Young designer makes splash in fashion industry

From Los Angeles movie sets to Royal Caribbean Cruise Line’s catwalks, Tiffe Fermaint has experienced a wide variety of accomplishments in her ten years as a fashion designer.

Fermaint, 26, is an independent fashion designer and stylist based out of Phoenix and Los Angeles. Fermaint is celebrating her tenth year this week by competing for Scottsdale’s Fashion Week Designer of the Year. The show takes place on Oct. 8 at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Arts and features three of her newest pieces from her latest collection.

Fermaint’s designs can be best described as bold and creative, and feature mostly club and party scene wear. Inspiration for her designs is drawn from two of her greatest passions: music and dancing.

“She just has something fresh about her; her uniqueness is unlike anything I’ve ever encountered,” said Lacey Waldron, 24, Fermaint’s former boss and visual manager at Forever 21.

Fermaint’s pieces have been featured in numerous music videos and worn by several of Hollywood’s stars including two-time Grammy nominee Carmen Rizzo and the electroclash godfather Larry Tee.

She has also worked as a costumer on several movie sets like “The Book of Eli,” “Middle Men,” “Piranha 3D” and “Maneater.”

Not only has Fermaint been named featured designer by 944 Magazine, A2Z Magazine and Yes Magazine, but she has also been labeled as Fashionista in Tempe by ARTish.org

“I always knew I wanted to do big things; the goals I set for myself then turned into different goals to fit industry now,” Fermaint said. “Either way I am proud of the amount of work and accomplishments I’ve experienced.”

Her collections have debuted in over 160 fashion shows between 2001-2010 and have even taken place on the Pacific Coast's Rock ‘N’ the Seas performance on Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines in February of 2006.

“There have been so many awesome experiences so far. One of my favorites had to be was the fashion shows on the cruise ships; those were fun,” Fermaint said.

By 18 years old, her clothing was found at boutiques Valley-wide, and by age 19, she was nominated for the “People's Choice Designer of the Year” at LabelHorde’s Annual Platinum Stitch Awards.

While she says her newest line is still a secret, she promises it will be like nothing else seen before.

“I can’t say much; you’ll have to wait till the show on Friday, but I'm doing something new by working with lighting and syncing it with music. Swarovski Crystal’s and printed fine fabrics will also be used,” said Fermaint.

Although her designs are a bit higher priced, Fermaint ensures that there’s a great amount of quality in every piece.

“Her style is definitely Lady GaGa, but very fashionable; the animal print is awesome, and totally fits into my wardrobe,” said Leann Wagner, 20, fan and supporter of Fermaint’s designs.

On the side Fermaint enjoys DJ-ing at local Scottsdale clubs and says that the connection between music and fashion has helped her create some of her best pieces.

“Just by talking to her for a few minutes, you can tell the club is a major part of her inspiration,” Waldron said.

She also currently works at H&M in Scottsdale Fashion Square as a visual merchandiser and believes that styling mannequins is just as fun for her. She later hopes to pursue a career in Europe designing the latest European fashions.

Fermaint credits much of her success to the numerous internships and styling opportunities she’s had.

“Her focus and dedication to the industry really struck me,” Waldron said. “She was always really into whatever task she was given, which is what stood out to me the most.”

Fermaint said she always knew she wanted to work in some type of fashion and with a supportive family she claims it was easy to teach herself the basics.

“I never had a desire to do anything else, ever since I was nine I knew I wanted to do fashion design. Maybe it was my parents influence and growing up around pop culture,” said Fermaint.

For newcomers just starting out in the industry, Fermaint recommends finding one’s own type of style.

“Be true to yourself and find your own voice; it’s your creativity and innovation that will set you apart from everyone else and make you successful,” Fermaint said.

With plenty of success in only ten years, the future looks bright for this young designer.

“By taking many risks, working very hard with my dreams always in view, I’ve accomplished so much and am extremely grateful,” said Fermaint. “Trust me there’s only more great things to come”

Reach the reporter at alicia.diaz@asu.edu


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