Designer to Watch in 2017: Erin Draper

What comes to mind when you hear the word “athleisure”? Too casual. Not stylish. Not able to transition into their work wear. Well, Erin Draper wants to change the way you think of clothing you are active in.


“Women love to wear their yoga and workout clothes because they’re so comfortable and stretchy,” Draper said.  But, most women can’t wear exercise clothes to work and living in yoga clothes 24/7 isn’t satisfying to women who want to look fashionable, elegant or unique. I have a distinctive style that uses color blocking, unusual seams and draping to create clothes that are both elegant and edgy.”


While studying at Parson in New York City, Draper created a top for her senior thesis collection. The top was made from a very soft rayon/spandex jersey and used a usual pin-tuck seams technique to create a fitted look.


“The front of the top was a muted green and the back a muted purple,” Draper said. I didn’t have quite enough jersey in these colors so I decided to insert washed silk panels in both the front and the back. It’s hard to describe, but the combination of fabrics and colors got a great reaction. People who tried it on said it felt like they were wearing their pajamas. That top, which was an accident in a sense, was the first item in my line and I have built on its concept in many of my later designs.”


Her designs have evolved greatly working with luxurious rayon jersey and washed silks to produce her fashion forward clothing line that is as comfortable as yoga wear.


“I’ve become more conscious of different customers’ needs in terms of silhouette and style,” Draper said. I am very physically active doing aerial silks at least twice a week. I am comfortable wearing clothing that is fitted and shows body shape. While many of my customers are also comfortable wearing fitted clothes, other women who love my style are more comfortable with a looser fit. So, my line now includes both fitted and looser garments.”


As 2017 continues, the Baltimore fashion designer will be focusing on building online sales and selling her apparel at in person events. She plans to expand her line by offering accessorizes to reflect the design style of her clothing.