ellen van dusen
For Ellen van Dusen, the Brooklyn-based designer behind Dusen Dusen, it’s always been about the textiles. “I loved to search for them. I could never make them small-scale because it’s just way too expensive,” she explains, “but it was always something I wanted to do.”
It took Ellen a while to wrap her head around the idea of going into fashion, though. Unsure that she could actually survive making clothes, she took a more intellectual road into the design world, creating her own major at Tufts University that allowed her to learn about how we experience aesthetics. “I basically studied the visual system from as many different perspectives as I could,” she says.
After interning for Norma Kamali and working for Mary Meyer (another textile genius), Ellen decided it was time to start crafting her own collection and trying to get it into stores. Within no time, she was picked up by the New York boutique Duo and was knee-deep in orders. “I was constantly sewing—back then I was doing all the sewing myself,” she recalls. “That went on for like four months, until I decided that I had to do it full-time.” No big surprise here: The pace hasn’t slowed since.
As for what’s next, Ellen’s focusing on how to move her line forward for fall 2011: “I want to make sweaters. I’m having a hard time figuring out how to do that on a small scale. And I’d like to do pants. Those are my short-term goals.”