Meet Alyssa Tang-Bortnyk
Meet local fashion designer Alyssa Tang-Bortnyk.
Fashion Designer Alyssa Tang-Bortnyk uses simple everyday moments, from café conversations to the beat of the subway, to inspire fresh color stories and vibrant designs that empower her customers. After honing her craft in New York City at large fashion houses such as DKNY and Coach, Alyssa brought her passions to Boston, now sharing the design process with a much younger audience at Minni.
Alyssa will guide little fashion designers and repeat outfit offenders ages 4–10 through the fashion design process from start to finish at Minni FashionShop on June 2, 10–11:30am at Minni, and June 8, 2–3:30pm at Albertine Press.
Keep reading for more about Alyssa’s creative process and style.
M: Can you describe your fashion design process from start to ﬁnish? How does a simple idea or ﬂash of inspiration become a completed product?
A: Fashion is an ever-evolving creature. As a designer, I am constantly inspired and reﬂecting on everything in the world, from splattered canvases, grandmas with purple hair, the beat of the subway, rain on a window to croissant-fueled café conversations. My goal is to translate the heartbeat of the moment and evolve it into the next fashion collection, while always keeping my customer in mind. First, creating the mood board helps to reﬁne my collection’s design direction and color story. Then fabric, print and silhouettes are designed. In fashion, you initially overdevelop more styles than will ever make the ﬁnal edit. As some styles look good on paper, but may not “make it to the party” once sewn into real life. A good collection will tell a clear story, letting your customer feel empowered in its every ﬁber.
M: What is your favorite step in the fashion design process?
A: Can I say two steps? The beginning and end! The design process is like a fashion sandwich. The middle is a crazy beautiful design mess that is held together by two slices of 1) an inspired mood and 2) a grand ﬁnale presentation. The beginning is full of hope and inspiration. This is where I go out in the world to reﬂect and create a meaningful story that sets the tone for the whole collection. The end is the lovely mad dash editing, styling and presentation of all the hard work.
M: Can you describe your personal style in just 3 words?
A: Videogame meets Zen.
M: Were you creative as a child, and if so, what is your favorite memory?
A: I loved watching ﬁgure skating as a child. And wanted to wear all of those fabulous frothy and ﬂoating outﬁts. My grandfather, who was an architect, suggested that I make life wearable size paper doll outﬁts, inspired by the ﬁgure skaters. It was so empowering to be given the tools to create real life outﬁts fueled by my imagination.
M: What inspired you as a child? What inspires you in your daily life as an adult?
A: I started taking art lessons at an early age and my grandmother taught me how to sew. This helped to fuel my obsession with color and creativity. It is amazing how simple materials such as paper and crayons mixed with imagination can transform into magical wonderlands. As a child, I loved to create out of joy and share that feeling with others; whether it is a giant multi-colored paper chain to decorate a staircase or painting a drive through sundae shop on a cardboard box. And I can’t forget the occasional costume trunk fashion show, inspired by Boy George!
My inspiration as an adult is two-fold. First, I am fascinated by how we all wear our own stories. Whether we are conscious or not, we wear our hearts on our sleeves. While stoop sitting coffee drinking on a brisk morning, watching passersby can be such a Zen experience. I ponder where this person is coming from and where they are going. Yes, the street can be your runway!
Second, I seek that same aha moment where a vivid seed blooms into unexpected delight. As a designer, wife and mother this is folded into every aspect of my life. A story about a kind monster mixed can inspire my next illustrated jumpsuit design. A cloud settling in the glow of a sunset can turn into my daughter’s birthday theme of rainbows raining happiness. I love to design delight and put a smile on someone’s face!