Jill Andrews fell in love with textiles when she was a student at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology. After some time abroad in London, Andrews landed in Baltimore, where she worked for Center Stage for 15 years in women’s costumes. “My time at Center Stage was an incredible education in the history of fashion,” says Andrews. While at Center Stage, Andrews was designing and creating costumes for plays set in many different eras. She’s been able to apply that knowledge at Jill Andrews Gowns, where she’s creating dream wedding gowns for Charm City brides since 2009. You will see her out-of-the-box take on a bride’s raincoat on the cover of our April issue.
Below, we caught up with the designer about all things designing in Baltimore.
Baltimore STYLE: What is your favorite piece you’ve designed?
Jill Andrews: That’s like asking which child is my favorite! Every garment I design is special, everyone is unique. Working with my clients, I get to channel their ideas and emotions, and translate it into their fantasy!
STYLE: If you hadn’t become a designer, what do you think you’d be doing?
JA: If I weren’t a designer, I’d be a biologist or a hair stylist. Two very different answers, but that’s all I can come up with!
STYLE: How would you describe your own personal style/how you dress on a day-to-day basis?
JA: I’m a pretty minimalist dresser day to day. Black boots and dirty cashmere! And lint is my favorite accessory.
STYLE: What about Baltimore inspires you?
JA: My favorite figure in Baltimore history is Betsy Bonaparte. She is awesome – you have to look her up. What I love so much about Baltimore today is that the city is a hotbed of creativity. There is such a range of talented people living here and making work here. I love that I can just call up Jeremiah at SewLab when I need help putting grommets into a satin biker jacket, or Matt Muirhead to screen print row houses and cats onto the hem of a wedding dress. That feeling of community with my fellow artists is so wonderful to be a part of.
STYLE: What has your journey as a designer been like?
JA: I’m a designer by default. When I was younger, I just wanted to be the technician working behind the scenes. But as it turned out, I have something to express, and designing is the way that happens. One thing I love as a designer is working within parameters, which is why bridal is my sweet spot!
STYLE: Who are some of your favorite designers?
JA: Right now I am loving Toni Maticevski, Elie Saab, Ulyana Sergeenko, Byron Lars, and (of course, always) Valentino.