Featured Designer - Maria Silver

 Toni Silver by Jamie Goodsell

Toni Silver by Jamie Goodsell

How did you get your start as a fashion designer?

My mother sewed and my first design gig was for my Barbie dolls. I had a Latin barbie from California named Teresa that loved a full circle skirt in wild patterns! She was a skater (came with her own bright yellow board) and wasn't afraid of taking risks. I also had three of the Barbie and the Rocker members and they were always up for crazy designs. I think I'm still designing for all of them in a way.

 Ruby Amanfu by Sherwin Lainez in BBMS

Ruby Amanfu by Sherwin Lainez in BBMS

Where do you get your inspiration?

Inspiration can come from anywhere but I generally can't leave a museum without a full collection in mind. This current collection I was looking into female Dadaist.

What do you enjoy about the Nashville design community?

I love how collaborative and supportive it is. I think we all realize that there's so much we can learn from one another and being competitive can be a wasteful way to use your energy.

What resources do you wish Nashville had more of for designers?

Wholesale fabric is probably at the top of the list. But I think traveling for fabrics is part of the hustle and adds to the process of the collection.

Who/What is your number one fashion icon?

It lies somewhere between Bianca Jagger, Denise Huxtable and Teresa (my Latin skater barbie).

What has been a collaboration you’ve really enjoyed? 

I've loved creating bags with painter Kelly Williams' drop cloths. Each piece is like carrying around a tiny piece of her art. I've also loved this project with Jo McCaughey! It was a whole crew of talented women and it's always a joy to see people thriving in their craft.

What is a goal you have for your business?

I'm hoping this next year finds BBMS expanding our client base and our in house production capabilities.

 Native Magazine December 2015

Native Magazine December 2015

What’s the hardest part about being a fashion designer?

All of it! Ha ha! I think any time you take an entrepreneurial route like this you find yourself 100% out there, spiritually, artistically and financially. It's a very vulnerable state but if you love what you do, it's worth it.

Are seasons important to you as a designer?

I have this romanticized image of what seasons were to the fashion industry stemmed from being a teenager and eagerly waiting for the collections to come out, running to the store to grab the new issue of vogue and then devouring it for hours without having to see other peoples comments. But the reality now is that social media has completely changed the game. I'm meeting it all somewhere in the middle.

What three words describe your style?

Utilitarian, brazen, dance-wear

Why is it important to buy local?

Buying local can be a way for a person to contribute to the community, local economy and help ease the impact of fast fashion on the environment. On top of that, you end up with a unique, often VERY limited, garment or accessory that you'll treasure. It's a win/win situation.

See Maria's designs and her collaboration with photographer Jo McCaughey at the next Fashion Happening on October 15. Get your ticket here.