Alternative fashion spotlight: PUNX clothing

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At 16, Victoria Cohen was the youngest-ever designer to show a runway collection at Cleveland Fashion Week – and her PUNX brand is so fresh. See for yourself…

Hi, Victoria! Thanks for chatting with us. Your clothing line is called PUNX because…

My brand is a way for girls (and guys) to say “this is who I am, and if you don’t like it then piss off”. And to make them feel confident and unique and badass.

The punk attitude is something that I’ve always felt very close to. Vivienne Westwood is such an inspiration to me as the punk movement wouldn’t be what it was without her, and her aesthetic is so specific and unadulterated.

Can you name 3 PUNX pieces you love right now?

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1. Floor length black dress with slits

“This piece is one of my most confident ones. It’s just the right vibes of classic and modern, and most importantly it’s such a statement dress. The pink vinyl strip on the torso adds an interesting touch to this very elegant and rad dress.”

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2. Hounds-tooth top with black and vinyl skirt

“This outfit is one that came together even better than anticipated. I had this idea of laying a skirt over a long clear vinyl tube. The sketch was absolutely fabulous, but it seemed like such a weird idea. When it finally came together I was in awe of how cool it looked. And I’ve really never seen anything like this outfit.”

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2. Garbage bag skirt

“I’ve always been fascinated with the idea of turning trash into fashion, and this garbage skirt makes me so proud. I spent seven hours making this skirt entirely out of garbage bags, and I’m so pleased with the movement of it. Again, this is such a statement piece, and it definitely calls attention as it should.”

We hear you make special pieces for your friends. That’s very cool…

A lot of my friends have me make them custom tee shirts with really cool quotes/graphics, hand painting, hand dying, fringing, and cutting. Chokers are also really popular with the younger crowd and my friends.

What kind of comments does your clothing get? Supportive? Freaked-out?

My clothing has gotten really positive feedback. Particularly backstage at fashion week – the younger models fell in love with my clothes and a few people backstage offered to purchase my pieces. My clothes really impress the fashion kids.

During fashion week, I watched back the runway show video and heard a lot of “oohs” and “ahhs”. When people see my clothing they’re taken aback, in a way that’s: “Woah, I’ve never seen this before.” But also in a good way! People are impressed by the statement that my clothing makes; they aren’t used to seeing anything like it.

What kind of silhouettes do you like working with at the moment?

Currently, I have my eye on garments with impeccable movement. For example, my garbage bag skirt (see above) which was featured as a part of my “Not Dead Yet” collection showcased in Fashion Week Cleveland 2015. The skirt is entirely made from white garbage bags and the movement is incredible. The silhouette and movement of the skirt is so effortless. I got chills watching it walk down the runway.

I’m also into caging and also long dresses/skirts with slits. PVC fabric is another major part of my aesthetic and my identity as a designer currently.

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You started sketching designs when you were six! Did any of those design aesthetics make it into your later work?

Not exactly. But there’s actually a photo of me in the first grade class picture where I’m standing in the front row (because the shorter kids stood closer to the front) with one leg pointing out. I’m wearing a short plaid skirt and a chain is hanging under my skirt.

This photo is great for two reasons:

  1. I chose it myself, and better yet, my mom was very upset with what I wore on “picture day.”
  2. The photo transparently represents my vision as a fashion designer. PUNX wasn’t something I just chose; the punk attitude is something that I’ve always felt very close to and I’m truly passionate and meticulous about all of my art creations.

At sixteen, you were the youngest to show at Cleveland Fashion Week! How did it come about?

Fashion Week was a dream come true. Since the age of six, I religiously watched Project Runway and sketched in my journals up until the sky became a morning blue. The leap from sewing in my living room to showing at Cleveland Fashion Week was honestly something else. On my drive there, I just kept thinking, “This is really happening. This IS happening.”

I worked extremely hard to put together a personal and innovative collection and to keep myself confident that I was doing great. Walking the runway with my models was the happiest moment of my life, and in that moment I knew that “this is who I am”. I told myself it was just the beginning of my mark on the world as a fashion designer.

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Look into your crystal ball. What do you see in the future of PUNX?

I want to take PUNX international. I want to open up a few shops around the world; Cleveland, Paris, New York, London, really just a handful. I want the brand to remain grounded so that it doesn’t lose my vision and my expertise.

I also want to found PUNX magazine – a transparent and purely genuine magazine that focuses on local music, art, fashion, and news stories. I love writing, so I’d love to combine my writing capabilities and creative expression with my unconditional passion for fashion design and style…

Street Fashion Shoot Photography: Nikki Miller | Models: Kwynn and Devyn

MORE: See PUNX fashion and shop online at www.punxclothing.com.

You can also follow PUNX clothing on Instagram and Twitter.

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Victoria and the PUNX models on fashion week runway night


write for Mookychick