She may be relatively new on the fashion scene as a designer, but Wendi McGowan has already made her mark on women everywhere with her artful accessories. What has made bolarti a success in such a short time is that Wendi stays true to her love of fashion and art and applies her business savvy to her passion. She can proudly add the prestige of becoming one of 20 finalists in Texas’ Next Top Designer Challenge to her list of accomplishments, beating out entries from all over Texas. We’re keeping our fingers crossed for her as final judging takes place on Saturday, March 5, 2011. She’s smart, beautiful, and has an eye for the unique-what’s not to love about Wendi? In order to find out about the woman behind the sexiest clutches in town, we asked Wendi to let the “cat out of the bag” (handbag pun intended).
Wendi, we know it was recent, but when did you realize you wanted to become a designer?
Not until Spring 2010. I took a painting class and created the piece that was the entire inspiration for bolarti. I worked all Summer designing, finding the right seamstress who understood my vision, and building my ecommerce web site. Entire company launched on September 1, 2010. ??*What are some of your professional accomplishments?
My professional background is Digital Marketing for small businesses. In 2006, I was one of the Dallas Ad League’s finalists for Best Brand Manager Award running against CMO’s from Neiman Marcus, Cadbury Schweppes, Wyndham Hotels, and Rent-a-Center. This year, I am one of 20 finalists from across the state for Texas’ Next Top Designer award to be announced on April 29,2011.
Who are some of your favorite designers?
Valentino, Michael Kors, Jill Sander, and Tom Ford for luxury lines. I think that J Crew and Ann Taylor do a FABULOUS job catering to the working woman, and the new Spring 2011 designs (due to a new Creative Director) coming out of Talbot’s are quite impressive.
What was the first designer piece you ever purchase for yourself?
A Louis Vuitton black Epi Leather Jasmin bag at 21 years old. Now at twice that age, I still have that bag. In fact, I have the first Louis Vuitton Speedy bag my mother gave me when I was 12. Unbelievable timelessness of the classics.
We all have one….what is your trashiest television indulgence?
“The Apprentice” Although, I got rid of cable TV last fall, so I literally have NO idea what’s on TV now. I get my news via word-of-mouth
Name the worst thing in your closet that you just can’t give up.
Because my mother has forced them on me, all my cheerleading uniforms, jackets, and pom poms. Like I’m going to wear any of these things, right?!?
What do you personally believe makes a quality handbag?
Classic lines; rigid structure; the details.
What is your favorite restaurant in Dallas?
The Place at Perry’s on Routh… my boyfriend and I are fixtures once a week for the bar area dining.
What matters to you most as a fashion designer?
Providing a product that makes women feel unique and noticed. I am have been consistently surprised at how many men have stopped me wanting to know where I purchased the bag I’m carrying… Married ones want one for their wives (a birthday, an anniversary, etc.). Boyfriends want on for their girlfriends. Gay men want one for themselves! My designs definitely are a man-magnet!
What is your ritual to prepare right before you begin painting/creating?
I consistently devour fashion magazines every month, Vogue, W, Harper’s Bazaar, so that I know what colors are the “hot” ones on the horizon. I tear out and keep loads of images. The paper ones I keep in my Fashionary design journal, and for images I see online, I store all of them in Evernote. When I get ready to paint, I refer to these, put on some good Bach, Beethoven, or Vivaldi and get to work!
What would you consider your ideal romantic date?
A quick trip to Napa Valley for a private winemaker dinner complete with dancing under the stars and dessert at midnight.
You have $500 to spend on anything you’d like. What do you buy?
1 perfect pair of black patent Christian Louboutin pumps. Sexiness personified.
Which celebrity would you most like to see carrying your handbags?
Check out this week’s Fashion and Style Update to see our new video about bolarti and Wendi McGowan.
-Hilary Kennedy is a contributing author for YouPlus Style and YouPlus Dallas, focusing primarily on Style, Arts and Entertainment, and Dating and Relationships. Hilary also stars in many videos for YouPlusMedia and has her own show, The Hilary Kennedy Show.