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‘I’m a Fashion Designer—Here Are 12 Style Trends You Need In Your Wardrobe’

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I became seriously interested in fashion during my sophomore year of college. I was studying for a degree in mechanical engineering and watched my first runway show on my phone during one of my classes. It was an Alexander McQueen show from the 1990s. I thought it looked incredible.

I taught myself to sew through online videos and started experimenting with clothing in between going to classes. I’ve never had any formal training, but I have always loved design. When it came to engineering I was always interested in learning how to create tools or airplanes.

Fashion and engineering strangely correlated in some ways. Creating clothing is all about structure, you often have to use math to create a pattern and make sure everything fits the body well. The complex math theorems didn’t really coincide with my love of fashion, but the design side really did.

Jonathan Marc Stein
A model walks the runway wearing one of Jonathan Marc Stein’s designs during Los Angeles Fashion Week.
Arun Nevader / Harmony Gerber/Getty Images Entertainment

Founding a luxury fashion house

Eventually, I landed my first runway show in Ohio. After that, I was scouted for Los Angeles fashion week and everything snowballed from there. I founded my own fashion house in 2014.

My most recent big show was in Dubai. It was my first international show and I thought it was going to be a small runway, but I was showing alongside the likes of Zuhair Murad, Blumarine and Valentino. I ended up winning an award called the Golden Forever Rose, beating out several top designers, which was amazing.

I like making high-quality pieces that will last forever. I find that when you visit vintage stores, you tend to see designers like Alexander McQueen and Burberry—because they create pieces of such premium quality, they last for many years.

Staple pieces for the perfect capsule wardrobe

Jonathan Marc Stein fashion show
A model walks the runway wearing a statement black belt during the Jonathan Marc Stein Fashion Show in New York City, 2017.
Arun Nevader/Getty Images Entertainment

When it comes to staple wardrobe pieces, a leather jacket is always great. In my eyes, it goes with everything; you can dress it up or down, wear it with jeans or with a suit. I love leather, I always wear leather pants; in the summer, winter or fall.

I would suggest investing in a decent belt that can be paired with anything. With clothing, I tend to gravitate towards black, but I always have that one colorful piece that can go with everything, whether it be a jacket or a pair of statement pants.

I never leave the house without a good pair of sunglasses, I believe those are essential to any decent wardrobe. A high-quality pair of shoes is always important to me; a pair of combat boots or some type of mule. Again, I tend to choose the color black.

Jonathan Marc Stein fashion show
A model walks the runway wearing a vested shirt during Jonathan Marc Stein’s showing at Los Angeles Fashion Week in 2018.
Arun Nevader/Getty Images Entertainment

Colour is mostly about how I feel. I often incorporate brighter tones into my style if I’m feeling bold; maybe a bright blue, yellow, or pink. For me, it’s about standing out, but also creating something that suits your personality too.

When it comes to T-shirts, I often go for something vested. I am very into shoulder pads, I think they go well with everything. Whether it’s a pair of jeans or pants, I do like a good wide-leg cropped pair of pants. Personally, I like trousers which are slightly longer than culottes.

A nice pair of dark jeans are great, because you can dress them up or dress them down. I’ll wear them with a suit jacket or a blazer. I would definitely recommend a quality suit or smart dress, whichever you would prefer to wear.

Winter essentials

Jonathan Marc Stein fashion show
A model walks the runway at Jonathan Marc Stein and Matt Sarafa’s ‘Rich’ clothing line fashion show in 2019 in Los Angeles.
JC Olivera/Getty Images Entertainment/JC Olivera/Getty Images Entertainment

In the winter, a good trench coat is important to me. However, you don’t always have to opt for something simple. For example, I recently bought a black peacoat with a giant embroidered design on the back. It’s a winter piece, but you can wear it in the spring, summer, or fall, because it has those bright colors.

I like a nice sweater. Usually, I choose a softer material like cashmere, perhaps with a nice crew neck. Again, it doesn’t have to be simple, you could choose a piece with a gradient, some studding or some leather.

Another essential for me is a scarf; I prefer an oversized piece, not just a simple, small scarf, but one that can really loop around your body and become a statement garment. I love my hair, but I often wear a nice beanie in the winter.

I have been trying to stay away from sweatpants. However, when it’s colder outside, sometimes I will throw on a nicer pair, but team them with a statement leather belt. Perhaps I’ll incorporate a leather jacket or some metallics into the look. When dressing casually, I always add another element not only to make it more streetwear style but elevate it and make it more modern.

Jonathan Marc Stein fashion show
Jonathan suggested adding a statement piece to your winter wardrobe. A model is pictured walking the runway at the Matt Sarafa and Jonathan Marc Stein ‘Rich’ clothing line release in Los Angeles, 2019.
JC Olivera/Getty Images Entertainment

I would suggest adding a splash of color to the winter wardrobe, just to make sure it’s not solely monochrome. Maybe a navy paired with a black. Many believe pairing the two colors is a faux pas, but I think the two tones can be worn with one another if they are different enough.

People are often afraid to mesh similar colors, like a light or dark pink, but I think that gradient can really accentuate certain parts of the body. When combining these tones, I believe it’s all about personal style; choosing colors that go with your skin tone and do not wash you out.

Everything I wear doesn’t necessarily go together, but if it makes me feel good about myself, then I’ll go with it. I don’t really care what others think, fashion is personal expression. In my eyes, you’re not dressing for other people, you are dressing for yourself.

Upcycling core pieces

Jonathan Marc Stein fashion show
Jonathon suggests upcycling core pieces with metallics or studding. He is pictured with a model after his runway show at Los Angeles Fashion Week in 2018.
Arun Nevader/Getty Images Entertainment

I always try to modernize my outfit. For example, if I was wearing a peacoat in pink, grey or tan, I may add a cool belt around the outside of the piece. There are so many options to upcycle garments to make them statement pieces, but also elevate them to whatever personal style you prefer.

I am so into metallics, whether it’s studding or beading, so you can take a simple black dress from the thrift store and add embroidery or studding to the bottom.

You could make the garment shorter, longer, looser, or tighter, depending on what part of your body you want to accentuate; bring embellishment to emphasize whatever you want to make you feel better about yourself. Fashion for me is all about confidence.

Jonathan Marc Stein is a Los Angeles-based designer who founded his eponymous fashion house in 2014. You can follow his Instagram page at @jonathanmarcstein or visit his website here.

All views expressed in this article are the author’s own.

As told to Newsweek editor, Monica Greep.

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