you fold that many items at the GAP, and you are still in the fashion field years later, you know you really love fashion! I was allowed to work at a really young age. I think I may have even been younger than 15. My very first job was at The Limited standing outside on the sidewalk in the 90 degree heat of early fall in a puffer coat passing out flyers. I went on to school for fashion merchandising. I was in school in London for a semester and there I learned how to sew. I loved it. I knew I couldn’t draw, and at the time, you had to have lots of different skills in your box. During an internship at Seventeen magazine I was able to see and touch all the clothing of these young emerging designers. They would send their garments in to Seventeen hoping to get editorial coverage, and it was my job to package it all back up and send it back. After school I worked in a small boutique back in my hometown of Memphis then got a job as the buyer for the huge department store, James Davis. I took a break when I had a baby. After a divorce, I was trying to figure out what I was going to do to get a career going again and I knew I wasn’t going back to the GAP! The former VP of James Davis asked me to design a shirt dress to compliment his custom tailored suits company. We started making custom, made-to-measure shirt dresses. After lots of these dresses, a pattern emerged that would work for lots of women. I knew I wanted to make these in the USA, and I moved out on my own as Emily Phillips.
Elizabeth: “What is your favorite part of your job?”
Emily: “I love trunk shows. I sell wholesale, and on our website, but I get the greatest feedback from clients at trunk shows when I can see the product on the woman’s body and I can see what works and also what maybe needs to change. I am an extrovert and I would not be happy sitting behind a computer all day. I’m a people-person.”
Elizabeth: “What is the most interesting commission you have been given?”
Emily: “Before I began the shirt dresses, I was a stylist for a while. Right when the band, The Lumineers, hit it big overnight, their manager contacted me and needed a stylist to outfit everyone for the Grammy awards nominations announcement ceremonies which were taking place that next day! I called designers in New York and they hustled for me getting things shipped out overnight. It was a huge production to get everything where it needed to be that fast. I even had to give my engagement ring to a UPS driver to hold as collateral while I ran back into my hotel for a check when a shipment came COD unexpectedly! I think I kissed him, too.”
Elizabeth: “Where do you dream of taking your brand?”
Emily: “I would love to see the line expand. I don’t think there are many people in my space and I think I’m doing things better. I see every piece that goes out. My hand touches each piece and I keep developing, watching the quality and improving materials. My goal is to make women feel pretty and confident with the ease of one dress.”
Elizabeth: “What advice would you give your 20 year-old self?”
Emily: “I don’t think anyone realizes what a day in my life really looks like. There isn’t much glamour. Maybe I would advise to go design or sell for a designer first.”
Elizabeth: “What is your favorite piece of ExVoto?”
Emily: “I love the ExVoto story. I love how you can take a basic outfit and if you have the right jewelry on you can take that outfit anywhere! The right necklace can change a whole outfit. I like that you can take ExVoto and stack it, layer it, and change it up with different pendants. ExVoto can be worn by every generation and you can wear it funky or pretty and classic. Jewelry makes women feel pretty.”
Learn more about Emily and her brand HERE!