In this series on The Southern C, readers get to “meet” many of the interesting and creative Southern entrepreneurs we know online through our social network and also in “real life” at The Southern C Summits. These individuals are the CEO’s, founders, creative directors, artists, designers, makers and doers that are shaping our landscape with their vision and ingenuity. Take a peek into their day to day life, find out what they are working on, discover their “a-ha” moment and gain insight into what motivates and inspires their work and lives.
The subjects and their niche may vary but many share the paradoxical traits of creative individuals – they daydream, observe, ask big questions, people watch, seek new experiences, view life as an opportunity for self-expression, take risks and bounce back all while following their true passions. We hope you will be inspired as we spotlight the creativity that abounds in our region. According to Einstein, “Creativity is contagious”, and this is one thing we are happy to spread.
Danielle Mason Hosker is an entrepreneur in the truest sense of the word! I first met her at The Southern C Summit a couple of years ago when she was involved with her home interiors brands Antage Bleu™ and Baby Bleu™. Since that time, the seasoned domestic manufacturer and online retailer has come full circle to join her family’s heritage in the apparel industry with the launch of women’s designer dress label, Mason Hosker.
Her designs seek to celebrate the strength, femininity and grace of the all-mighty woman with its decadent fabrication, timeless silhouettes, exquisite detailing and pop of drama. As Danielle says “There’s power in femininity: You can appreciate a ruffle and still take the world by storm.” To that we add a resounding amen!
Describe your brand/business:
Mason Hosker is a designer dress label and eveningwear line that celebrates the strength, femininity and grace of the almighty woman. Mason Hosker is proud to be made in NYC’s Garment District.
I was sourcing gorgeous fabric from all over for my interiors company that we weren’t able to use and was literally waking myself up at night designing dresses in my head. I took a huge leap and designed a collection, shot a lookbook and hit the road to get feedback from stores. On a Friday, I showed the line to Carla at Vermillion in Raleigh who gave me the courage to fly to DC on Monday and show the line to LaShae at Saks Jandel. LaShae made a call and the next day I was in New York showing the line to Jodi Sandman at Crescala.
My life forever changed in those 3 business days thanks to those 3 amazing women. Mason Hosker was signed to Crescala (brilliant showroom in NYC—our amazing merchandising and sales team) and 6 months later we officially launched with our Spring 2016 collection!
Describe your typical day as a clothing designer:
A typical day usually starts with me hopping a flight to NYC from Atlanta or Charleston, dropping luggage at my studio in SoHo, and jumping on a train to the Garment District for meetings and fittings. The first stop is usually at the patternmaker’s for tweaks and corrections followed by a muslin or market sample fitting with the fit model and a merchandising meeting with Jodi and the Crescala team.
Then there’s always the in-between meeting schlep to grab lace samples, a better zipper, pull color samples, see new fabrics, run buttons by the sample maker; etc. At the end of the workday, I usually like to walk home to SoHo, let the adrenaline settle and take it all in. And, of course, there’s nothing better than dinner with friends after a crazy day—except, of course, the days I get to fly home and have dinner with my husband and son.
What did you want to be when you grew up and how has your background influenced your work?
I wanted to be a soap opera actress! No Oscar or Emmy ambitions in my childhood—I just wanted to be on General Hospital.
I’ve been a dancer and choreographer for a large part of my life so the female form and spirit are very near and dear to my heart. I moved from designing for the stage to designing and manufacturing for interiors—a different stage so to speak– and that was a good foundation for designing and manufacturing apparel.
It’s very interesting how similar creating and producing shows and dance concerts are to creating and producing a fashion line. There’s definitely a very balletic aesthetic to my designs. I’m very much driven to create pieces that resonate with an audience and captivate, that can stand the test of time, that have beautiful lines with a little pop of drama and that convey that brilliant contradiction of strength and grace.
Favorite business tool?
Instagram! It’s such a great way to see the world from anywhere—on a train, waiting for a plane—it’s a candy store for visual people and it’s an incredible tool to connect. I’ve enjoyed it personally but look forward to becoming more proficient at it professionally.
Where do you find inspiration?
Traveling—it feeds my soul! I have wanderlust. I take it all in and soak up the people, the sights, the architecture, the food, the color. It all comes back out in interesting ways later when I put pen to paper.
The rare day off – what do you do to unwind?
When I’m in Charleston there’s nothing I like better than just rambling around downtown with Bob and Jacks with no agenda, no destination and no deadline in mind. Antiquing, getting lost in a book and dining out with friends are also at the top of the love list.
Best business advice?
“Nothing in this world worth having comes easy.”
Whitney Wise Long, co-founder of The Southern C and The Southern C Summit, loves to connect with Southern entrepreneurs and learn more about their creative endeavors.
This series – “In the Studio With” – offers her the perfect opportunity to do so!
For more of Whitney’s Southern Creatives Q&A’s click the names below: