A Sarasota native, Camilyn Beth Leavitt is the mastermind behind her classic and romantic clothing line, also named Camilyn Beth. The super-sweet fashion design major showed us around her downtown design studio and showroom (and, let's be honest, a dress may have been purchased). Here, Camilyn reveals a big trend for spring/summer 2017, describes her typical workday and divulges where she derives her design inspiration.
WHO: Camilyn Beth, 30, owner and designer of Camilyn Beth
MY TYPICAL DAY: Most mornings, I wake up around 7 a.m. with my husband and get him out the door for work. Then I head into the studio around 9 a.m. to tackle my inbox and have meetings. This is the time when Nicole, my director of operations, and I go over all the many aspects of the brand.
Around noon, we work on social media by taking photos in the studio or around town. Afternoons, I like to work on new designs. Right now, I'm starting to piece together my spring 2018 collection. I design all the first samples of the new collections by physically sewing and sketching out the collection. I just got back from New York City and have lots of great fabrics that I can’t wait to bring to life.
Later in the afternoon, when my husband gets off work, we go over the business side of Camilyn Beth and plan for the long- and short-term. I use nights and weekends to catch up on anything that has a pressing deadline. We are still in the beginning stages of our business, so I know that using any extra time to work on Camilyn Beth will help us grow faster.
I travel often and attend three markets twice a year in New York, Dallas and Atlanta. This is where we show the latest collection to buyers and get purchase orders for upcoming seasons. Once we receive all our purchase orders from the buyers, we have a gauge on how much to produce for boutiques, our e-commerce website and our showroom in Sarasota. I travel to New York about four times a year to check on manufacturing and to source new fabrics and notions. It’s important to have clear communication with my manufactures so the dresses turn out perfectly.
I also make boutique and pop-up shop visits to spread the brand to new areas. It’s a great way to meet customers and have sales meetings with the associates.
FAVORITE ASPECT ABOUT THE BUSINESS: Designing is absolutely my favorite part of the business. Getting to create something new and special that will make women feel beautiful makes all the hard work and effort worth it. The designs are the core of the business and make all the other aspects of it exciting.
WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR DESIGN INSPIRATION? I get inspiration from past styles from the 1950s to 1970s. I try to design pieces that have been consistent silhouettes throughout the decades. More importantly, I draw inspiration from my customers. I do try to stay on trend, but it’s more important to me to design pieces that can stay in your wardrobe for years to come. The style icons who inspire me are Jackie Kennedy and Audrey Hepburn.
WHAT TRENDS CAN WE EXPECT FOR SPRING/SUMMER 2017? Ruffles! I’m always drawn to ruffles, and it happens to be a big trend for 2017. We have some dresses with ruffles on the sleeves and some with a ruffle off-the-shoulder detail. I am also using sweet pastels, like periwinkle and light pink, mixed with bold pops of color like royal blue and fuchsia
MY STYLE: My personal style is similar to my brand: romantic, classic and all-American.
HOW HAS YOUR STYLE EVOLVED? In my early 20s, I would wear multiple accessories and go all-in with what I was wearing. I would wear fun belts, shoes and jewelry all at once. But as I get older, I prefer to invest in fewer pieces that will last longer. I go for an all-over "look" rather than going overboard with accessories. Right now, I am wearing all of one color or hue. For example, I will go with a chic all-white look, mixing different fabrics and textures all in the same shade. Blush has been on repeat for me lately.
FAVORITE DESIGNERS: Carolina Herrera, Katie Ermilio, Rosie Assoulin, Giambattista Valli and Oscar De La Renta.
WHOSE STYLE INSPIRES YOU? Olivia Palermo, Blair Eadie, Elin King and Natalie Portman.
BEST STYLE TIP: At the end of the day, have fun with your styles and wear what makes you feel most confident. I believe every woman is at her best when she feels confident.
FASHION MANTRA? "Fashion is about dressing according to what's fashionable. Style is more about being yourself." --Oscar de la Renta
MY GO-TO ITEM: Kitten heels! They give me a little lift, and I can move around in them like sneakers.
FAVORITE ITEM IN YOUR COLLECTION RIGHT NOW: The Sinclair dress.
MOST-PRIZED POSSESSION: My engagement ring.
FOR A NIGHT OUT ON THE TOWN: For my 30th birthday party, I wore a little red shift dress, which is from my upcoming summer collection, with a pair of tan mules and red lipstick.
Camilyn is wearing the Camilyn Beth Annie dress, ASOS heels, Madewell earrings, rose gold bracelet, Cluse watch from Influence Style, a platinum and diamond engagement ring and wedding band, rose gold watch (gifted from her husband and inscribed with their wedding date for their five-year anniversary), Glossier balm dotcom lip balm and Glossier pink nail color.
A Florida native, Alicia King Robinson is the director of public relations at Sarasota-based ThreeSixOh Public Relations and the blogger behind New Version of You. Her love of fashion and eye for stylish living began at an early age. Meant to inspire, she explores fashion and the evolution and ever-changing versions of ourselves with style-inspired content.