Carly Cushnie

Carly Cushnie and Michelle Ochs

Carly Cushnie and Michelle Ochs.
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This young fashion designer is one that doesn’t need to compete on Project Runway to make it big. Carly Cushnie is originally from London, but today makes her home in the SoHo neighborhood of New York City. She graduated with a B.A. from Parsons School of Design, where she studied fashion design in Paris and New York. She also interned with big name labels like Proenza Schouler and Oscar de la Renta throughout her time in school.

During her time at Parsons, Cushnie connected with classmate Michelle Ochs, and together they worked on their own line, the senior designs of which were featured on the cover of Women’s Wear Daily just after their graduation. After graduating, Ochs and Cushnie decided to become business partners, and in 2008 the duo established Cushnie et Ochs.

“Our aesthetic is very sexy—but strong—with a minimal edge,” Cushnie says of their design principles. “We felt there wasn’t clothing out there for a sophisticated woman who wanted to be sexy without being vulgar.”

Cushnie herself has a good sense of movement and drape, and generally rocks a vintage chic style with black as the predominant color. Cushnie et Ochs has been extremely successful in its five years of life; the two have developed several runway collections, the first of which was picked up by Bergdorf Goodman in Spring 2009. The label is distributed today through Bergdorf, Saks, Neiman Marcus, and Harvey Nichols (UK).

Cushnie et Ochs has also gained significant visibility recently, as stars like Jessica Alba, Rihanna, Reese Witherspoon, Selena Gomez, Olivia Wilde, Ginnifer Goodwin, and perhaps most notably First Lady Michelle Obama. The label grossed about $2 million last year, according to Forbes magazine, which listed the designer as one of this year’s 30 Under 30.

“Cushnie et Ochs embodies a unique sensibility that seamlessly combines a bold sensuality with a raw feminine attitude that is confidently understated and luxuriously modern,” reads the label’s website. “The designers’ inherent understanding of the female body informs their body-contouring silhouettes while celebrating the women who wear them… The striking collection speaks to the new modern woman who owns her own individuality.”

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