Ashley Ashoff's silk scarves combine Old World charm with New World dreaminess. Grab one for yourself at BettyConfidential Shop!
-The Betty Editors, BettyConfidential.com
Designer Ashley Ashoff is a woman of the world. Ashley was born in Northern California and is currently based in Paris (with stops in Southern California and New York along the way), and her beautiful silk scarves reflect all the best parts of her travels: European glamor, New York sophistication, and Californian dreaminess. She founded her company, the Ashley Ashoff Design House, in the summer of 2005 with an eye to create a unique product no other designer was making. Scarves, you see, have stories. They can be art, they can be heirlooms, and they can be as precious as any jewel. Be sure to snap up one of Ashley's gorgeous scarves in our exclusive flash sale at BettyConfidential Shop before they're all gone!
We got the chance to sit down with Ashley and chat with her about her inspiration, her favorite fashion memories, her dreams for the future, and more!
BettyConfidential: What does "fashion" mean to you?
Ashley Ashoff: Fashion to me is anyone who accomplishes putting colors, designs, and shapes together to reflect their taste and their current state of mind.
BC: Where do you turn for inspiration?
AF: The majority of my inspirations come from nature, travels, literature, and art.
BC: What's your motto in life?
AF: Think positive!
BC: How would you describe your personal style?
AF: I would describe my personal style as a combination of the glamour and sophistication of Old World Europe with the breeziness and dreaminess of California.
BC: What is your first fashion memory?
AF: My first fashion memory was when I was 2 years old. My parents took me for the first time to a department store to go Christmas shopping. I looked up at my dad from the stroller and said, "Take me to the diamonds". The sales person let me try on all of the jewelry in the display, and my eyes were immediately drawn to the glitz of the Judith Leiber clutches.
Ashley Ashoff's Baudelaire scarf, available at BettyConfidential Shop.
BC: When did you develop a passion for fashion?
AF: My passion for fashion started at a very young age with the classic romantic film My Fair Lady. I fell in love with the style Givenchy created for Audrey Hepburn in that role. Fashion was simply part of my nature. I feel particularly partial to certain memories I have of my athletic background. I started playing soccer at the age of 8 and later played Division 1 at Cornell. I also played for three years on the Lacrosse National Team. I could not help but match my socks to my shoes, to my shorts, to my t-shirts to even the ribbon in my hair, which inevitably became a fad on my team. There had to be symmetry and color coordination. I was late regularly to my practices because I was too busy choosing my outfit. "Ash, hurry up, it's only soccer practice not a fashion show" is what I commonly heard.
BC: Tell us about your designs and your line of scarves - how did you start? why scarves?
AF: I am the creator of a luxurious brand of silk scarves called Ashley Ashoff. I hand-paint silk scarves for men and women in my atelier on my family's resort property in Northern California called Vichy Springs Resort. I think of scarves like pieces of fine jewelry - as heirlooms. A scarf is timeless and accessorizes any outfit from season to season. It is a fashion investment that never goes out of style. I enjoy the art of silk painting. I don't work in a controlled manner. My designs are very free-spirited and romantic. I like to think of my scarves as the haute-couture of scarves, as I often custom make them for clients. Scarves allow you to accessorize any ensemble from day to night. A scarf is extremely versatile. In my personal opinion I don't think there are any rules on how to wear a scarf. You can play with it and make it work with whatever you are wearing. Scarves allow you to go from casual to chic. I am sure I was subconsciously very inspired by French women who often have a scarf on them at all times. I started designing scarves in 2005 when one of my best clients in California knew that I did textile design and requested a silk scarf to match an outfit custom made by a French designer for a New Years' Gala. I was excited by the idea of customizing a scarf for a special occasion. I realized that this is something I could commercialize and that would be a niche market in the fashion world. My designs are romantic yet abstract. There is a harmony about them that is unique.
BC: What inspired you to become a designer?
AF: Both of my parents are entrepreneurs and well-traveled. The education I received from them was to think for myself and to not be afraid of taking risks in life. They have definitely inspired me to be an entrepreneur and be creative. I was also very influenced by Audrey Hepburn films at a very early age. I had a deep appreciation for the incredibly elaborate designs Givenchy would create for her. I was and still am fascinated by her persona on and off the camera. She seemed to be a truly good person and that her fame never fazed her. It just gave her more reason to give back. My grandmother is an artist and taught me to paint when I was very young. I would spend a year thinking of a costume I would want to wear for Halloween, and my grandmother and I would create this extraordinarily elaborate costume. One year I was Ariel from The Little Mermaid, and we actually hand-painted three toned sparkly fish scales onto the long skirt and a detachable tale completely hand-painted as well. My mother is also very creative and she makes everything she touches look beautiful.
BC: Who would you say you got your sense of style from?
AF: I got my sense of style from my mother. She has inspired me to be the woman I am today.
BC: Your favorite fashion memory or big break?
AF: My favorite fashion memory was when I was 19 years old and I met Jim Goldstein in a taxi in Paris. I was desperate for a taxi in the rain during fashion week, and I knocked on his taxi window and asked if I could share the taxi as I assumed he was going to the same place seeing the way he was dressed. He said sure. I had no intention of actually entering the show, but I just wanted to take in the atmosphere and see what it was all about. After all I was in Paris during fashion week and didn't want to miss out. We had a nice conversation and then went our separate ways. He was nice enough to try and get me in as his guest, but without an invitation, it was impossible. I waited with all of the journalists pushing and shoving just watching all of these fabulously stylish people walking into the show. I had goose bumps, and I still get goose bumps to this day.
All of a sudden they were closing the doors and one of the security guards points to me and motions me to come to the door. I come to the door and he lets me in and says enjoy the show. There were 100s of people standing outside and he just randomly pointed to me and said come on in. I was so excited and overwhelmed I hugged the French security guard. My heart was racing and I couldn't run up the red carpet stair case fast enough. It was in an old French theater. It was a spectacular show. The models walked down the runway and when they got to the end of the catwalk they twirled and different color glitter flew into the air. The dresses all appeared to be black and when they shook their dresses they became a different color as the glitter went into the air. I cried. I knew right then and there this is where I belong. I had left a thank you card for Jim Goldstein at the hotel where he was staying. I left my contact information and the next day he called me and invited me to see Tom Ford's first collection for YSL. I was beside myself. I asked permission from my teacher to miss class to attend the show. I wore my fanciest outfit and joined him for the show at the Rodin Museum which was lit up in purple. I was introduced to Tom Ford after the show standing beside him and Cate Blanchett. I was star struck. Tom Ford was charming and wished me the best of luck in my career.
My big break was being featured in WWD in 2007. International buyers and press contacted me after the article was published for several months.
BC: What are your dreams for the future?
AF: To have healthy children.
BC: How would you describe your personality?
AF: I am a sensitive, creative person with a big heart. I really enjoy life. I am a hopeless romantic whose fairytale came true. I am an extremely feminine and dignified woman but if you know me well, there is part of me that is still very much a little girl that can be incredibly silly. I am ambitious, motivated, and determined. I am very observant. I am patient. I respect people from all walks of life. I try and treat people the way I would like to be treated. I try to look at everything in life with a positive attitude. I have a lot of gumption and a lot of passion. I am also extremely empathetic.
BC: Any advice you'd like to give to aspiring designers?
AF: Never stop believing in yourself and your dreams.
Stay true to yourself and persevere.
BC: What's your idea of happiness?
AF: My idea of perfect happiness is being with my family.
Ashley's scarves are currently available on BettyConfidential Shop. Go on and grab one for yourself!
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