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MEET THE DESIGNER: CARLEEN

Carleen
Kelsy Parkhouse SHOP ALL
Southern California native Kelsy Parkhouse will be the first to admit she probably wasn’t quiiite ready for the mean streets of NYC when she arrived for her freshman year at NYU in 2004. “Like most 18 year olds, I felt pretty unmoored—in hindsight, I absolutely should have taken a gap year,” she says. But even though Kelsy didn’t get to have her Malia Obama moment, things clicked for the art-history major after she landed internships at Peter Som and Vera Wang. “I was like, ‘Oh! This is actua... READ MORE

Southern California native Kelsy Parkhouse will be the first to admit she probably wasn’t quiiite ready for the mean streets of NYC when she arrived for her freshman year at NYU in 2004. “Like most 18 year olds, I felt pretty unmoored—in hindsight, I absolutely should have taken a gap year,” she says. But even though Kelsy didn’t get to have her Malia Obama moment, things clicked for the art-history major after she landed internships at Peter Som and Vera Wang. “I was like, ‘Oh! This is actually what I want to do, so I need to go to fashion school.’”

That lightbulb moment led to a grad program at Pratt where she hit her stride in a really big way. Kelsy’s 2012 senior thesis, a collection of simple silhouettes, like square tops, A-line skirts, and shift dresses in vintage, quilt-inspired textiles, earned her the Liz Claiborne Concept to Product Award (which included $25,000 in seed money) and praise from Cathy Horyn—basically, the fashion equivalent of magna cum laude. The next step—a line of her own!—was obvious: Named Carleen for her maternal grandmother, Kelsy’s label pays homage to her California childhood, incorporating denim and re-purposed fabric that’s found its true place in the fashion world, kind of like the designer herself. —hadley rolf

carleen.us

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Black Tunic Dress
. 50 OF A KIND .
Black Tunic Dress BY Carleen
$ 249

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