You would think a Houston designer would have ample locations to do a photo shoot in her hometown, but there’s something about the Austin vibe designer Suzanne B from TropiCouture loves and it immediately puts her in her zen zone.
She recently traveled to Austin and used the backdrop of Laguna Gloria to feature her Spring / Summer Collection 2014 featuring four energetic models. I was at the shoot and found out more about what makes this designer tick and her thoughts about the Austin fashion scene.
For Suzanne, living in the tropics with the lush nature landscape, influenced not only her designs but also her business name…TropiCouture officially started in 2000. Moving to Texas, however, was a cultural adjustment coming from the Aloha state.
“Hawaiian culture and lifestyle and Houston culture and lifestyle are worlds apart and so when I started doing Austin Fashion Week I started exploring Austin and thought this is a lot like Hawaii, it’s like Florida, all the places I’ve lived that I love”, said Suzanne.
While Suzanne and I were getting to know each other a little better (which I like because sometimes fashion shows are not the best way to actually get to “know” a designer) under a shade tree overlooking the water on the Laguna Gloria grounds, I found this former resort wear designer and photographer very inspiring and passionate about her designs and career. Even though she has been designing since she was a child it was photography and painting that started the creative juices going with this accomplished designer.
“My first job out of high school was developing film for a studio. It did influence me because I am a watcher and a painter so for me photography was the transition from being a photographer”, added Suzanne.
After getting married to a man from Great Britian, London became home and she was hired to work for a designer and then an opportunity in Paris would follow. She fell in love with the couture fashion industry where she followed the European way of fashion. An experience she will never forget.
Today her collections feature one very common thread, “I love prints! Prints are awesome and they are flattering to almost everybody, and I love color and that plays right into my strengths and it plays into the tropical sensibilities”, said Suzanne. Old school designers such as Oscar de la Renta, Donatella Versace, Karl Lagerfeld and of course, the queen of prints, Diane von Furstenberg are her inspirational designers of choice.
Who is the TropiCouture girl?, “She is a woman who walks to her own beat and doesn’t mind being the center of attention, she’s confident, she has a life of her own and she’s not afraid to be fashion-forward and outspoken”, added Suzanne.
The Austin fashion scene has changed so much since her first shows at AFW, so what is her opinion where the local fashion industry will be in the next five years?, “From my point of view I see it developing into a national fashion scene.” I couldn’t agree more!!
An lastly, it is always fun to check in on the really important things about a designer…
Cats or dogs? Cats of course!
Favorite junk food? Popcorn Tiramisu, I want them all!
Vacation place of choice? Hawaii or Key West
If I were not a designer I would be…A lawyer.
Thank you to Suzanne for a fun photo shoot day. We hope to see TropiCouture on the runway at Austin Fashion Week in 2015.
See the Fashionably Austin photo gallery from Austin Fashion Week 2014.
See the Fashionably Austin photo gallery from the Laguna Gloria shoot.