Austin’s Brittany Allen Takes Empowering Designs to Project Runway
“As a maker, I want to create something that has never been done before”
By Cassie LaMere
Photographs courtesy of Bravo Media/Joe Pugliese and Barbara Nitke
Straight off the heels of her Spring Summer 2020 Collection debut at Fashion for Good, local fashion designer Brittany Allen is stepping into a new spotlight, securing a coveted spot on Bravo’s Project Runway. Sharing the limelight when the new season airs Dec. 5 (at 8:30 p.m. CT) will be her southern roots and the Austin community she intends to raise up through this platform.
Allen’s core values of female empowerment, confidence and motivation are as evident in her personality as they are in her brand ethos. Now, as a representative of Austin on a national scale, Allen is committed to lifting up designers and being a driving force for the capitol city’s influence in a global market.
Texans dominating the runway is not a new trend. Several renowned fashion designers call Texas home and for Project Runway judge and mentor Brandon Maxwell, a sense of Texas pride is a common thread throughout his collections. That Lone Star spirit offered Allen an instant connection with Brandon. Sharing similar points of view, she knows first-hand how a community standing behind one another can drive motivation and says that as a designer, she values that Brandon has “never forgotten his roots.”
With significant strides made over the last decade to develop infrastructure and resources for designers in Austin, Allen is among the leaders who have positioned the city on the brink of an exciting cusp, just as it heads into a new decade. Initiatives like the Austin Community College Fashion Incubator Program are gaining momentum and backing from some of Austin’s most accomplished industry professionals. Couple that with Allen’s role as an adjunct professor at The Art Institute of Austin, and it’s easy to see there’s a wealth of knowledge and talent evolving the local industry.
Her collaboration with the Art Institute resulted from taking a personal leap; a faculty member reached out after seeing Brittany Allen’s Austin Fashion Week debut in 2016 and as she observes, it’s been “full throttle since then.”
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The energy of the city around local and small businesses has been an essential source of her brand’s success. Moving to Austin sight-unseen with her husband in 2015, Allen sought out a community of progressive and artistic locals who welcomed her with open arms. Now in 2019, she sees the advancement of Silicon Hills as an indication that other industries, including fashion design, can flourish – thanks to interaction between innovators in one central hub.
The trailblazing technology available in Austin has allowed Allen to incorporate 3-D embroidery, bespoke prints and advanced pattern cutting techniques into her designs, which Project Runway judges are sure to notice.
“As a maker, I want to create something that has never been done before and figuring out how fashion and technology can be relatable assists me in creating my art,” Allen says.
Honing her skills as an MFA student at SCAD, Allen learned how to envision an entire collection from one singular, often small, source of inspiration. Utilizing her design process as a creative outlet, Allen conceptualizes collections that channel her current sentiments and brings them to life as a way of contribution to society. Her “Female Is the Face of the Future” dress showed that the Allen brand not only walked the walk but talked the talk.
“I stand behind my voice as a designer,” she says. “I design for not only who I am, but who I want to be as a woman tomorrow; consistently growing, competitive and more knowledgeable.”
It’s that forward-thinking mindset that should make Allen a formidable contender on Project Runway’s 18th season and beyond.
Allen will celebrate the Project Runway season premiere with her home base, hosting a watch party at Stereotype in Austin on Dec. 5. The event is open to the public with RSVP, and Allen is collaborating with local artisans to promote Austin talent at the event.