Smashing Darling Interview with Erhart Design

Interview: Chelsea Erhart, Clothing Designer

Meet Chelsea Erhart, owner and designer for her clothing line Erhart. Read on as this young energetic world traveling designer takes you on a sneak peek tour of what life is like for her. Her home base is in Oregon, but the inspiration for her collection comes from all over.

Pieces from the current Erhart collection

SD: When did you realize you wanted to be a fashion designer?
CE: It was really my mom who decided I was going to be a fashion
designer! As for me, life kept on handing me jobs where I learned the
skills to be where I am today. I started out in factory sewing and
moved my way up to being an assistant designer to owning my own line.
I really decided that this was my calling when I recognized my

SD: I know you love to travel, what is the best place you have traveled to?
CE: Best place I’ve traveled to? That’s a tough question, because once
you have been all over the world, no place is any better or worse than
any other, they are all amazing! I will be visiting my parents in
Egypt for Christmas, so I guess my upcoming travel is my favorite.

SD: Where do you turn for inspiration for your designs?
CE: I turn to life for my inspiration. I get into a flow where I am
designing, and I wait very patiently for an inspiration. Usually its
just one thing and I take off with it. I build an entire collection
around one idea. I head to the library as fast as I can when the
inspiration hits!

SD: What does your average day entail?
CE: A pot of tea in the morning where I structure my day, usually make a
to-do list. After that I typically do all my administrative work in
my home office and then its out into the wild world. I usually run
errands and make it to the studio by 11. I am also known for my long
lunches and my late hours.

SD: Describe your personal style?
CE: Classy and funky all at the same time. I am constantly rotating my
wardrobe so that everything is fresh and I am forced to stay creative.

SD: Who are your fashion icons (past or present)? Do you think they
influenced your personal style?
CE: Amelia Earhart! Did you know she had her own clothing line for a
little while?

SD: Do you have any current fashion obsessions?
CE: My fashion obsession is very Nietzschen, in that I challenge myself
all the time. I keep a small wardrobe and even smaller color
collection. Last year, I decided that I wanted to explore color in my
collections, so the best way to do that was to remove all color from
my life. I usually have a very colorful wardrobe, but I’ve worked
very hard to reduce it to white and black. It’s been hard work, but
it has given me an amazing perspective.

SD: What advice would you give someone just starting in your field?
CE: Be friendly and put your ego away. Fashionistas are very competitive
and cliquey, I think, because they don’t know what else to do. I am
polite and friendly to everyone I know because there is no reason to
be competitive if you are doing your own thing. My style is different
from everyone else which is why I am successful, not because I am
friends with certain people. It’s pretty amazing to see who gets mad
at me for being friendly!

SD: Do you have any events you are getting ready for in the near future?
CE: Yes, I am doing some trade shows up in Seattle and here in Portland.
I am also working on my first photo spread for a rubber glove dress I
made for Junk to Funk. Stay tuned, there are always things in the

SD: Is there anyone in the Smashing Darling community you have a question
or comment for?
CE: Anyone in specific, besides all the amazing support I have already
gotten?! Smashing Darling is the best collection of designers
currently on the web!

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