Cool Designers: Stephanie Carlson brings Resort Wear to Denver


Resort wear used to mean beach clothes and cruise wear in the past. Designers in the new millennium have realized that resort wear is not just for being on a boat.

Resort wear can be clothes for the city, beach, or resorts.

In comes Colorado’s newest up and coming designer, Stephanie Carlson, whose resort wear for the curvy woman not only exudes sophistication, it is a nice twist on modern style.


When did Stephanie Carlson Designs start?

The brand itself started full-scale development in January 2015.  I launched the first collection in September of 2015.


What inspired you to start your own line of clothing?

Many things inspired me to start my own clothing line. The way it all came together was very organic. I was always interested in designing for the curvy woman’s body, being a curvy woman myself, and constantly struggling to find high quality clothes that fit and made me feel beautiful. At the Art Institute I was the first person to ever do a plus size senior collection. I apprenticed for over a year with a successful designer who specialized in the plus size market and taught me every in and out of the industry. I was then asked by a boutique in Denver to do my own trunk show, and realizing that I had only samples, needed to produce clothes I could sell. So in less than six months I decided on the colors, styles, and fabrics, put together a production team and produced my very first collection.




How would you describe your designs?

My designs are made from the very start with the curve of a woman’s body as the focus. They are initially developed to flatter a woman’s body, where the seams are placed, the type of fabric that is used, the way the pattern is developed is all strategically decided. My designs use bright colors and bold patterns, with the goal to enhance the beauty of a woman. I use flowing knit fabrics that conceal the parts of a woman’s body that she wants hidden, and drape beautifully on the body. I also incorporate details into my designs like built in bra tops, strategically placed straps to hide the bra, and lengths that are sassy and fun, yet appeal to a women of every age and body type.


What was the first thing you made and sold?

Those are really two very different questions. I started sewing at a very young age making matching dresses for my dolls and myself with my godmother. In high school I continued sewing making my bridesmaid dress for my dads wedding, and it just continued from there. I went to design school and developed many styles there but I never sold any of those, they were all samples and while very well sewn, all one of a kind garments. It wasn’t until I had my first trunk show this last September and also launched my website that I really sold anything.


Do you have any advice for someone who wants to get in the fashion game and doesn’t know how to start?

My advice is to do everything you can to master all the areas of this business that you can. The business, marketing, designing, technical skills, wear all hats of the business so you know what your doing. Make sure you have a clear story of your brand or clothing line, and know that you are always the face of your brand. My next piece of advice is to love every single aspect of this business. All the hours spent doing math making new patterns, to the pain of cutting endless garments on the floor all the way to the glitz and glamour of the runway shows. If you don’t love the gritty parts along with the glamour this business is not for you. Also, never lose sight of who you are in your designs, stay true to your aesthetic, it is what sets you apart and makes you unique.


What makes Stephanie Carlson different from other brands?

This brand is unique in that the clothing is designed from conception with the curves of a woman’s body as the main focus. The clothing fits women of almost any age and body type. I am very strategic in the fabric I use; making sure that it drapes just right on the body and creates the most flattering silhouette. There are special details worked into the garments like hidden built in bra tops and wider straps on the dresses to provide that added support and comfort, as well as slightly longer sleeve and hem lengths that flatter the body.


What are some of the biggest obstacles you have faced as a clothing designer? 

Owning your own business is never easy. Many obstacles have arisen for me. I think that some of the bigger ones have been, number one, lack of funding. Trying to launch a business without going into debt or having someone to back me has been difficult. It has required an incredible amount of very carefully thought out decisions. With every sale I make, I have to be very careful about how I distribute that money back into the business and prioritize everyday. But it is also fun and teaches me so many things. Another struggle has been to maintain my health and life while working full time and running my business. I get frustrated from time to time that it is not going faster, or that I don’t have more money, or more time, or more of anything, the list could go on, but everyday I have to remind myself that I am right where I am supposed to be. I tell myself that I am following my passion and I truly love every second of it.


What are your strengths as a designer? 

I have an uncanny ability to mix unlikely fabrics and colors together to make fantastic garments. I am really good at creating garments that women feel beautiful and this reflects in the clothes I have sold so far. I love the challenge of perfecting the fit and choosing the right fabric and creating something that will make a woman feel beautiful in. I possess a talent for high quality construction of clothing, creating clothes that will stand the test of time and have beautiful finishing touches.


Where do you get your inspiration from? 

I draw my inspiration from many sources. I love feeling the fabric between my fingers and imagining what I could create with it. Seeing the colors and feeling the touch of the fabric brings emotions to mind, which then brings ideas. I get inspiration from nature, flowers, trees, I try to see the hidden beauty in nature and draw from that. I have traveled the world and have many years of ideas built up from all the things and places I have seen and continue to see. People are always a constant source of inspiration for me. The women who are always struggling to find just the right thing to wear, I like to listen to what they have to say and try to find a solution.


Do you pay attention to the trends or do you try to create unique clothing options? 

I do pay attention to the trends and the colors and what is relevant for the season, but I like to put my own unique spin on things. I feel this is what makes my clothing unique. I believe when you follow what you are passionate about, that is when it becomes a success. So I try to do that with my designs. I incorporate what I feel my customers will like but keep it very “Stephanie” in many ways. Bright colors, clean lines, a detail that is surprising yet brings the whole garment together, are just a few of those ways. And in doing so, I have managed to create a very unique brand that does not exist anywhere else.


Where can people find Stephanie Carlson?

I have a website which is primarily where people can buy the clothes. This summer will hopefully see this brand in its first boutiques. That is the goal. Trunk shows have been a wonderful way for women to get the clothing as well. I host them in people’s homes or boutiques will host me and it is wonderful avenue to get the clothes out there. Women can try the clothes on, buy them and have the clothes to take home that day. I also offer an incentive to anyone hosting me a private trunk show. It has been a great success. The website where people can find the clothes is:

Check out the photo gallery below of Stephanie in her Creations.