Generation Y Game Changer

A Chat with the Chikimiki designer

After working as a design director for brands such as Betsey Johnson, Nicole Miller and DKNY for more than 20 years, Elise Dealmeida decided it was time for a change. “I was not being as creative as I wanted to be,” she says. So in 2013, Dealmeida created her own label, Chikimiki. In less than two years, the high-end womenswear company, which is based in New York City, is doing extremely well. So well that even megastars such as Beyoncé and Mad Men’s Elisabeth Moss are avid fans. “Beyoncé has worn a few of my pieces and she loves the collection,” Dealmeida says. And it’s easy to see why. Her fall 2015 collection is turning heads. “The prints are very unusual and they are a bit whimsical,” she says. Vegas/Rated chats with the up-and-coming designer about Chikimiki and why her label is giving life to the fashion game.

Why does Chikimiki appeal to millennials?

Millennials really love the collection because they are open to trying new brands and they want to set themselves apart from the rest of the crowd. Unlike generations before, millennials will spend more money on well-made clothing that they can keep longer in their closet. They are into buying special pieces that make them feel special.

Tell us about your fall 2015 collection.

I always do pieces that are very time-consuming and are very beautiful. Plus, I’m inspired by shapes and movements. My color selection is a harmonious clash of colors where you would never think of putting them together, but they work so well together. That’s been a real plus for the brand. The pieces are a bit bold and unusual. Most of my fabric is silk and comes from Korea and Italy. I design most of the patterns, and then I have them produced.

What is next for you?

We will be doing a show in Paris, and there are also plans to send the collection to China. For a brand that just started out, I’m so excited because when you create something, you don’t know if people are going to love it or not. You create it because you love it. But so far, I’ve been very lucky, because people are welcoming the change and they are willing to invest in a new brand.

-Laura Janelle Downey