In the Studio with Designer Dana Schoonover of Never A Wallflower
For our series Closet Confidential, we interview interesting and uber cool people in their homes wearing outfits from their closet. Esther Lee Leach caught up with Dana Schoonover at her home in Bonnie Brae. Dana wears clothing from her brand Never a Wallflower.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY ESTHER LEE LEACH
Esther Lee Leach: Tell us about your background. Where did you grow up?
Dana Schoonover: I grew up in a tiny town in middle Tennessee, but have lived all over the country since graduating college. This has given me a unique prospective to fashion design. I design with a lot of color thanks to my Southern roots, and give it an edge because of the city life I have now.
ELL: Describe your clothing line, Never a Wallflower, and how did you come up with such a great name?
DS: First, thank you so much. I’m happy you think the name of our company is great! When I started thinking about a brand and a name for that brand, I knew I wouldn’t name it after myself. Schoonover is really hard to pronounce but since I am the original ‘avatar’ for Never A Wallflower I wanted the name to reflect my values and beliefs. I love quotes, and believe spoken words have power, here’s one of my favorites from a poem by Mary Oliver “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” which typifies my philosophy for life - never sit on the sideline, but be a lifelong learner and adventurer, thus Never A Wallflower.
I would describe NAW as exuberant and full of life. Our woman has ‘places to go and people to see’ she love to travel and is always up for a party, most of the time she’s the one planning it! Never A Wallflower designs special pieces that you can build an outfit around and will garner compliments wherever you go. We use bright color and bold pattern to tell an interesting story.
ELL: What it’s like working as a designer in the Denver market?
DS: Being a designer based in Denver makes some things easier and some things harder. I think the vibe in Denver is very entrepreneurial and collaborative, but it is challenging running production in LA and sourcing fabrics from all over the world rather than heading to the garment district in LA or NYC. You defiantly have to be a planner to get everything produced on time.
ELL: Where is your line sold, in Denver and in other cities?
DS: Perch Denver, Vail and Nantucket, Melrose & Madison, Wish Boutique, Eleanor & Hobbs, Two Skirts Telluride and Finicky Filly in Charleston.
ELL: How many collections do you produce annually?
DS: Two major collection plus some resort, and a fabulous cashmere sweater collection.
ELL: How would you describe your style?
DS: For the most part I would describe my style as classic with an edge. Being from the south definitely influences my style in that you will most often see me wearing color and pattern. I rarely wear the traditional fashion uniform of all black, because I can just hear my grandmother asking if I'm ‘headed to a funeral’.
ELL: Where do you find your inspiration for Never a Wallflower?
DS: Everywhere! We travel quite a bit and that is always inspiring. The Dior exhibit here in Denver was amazing and definitely influenced upcoming collections, as did the Tara Donovan show. I consume a healthy amount of print media, 3-5 magazines a week and read around 50 books a year, all of that goes into my design at some point.
ELL: Do you have any advice for aspiring designers who want to launch their brand in Denver?
DS: There are so many amazing, talented women in this city, and a pervasive entrepreneurial sprit in Denver that it almost feels like this cocoon of people in your corner, cheering for you to succeed!