My La Miniatura designer interview with Jeffrey Sebelia from Project Runway was my “must have” meeting at Playtime Paris. When I first saw the La Miniatura collection at ENK in New York I knew this is “the kids brand to watch” with it’s sophisticated designs, and use of unique fabrics. La Miniatura quickly has become my favorite brand from the USA.
And I’m not the only one who loves the La Miniatura collection. Since its launch in March 2011, La Miniatura is stocked by leading department stores including Barneys, Bergdorf Goodman, Bloomingdales, Neiman Marcus and many more children’s boutiques worldwide.
La Miniatura designer Jeffrey Sebelia’s story is both inspiring and fascinating. Jeffrey himself is quite a celebrity with an interesting past from his successful rock band Lifter in the 90s, to his triumphant clothing line Cosa Nostra coveted by celebrities, and most notably, his storied win of season three of the Bravo series Project Runway.
So when did Jeffrey decide to start a kids brand? During a discussion between Jeffrey and business partner Melissa about the challenge to finding cool, chic clothes for their sons. So together they started La Miniatura – a collection drawn from the late 70’s to early 80’s post-punk re-interpreted through the lens of current trends and classic details for kids.
When questioned about the line’s lush red and black velvet suits, plaid blazers and sophisticated trench coats and sweaters compared to the easy-in easy-out sweat pants moms are begrudgingly forced to stick their boys in today, Jeffrey’s only reply — “I just want my kid to be able to dress with some dignity!”
Interview with Jeffrey Sebelia
“I got into fashion 13 years ago as a career change from production design. I just decided to go back to school and see how I liked it. After two semesters I made a collection, won an award, and have been doing this for 13 years.
It’s been amazing – talk about finding your calling. Because I was a production designer and loved design, but didn’t like the movie industry. And I was always fascinated with fashion.
My fourth year in fashion is when I decided to try out for project runway. I did season three about eight years ago, and won. That just added so much more to my business, it’s unbelievable. I can make a collection and I immediately have people that will look at it, and give me feedback. And I don’t have to knock on as many doors.
So we started La Miniatura with the boys collection, because at the time we saw there was this hole is the market for boys clothes that we thought were more fashion-forward, and better for boys.
Our Boys Spring Summer 2014 Collection is all about colors and prints. When I’m looking at the lookbook some of my favorites are this tie-die that we created on soft linen. We have these floral beachy fabrics. I also love mixing plaid with stripes and solids.
Here’s the first tie-die suit we did. It actually looks like clouds which was a success, and we’re doing it again in the Fall. And this is my son by the way who’s modeling here in the lookbook.
The Spring Summer 2014 Girls Collection is very print driven. For Spring and Summer you wear less clothes, without a lot of layers. So I think prints are really important. For example you have this chambray and printed Chiffon, and more printed silks that I just love.
Here you see a tie-die effect that we make in a light jacket and skirt with tulle.
Our prints go beyond flowers, you’ll also find prints with birds, butterflies, feathers, geometric shapes, and I also love stripes. These nature prints were also really popular for Spring.
During the photo shoots we always go back and forth with the issue of make-up. How much make-up should we put on the girls? We get parents who say maybe the make-up is a little bit too heavy. But the one thing that we found is that when you speak to every single girl in the chair getting her hair and makeup done for the shoot – they are so happy. They just enjoy feeling special and being treated special and going through the whole process. When I look at the lookbook I love knowing that at the shoot they had such a great time.”
(Video credit: Bravo’s Project Runway Season 3 Finale. Photo credit: La Miniatura).