At 17 years old, Lorena Knezevic is the youngest designer at this year’s Tampa Bay Fashion Week. However, don’t let her age fool you! Lorena knew at a very young age that she wanted to be a designer, and has had her collections featured in several fashion events. The VH2 Fashion Show, Latina Pageant Fashions Show, Life’s a Label Fashion Show, and Exclusif Fashion Show are just a few. She has also won national art awards for the past four consecutive years from Young Artists and Writers, and hopes to attend design school in the future.
- What does fashion mean to you? To me, fashion is the most direct way to sense the mood of the world. Trends in movies and music, and influences of other cultures all manifest into the clothes that people wear. Like people, fashion can’t remain in one place for long. Every six months, there is a new rhythm, a new beat to run, skip, trot toward, the next big thing. Seeing this communication between global influences and the works of art that people wear is just incredible to me. When seen in that sense, fashion can’t simply mean one thing. Fashion is everything.
- What do you hope to bring to Tampa Bay’s fashion scene? Coming from the perspective of a 17 year old designer who was born in Torino, Italy, with a family originally from Croatia, who now lives all over the world, I think I will definitely be able to bring a new perspective to Tampa. I hope to present a line that is influenced by my mixed cultures and past travels, as well as my youth.
- What matters to you the most as a designer? My designs focus on the woman who is wearing the garment. In my opinion, fashion is most successful if the woman wearing the dress looks and feels beautiful. The dress should fit her, both in tailoring and in the elegance of the design.
- What makes your line unique? I call my style a “modern romance”. The past few years, it seems like many designers have embraced a sort of androgynous tough-girl grunge vibe. Though I respect these designers and the movement, I believe there is strength in femininity. There is a certain boldness in being completely confident being a woman, being beautiful, being soft. No one should mistake femininity for fragility. My line, with its modern romantic style, represents exactly that.
- At 17 years old you are our youngest designer this year! How do you manage to juggle life as a high school teen with life as an emerging designer? I could sit here and say that juggling six college credit classes and six fashion shows a year is difficult. I could say that scheduling all my school clubs and casting calls is stressful, which it is, though I never mind doing it! School is one life. Playing the role of the high school teenagers starts at 7 a.m. and ends at 2 p.m., or after I finish my homework. The rest of the time, I am exactly who I want to be—the designer behind Lolodaisy by Lorena. I suppose it helps that I started working my way into the fashion world years ago. Fashion was always part of my life. The past four consecutive years I have won Gold Key National Art Awards from the Scholastic Young Artists and Writers. I started modeling seriously when I was 13 or 14 years old, which allowed me to get a lot of contacts and knowledge into the fashion industry. I even modeled at Tampa Bay Fashion Week the past two years!