Built By Stacy is a striking and bold brand. A brand whose designer you would think has always been such, but the couture looks we have become accustomed to seeing from Stacy Hogan, were once a little girl’s dream.
“I grew up in a very religious background. And the religious background that we had was called Apostolic. So we were very strict, there were so many things that we couldn’t wear, so many things… looks that we couldn’t have, down to the colors. And it was very… restricting.
Stacy learned how to sew at the very young age of 8 from her mother, and she hasn’t stopped since, going to show that fashion is in her blood. Sewing was the way she expressed herself, and regardless of the “many limitations”, she would still describe her 9 year old self’s designs as “utterly fabulous”.
Maybe it was her Apostolic background that inadvertently shaped Stacy into the nerveless designer that she describes as “that same little girl, but on steroids”. There’s no way of knowing, but we aren’t mad about it.
To Stacy, fashion is powerful because of its ability to change someone’s outlook. When discussing fashion’s power with her further, she spoke as a true designer and lover of fashion.
“Every time you put something together, or put a piece of fabric next to another piece of fabric, you can change your entire mood.” She expressed how a sequined fabric is basically her therapy, as all she needs to do is turn that textile into a pencil skirt, put on some heels, fix her hair, and she goes from “…having a bad day, to ready to rip the sidewalk runway.”
“I don’t do drab. I don’t do basic. I don’t do boring.”
She went on to state how she tries to transpose her own fearlessness onto her clients. Now, It’s no secret the fashion industry has worked hard to manufacture a very specific image when it comes to the kinds of people it celebrates, but Stacy’s specialty is non-traditional sizes, and she is dismantling that archaic stigma, one beautifully constructed garment at a time.
“…a lot of my friends or my clients actually, they say to me that whenever I put on a Built By Stacy piece, I feel like I can conquer the world.”
Although Stacy does have a specialty, she still designs and creates for women of all shapes and sizes, but Stacy herself expressed, “I don’t do drab. I don’t do basic. I don’t do boring.” as if we needed the clarification. Along with those sentiments she shared, it’s not unexpected that she would describe her fashion as “innovative”. She went on to talk about how she loves to take something as simple as a black dress, and transform it into something that is anything but “boring”. She almost speaks as an engineer in a way, as she seems to constantly be trying to better her creations and build upon them to make something even more stylish.
Stacy also feels that designers should not only be able to design for anyone, but be able to build relationships with the people who wear the clothing. She expressed to me, “… we need that human connection… I don’t want to be just a name, a label, and you have no idea what’s going on. I’m not saying that I have to write everyone in America a love letter. But you know, why not? And it’s having that human connection that keeps, for me, fashion alive and well.” She loves to be able to communicate with her clients so she is better able to get a sense of their personality, making sure her designs are as individualized as they can be with that subtle “special touch”. It just goes to show how personal her business is to her, and that it is anything but a frivolous activity.
If you are to look at Stacy’s designs, you will see that her abilities are not constrained to a single category. When it comes to the kind of fashion that she feels best represents her as a designer that has no boundaries, she feels as if ready-to-wear represents her the best because, “…you can be ready-to-wear and fabulous at the same time.” During our conversation she pointed to a shirt-dress that was being worn by a mannequin and stated how her design could be dressed up or down, and that it’s a garment that doesn’t require relatively any work to be stylish.
When it comes to the future of Built By Stacy, she hopes to expand her business to the point that it’s “known” by a larger audience and becomes more accessible. She expressed though that the possibility of her business expanding, will not result in a lack of personability with her clients and personality with her designs. She would love to have her garments carried in boutiques, have a signature look, but still be able to give her already dedicated clientele the Built By Stacy garments they have come to love.
“… we need that human connection…”
The conversation with Stacy was an easy and relaxed one as she has this calm, but intentional matriarchal presence. She is undoubtedly a fashion designer with a prowess for business, and a vision that is not only clear, versatile, and according to Stacy, “Built with you in mind.”
We at Indiana Fashion Foundation and Indiana Fashion Week are looking forward to seeing her designs grace our runway later this month.