What do Selena and thick skin have in common? The sophisticated eponymous label Christina Ward where spirit drives every design. With subtle design details and fabrics designed in Austin and made in NYC, the brand channels the spirit of unapologetic femininity and strength with ode to classic fashion and modern minimalism. We chat with Christina about her latest collection, Adelaine, the fashion dialogue, and what it takes to be different.
How and why did you start designing?
I always adored fashion, but what solidified my interest is a funny story. When I was 10, I saw the movie featuring the life of slain Tejano music star, Selena. She expressed her love for fashion and I was completely enamored with her style and spirit. I would experience that passion beyond my admiration for her and started slowly, but surely, with a few pieces being purchased here and there.
What is your design philosophy?
My design philosophy is elegance with a practical sensibility. A lot of the pieces I design may appear simple on the surface, but they all conceal a complexity with subtle elevated details.
How has your design changed over time?
My design has changed by placing an emphasis on the visceral feeling people have when wearing an outfit they are excited about. This is done by meticulously selecting fabrics that feel luxurious and comfortable to the touch. How one feels adds to the overall aesthetic. I find too much embellishment tends to take away from that. Simplicity is a statement on its own.
What inspired your Adelaine collection?
Adelaine is inspired by driven professional women who enjoy their femininity, but don't want to feel burdened by it. It's what feels most comfortable and elegant.
What is your biggest hurdle building a brand today?
We are inundated with social media platforms and tools that imply unlimited access to an infinite amount of customers. However, the funnel has become so crowded and overwhelming that it makes it very challenging for the consumer to discern what they think they like, what they don't like, what they possibly could like, and what they actually want. The competition for the consumer's already limited attention is a balancing act of trying to be the first and providing an impressionable narrative.
What do you think about fashion today?
While fashion has been consistent in reflecting the changing times, it has been through the voices of a selected few. The dialogue needs to be more diverse.
Also, the wholesale model needs to be reevaluated. As recent events have made it apparently clear, the current wholesale model is not sustainable. While no one saw a pandemic coming, it is an opportunity to reassess how much we are producing and how often we are creating new products.
Where do you go and what do you do for inspiration?
Most of my inspiration comes from day-to-day experiences. This could be something as insignificant as seeing the marbled coloring of a piece of fruit's skin or the striking texture of a unique tea kettle.
Any tips and tricks of the trade?
Everyone's journey is different. However, you need a thick skin, stamina, and A LOT of patience in this industry. There are NO tricks, it's good old-fashioned HARD WORK married with modern ingenuity. Within that, there is doing and learning as much as you can from experiences and those who are more knowledgeable, and more skilled than you are. Also, be resilient, failing is inevitable, but your tenacity is a promise of something great. Perfect your comeback strategies!
Shop Christina's Adelaine collection now.