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Q&A with Isabella Anselmi

Isabella Anselmi

The daughter of Overland Footwear owner Shane Anselmi tells us about her fashionable life as a student at Parsons design school in New York.

Why did you decide to pursue fashion as a career?

Fashion has always been part of my life, growing up with my parents running their business, we travelled a lot as a family and I was always exposed to fashion in different parts of the world. I’ve always loved the collaborative and tranformative nature of fashion, and so when I was looking for a creative field to enter, it seemed like the perfect fit.

Can you tell us about your course at Parsons?

My course at Parsons is incredibly hands on, as a student you’re taught the fundamentals of garment construction and then really challenged to explore and experiment with your ideas to develop your own style. The days in the studio are very long, but the work is so enjoyable and its amazing to see your work coming together.

As you progress the school encourages you to intern, and I’ve had friends intern for the likes of The Row, Altuzarra, Alexander Wang and Prada to name a few. The school really encourages you to take your learning outside the classroom.


What are your career goals?

At this stage, to just continue to work and live in New York! I’m learning so much more than I could ever have anticipated just being surrounded by so many leaders and experimenters within the industry. They are all so incredibly collaborative, really willing to champion people starting out in the industry who are willing to work hard.

I really enjoy styling and collaborating with the people I meet in the industry, and I’m just looking to grow my skillset and knowledge at this stage.

What trends are you  loving this season? 

Layers! I love adding mens wear pieces into an outift to give it an edge. Try layering an oversized vintage denim jacket over a long silk trench.

Isabella's NYC apartment

Who’s your style icon?

In general I’m most inspired by the people I see on the streets of New York. Being such a melting pot, it’s a city where absolutely anything goes. You see people walking down the street who are dishevelled and look like the’ve been wearing the same outfit for 3 days, juxtaposed with some of the most elegant put together creations you will ever encounter, and they look equally encapturing.

Other than that, Grace Coddington always looks amazing, the emphasis always on the simplicity of the outfit, letting the cut speak for itself. And of course, that hair!

What advice would you give someone who’s keen to study fashion?

Honestly I would say experimentation and curiosity is key! So much of my inspiration comes from outside the realms of the fashion world like art, travel, just my daily interactions with people. Continuing to explore things outside of fashion that interest you will really help you add a unique element to your work, and building a network of people around you who really inspire you is so important. Most of my internships and styling work has happened through friends and aquaintances within the industry.

When you get the chance to work with people you admire and who have a massive amount of talent, work as hard as you can and learn as much as you can from them. They have a wealth of unrivaled knowledge about the industry and so much of your schooling will be in these moment, so make the most of them!

What are your clothing staples at uni?

I tend to wear a lot of neutral colours and stick to simplistic and masculine silhouettes. I love in men’s blazers, leather jackets, vintage denim with the odd draped silk shirt to add a femine touch. When I’m at school in the studio, comfort comes first for me which is why I tend to favour slouchier masculine looks.

What would we find if we took a peek in your handbag?

As little as possible! You never know where you’re going to end up after work in the city, so I try to pack as lightly as possible. If I can get a way with it I stick to my phone, wallet and my all time favourite rosebud salve!

What was your last clothing purchase?

A pair of $15 vintage Levi 501’s. I live in them. Other than that, my roommate gave me an amazing pair of hand painted Proenza Schouler jeans that are out of this world.

What’s your most treasured item of clothing?

My Balenciaga sheerling aviator jacket (full disclosure, this is actually something I pilfered from my mother!). It has the most incredible shape and structure to it, and as the patchwork leather on it becomes more worn it looks even better. This is one I will still be wearing when I’m 90!

What are your top tips for anyone taking a trip to NYC?

Live like a local! Skimp on the accommodation and find something cheaper on airbnb or a hostel, and use that money to eat and drink like a king here. The restaurants and bars are incredible and you always end up meeting some great New York characters.

Stay somewhere close to a subway stop, always ask the locals for their recommendations in the area and don’t feel pressured into visiting all the tourist spots while you’re here, the real New York is the people and the character filled streets.


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