The cute ivory skirt with a blue, red, and gold plaid print and tempting “on sale” tag, could be dressed up or down, and Ashley Zygmunt, the creative mind behind the maker of the skirt, Chicago label ZAMRIE, exclaims, “nobody understands that skirt! Only an editor at Vogue really got it.”
For her Fall 2012 collection, Zygmunt wanted to have a holiday sale, and she wanted to give back.
“I was just in New York in November. Some of my girlfriends were out of power for a couple weeks because of the hurricane,” she explains. “So I figured, why not donate some of the proceeds toward Hurricane Sandy?”
The sale was in collaboration with Nora Del Busto, a fellow designer and friend. The inventory, all marked down, was clearly by different designers, yet complemented each other on the racks. Del Busto’s designs had decidedly less color but were wrought with lovely, shimmering accents such as delicate beading and golden details. Wrinkled leather on shirtsleeves and the sides of leggings were particularly striking. Blouses, dresses, and jackets had structural details like strong shoulders and tiered skirts
The ZAMRIE collection featured oranges, mustard yellow, blues, and purples in solid colors and abstract camouflage patterns. Zygmunt’s garments were very versatile, such as the solid color long-sleeve shirtdresses that could be worn to work or dressed up for a night out. Some pieces had a retro feel, like a blue, yellow, and red plaid skirt that Zygmunt paired with a crème colored blouse to give it a more modern look. One dress that really stood out was a sexy, sophisticated black dress with a boxy cap sleeve and a panel of black or bronze suede running down the front. Zygmunt’s favorite piece from the collection is her faux fur vest that comes in chinchilla or a zig zag print. She explains that they can be worn over a dress or “over jeans or leggings, boots, a white t shirt … and you are ready to go. And it keeps me warm!”
Zygmunt finds inspiration from everyday women and street style. “I’m always looking at peoples’ outfits,” she says. “Not to be mean or to judge, but just to notice things, how people wear things.” Zygmunt recalls a coat she saw recently that had four box pleats in the back — the kind of detail she wants to incorporate when she starts designing outerwear. “Once I see something, I’ll remember it,” she asserts. “If I like it, I won’t forget it.”
Zygmunt began her line ZAMRIE in 2009, after graduating from Purdue University in 2008. She studied abroad in Florence the summer before her junior year and at Hong Kong Polytechnic University. After a foreign production internship for Zac Posen and a design internship under Peter Som, Zygmunt dabbled in corporate design for Walmart.
She knew she did not want to live in New York City, so her mother suggested researching fashion in Chicago. “I missed my family – I’m from Chicago, grew up in the suburbs, and I just wanted to come home,” Zygmunt explains. She found out about the Chicago Fashion Incubator, applied, and was accepted a month later. “It was kind of a whirlwind,” she affirms.