Erin Nesmith: Crafting Empowerment Through Fashion and Art

In the captivating world of fashion and artistic expression, Erin Nesmith stands tall as a beacon of creativity and empowerment. A luminary in the industry, she began as an artist (painter) and then as a lingerie designer, weaving threads of elegance and confidence through her intricate designs. Over time, her canvas expanded beyond the vivid strokes of a canvas, and began infusing her designs with a unique blend of artistry and fashion.

However, Erin’s passion transcends the mere aesthetics of clothing and canvas. It delves into a deeper purpose rooted in uplifting women and advocating for mental health and body positivity. Her profound dedication to the cause led her to cultivate a platform that transcends conventional fashion narratives. With each stitch and silhouette, Erin weaves stories of strength, resilience, and the celebration of individuality. Her collections resonate as more than just garments; they echo a narrative of empowerment, amplifying the beauty of being unapologetically oneself.

As Rochester Woman Online Magazine presents its annual holiday gift guide, Erin Nesmith graces the cover—a testament to her unwavering commitment to elevating women through her artistry and fashion prowess. Her vision extends beyond the realm of design; it’s a powerful movement that speaks volumes about embracing authenticity and self-assurance. Erin Nesmith’s story embodies a fusion of creativity and advocacy, inspiring countless individuals to embrace their uniqueness and walk confidently along their own path.

Could you share a bit about your background and journey into the world of fashion design?
My journey in designing began as an artist(painter) with a passion for embracing the female form. I eventually merged my love for art and fashion by designing a collection of lingerie and art that was inspired by different art historical periods. Starting as a lingerie designer allowed me to explore the intricate balance between sensuality and confidence in women. This inspired me to start designing formal womenswear which is now at the forefront of my brand!

My devotion to empowering women goes beyond fashion. I’ve made it my mission to raise awareness about mental health and body positivity, creating a platform that uplifts women through every stitch and silhouette. With each collection, I’m not just designing clothes; I’m crafting a narrative that speaks to strength, resilience, and the beauty of being unapologetically yourself.

As a couture fashion designer, what elements or aspects do you find most captivating or unique in this industry?
Without a doubt, what captivates me most about the fashion industry is the extraordinary ability to not only forecast prevailing trends but also infuse them with my distinctive, creative flair, thus birthing entirely new trends. This process is an intricate dance between my keen understanding of the existing fashion landscape and my innate creativity to reimagine it.

Your brand, Erin Nesmith, signifies stepping into one’s purpose. Could you elaborate on the inspiration behind this mission?
The inspiration behind the mission of Erin Nesmith as a brand that signifies stepping into one’s purpose is deeply rooted in a personal journey of self-discovery and empowerment. Growing up, I navigated the twists and turns of life, facing moments of self-doubt and uncertainty. It was during these times that I found solace and strength in the world of fashion.
Fashion, for me, became more than just a form of expression; it evolved into a transformative tool, a means to embrace individuality and celebrate personal strength. The mission emerged from the profound belief that every individual has a unique purpose and a story that deserves to be told. It’s about acknowledging that fashion is not just about clothing; it’s a powerful language that can articulate one’s identity, values, and aspirations.

The mission is not a mere slogan; it’s a commitment to creating a brand that goes beyond the surface, beyond trends and aesthetics. It’s about crafting designs that resonate with the diverse narratives of the women who wear them. The garments become a canvas for self-expression, an embodiment of strength, resilience, and the beauty that exists in every woman.

Among the materials you work with, do you have a favorite to design with? If so, what draws you to that particular material?
While I appreciate the diverse qualities of each material, I find velvet to be my favorite to design with. Velvet, to me, is the epitome of beauty, luxury, and timelessness. Its rich history dates back centuries, with origins in Eastern cultures where it was considered a symbol of prestige and nobility. The intricate weaving process creates a soft, sumptuous fabric with a unique sheen that catches the light, adding a touch of opulence. Throughout history, velvet has adorned royalty and played a significant role in the world of fashion, representing both elegance and extravagance. Its enduring appeal lies in its ability to evoke a sense of sophistication and glamor, making it a timeless choice for creating luxurious and statement pieces.

Could you describe the contrast between participating in a pageant as a contestant and serving as a judge in a pageant?
As a contestant, the experience was about showcasing my individuality. Serving as a judge shifted the focus to evaluating and appreciating the varied expressions of beauty, drawing from my own experience of walking that path. Being on both sides of the table has given me a new insight and appreciation for pageants. I now know firsthand how it feels to be in front and behind the judge’s table with the timed pressure to get the perfect questions and answers out.

What was the most rewarding part of the experience for you?
The most rewarding aspect was witnessing my growth in confidence and self-expression. I competed against 184 contestants and my confidence did not waiver once. I worked hard to prepare for the pageant to show up as the best version of myself. There was nothing more I could do other than be authentically myself. It reaffirmed my belief in the transformative power of embracing one’s uniqueness and the positive impact it can have on an individual’s journey.

Within your collections, do you have a favorite design? What makes it stand out to you?
While every design is cherished, my favorite design is the 2023 Grammy gown I designed and made for fashion model, Grace Modi. I loved the creativity of fusing our ideas and coming up with such a beautiful gown. The velvet and hand beading on the gown were exquisite.

Your designs are personalized for each client. Could you share an experience working with a favorite client and what made it special?
Each one of my client experiences is special. I would leave any specific one out as a favorite as each client is a unique experience. What makes an experience special is crafting a design that reflects the client’s personality and style, and the joy and excitement I receive when they witness and try on the final masterpiece. That is the best part about being a designer.

What emotions or thoughts ran through your mind the first time you witnessed your designs on a runway?
Witnessing my designs on the runway for the first time was a surreal moment, a tangible realization of the depth of my talent. It was like seeing my imagination come to life, each stitch and silhouette embodying the creative visions that once existed solely in my mind. The runway became a transformative stage, affirming my capabilities and emphasizing the power of translating ideas into tangible, breathtaking pieces. It was a profound confirmation that my journey as a fashion designer was not just a pursuit but a genuine expression of artistry and skill.

How do you balance creativity and practicality when creating one-of-a-kind pieces for individual clients?
Balancing creativity and practicality involves understanding the client’s style deeply, infusing unique design elements, and ensuring the garment aligns seamlessly with their event goals. It’s about creating pieces that are both expressive and functional.

What are some of the challenges you face when customizing designs to reflect a client’s personality and style?
The challenge lies in accurately interpreting a client’s vision. Effective communication and a deep understanding of their preferences are crucial to ensuring the final design resonates authentically with their personality and style.

Can you discuss the fusion of tradition and innovation in your design process?
The fusion involves drawing inspiration from cultural elements and infusing them with modern design techniques. It’s about creating timeless pieces that carry a sense of heritage while remaining relevant in contemporary fashion, striking the balance between tradition and innovation.

How do you ensure that your creations reflect both the brand’s identity and the client’s individuality?
Achieving this balance involves a collaborative design process. This is achieved through an authentic process where I draw inspiration from within, molding the vision to seamlessly intertwine with the client’s desires. It’s about staying true to my creative roots while tailoring each piece to resonate uniquely with the wearer.

In your opinion, what are the key elements that elevate a design from being fashionable to being timeless?
Crafting timeless designs is an art of construction and an embrace of versatility. It’s about creating pieces that stand the test of time, transcending fleeting trends and becoming cherished staples in a wardrobe. Timelessness, to me, is intricately linked with quality, so I prioritize using the finest fabrics and innovative sewing techniques in my creations. This approach ensures that each piece is not just a passing trend but a lasting symbol of enduring style and craftsmanship.

Could you share a memorable or significant moment that profoundly impacted your career as a fashion designer?
Experiencing my design on the Grammy red carpet was an unforgettable and significant moment in my career. Witnessing my creation stand out among designs from renowned designers was a surreal and proud realization of how far I’ve come. It was a moment of validation, affirming the unique voice and perspective I bring to the fashion industry. The Grammys provided a prestigious platform, and having my design in that spotlight marked a defining moment that fueled my determination to continue pushing boundaries and creating impactful designs.

As someone who believes in stepping into one’s purpose, how do you infuse this philosophy into your design principles?
Stepping into one’s purpose is not just a philosophy; it’s the heartbeat of Erin Nesmith’s design principles. As a designer, my commitment to empowerment goes beyond the aesthetics of clothing. It’s about infusing every stitch with a narrative of strength, resilience, and self-discovery. Each design becomes a canvas, reflecting the fusion of adventure, elegance, and the unyielding spirit of women.

This philosophy is an intentional convergence of my passions and purpose. It’s about crafting pieces that not only make a fashion statement but also resonate with the wearer on a personal level. Fashion has the power to be transformative, and through Erin Nesmith, I aim to inspire women to embrace their uniqueness and embark on their journeys of self-discovery. The brand is a celebration of the remarkable fusion of adventure, fashion, and the indomitable spirit of women.

What advice would you give to aspiring designers looking to establish their unique brand and style in the fashion industry? 

My advice is to stay true to your unique voice, draw inspiration from your journey, and relentlessly pursue your vision. Authenticity is key in establishing a brand and style that resonates with both the creator and the audience.

How important is sustainability to you in your design process, and how do you incorporate it into your brand’s ethos?
Sustainability is a fundamental principle in my design process, and I actively incorporate it into the ethos of Erin Nesmith. I am committed to minimizing the environmental impact of my creations by choosing sustainable materials, implementing eco-friendly production practices, and promoting ethical craftsmanship. This commitment aligns with the evolving values of conscious consumers and reflects a deeper responsibility towards the planet and future generations. I believe that incorporating sustainability into my brand is not just a choice but a necessity to contribute positively to the fashion industry and the world at large.

Looking ahead, what future aspirations or projects do you have for Erin Nesmith that you’re excited about?
The future holds exciting prospects for Erin Nesmith, including expanding collaborations, launching new collections, and further integrating fashion with impactful initiatives that transcend globally.