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Featured Seller: Preston & Olivia

Mar 19, 2012

by prestonandolivia handmade and vintage goods

Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Dara Kent-Cobb, and I’m a Southerner by birth, New Yorker by choice. I’m living my dream daily here in NYC with my loving and talented husband and adorable pup, Lola.

I’m originally from a small town in Louisiana. It’s so small it doesn’t even have a stoplight, and I’m pretty sure I’m related to the majority who reside there. I’m a graduate of Louisiana State University, where I majored in textile, apparel, and merchandising. I love that I have Southern roots and I try to stay true to them in every aspect of life.

Apart from creating things, what do you do?
Apart from creating couture millinery pieces for Preston & Olivia, I am a full-time apparel design freelancer, and I shoot alongside my husband, Trent Cobb of Trent Bailey Photography. We love exploring all that New York has to offer, traveling to near and far places, and running in Central Park every chance we get. We recently bought bikes, so when the weather is good, we love to ride our bikes around the city. And we love love love coffee, so we spend lots of time trying out all the wonderful coffee shops located around the city.

What would be the title of your memoir? Why?
Don’t Worry, Everything is Going to be Amazing, because that’s what my husband tells me daily and he’s usually 99% right. I’m a huge worry wart, and I always try to hope for the best and prepare for the worst. Trent is always there to keep me focused, inspired, and optimistic.

Where does your inspiration come from?
As an apparel designer and huge lover of anything related to fashion, I’m always drawing inspiration from the runways and street style blogs. It’s so important to stay on top of the game and anticipate the future in this industry. Because my pieces are accessories, I feel they need to be beautiful enough to make the outfit, on-trend enough to complement any look, and classic enough to make them timeless pieces people will want to wear forever.

Aside from fashion, I would say I’m inspired by my Southern roots, my grandmother, NYC, everything preppy Americana, Paris in the past and present, and all works by Richard Avedon.

Who has been most influential in your craft?
I would have to say my husband. He inspires me daily and is always there to lift me up and encourage me to pursue my goals. Had it not been for his influence, I would never have made the leap to start my own LLC and really put myself out in the world as a couture milliner. Second to him would be my loving family and friends who believe in my talents, celebrate my successes, and are always encouraging me to do more.

When did you know you were an artist/maker?
I knew at a very early age that I was a creative person and I always preferred arts and crafts over other activities. I was also a dancer for 12 years. My mom is a very creative person and totally supported any artistic interests I had. There were many trips to Michael’s and Hobby Lobby, and she helped design and make so many of the costumes for my dance company.

If you could peek inside the studio of any artist, designer or craftsman (dead or alive), who would it be?
Hmm, that’s a tough one. I’m inspired by so many designers. I guess I would have to say that Diane von Furstenberg and Billy Reid are the two designers I’m always drawn towards. Combine their two very individual styles, and that’s my personal style. They both build their collections upon silhouettes and amazingly designed individual pieces you can use to build a wardrobe.

What handmade possession do you most cherish?
I love old hats, as I think they’re great references for drawing inspiration. I cherish those pieces; they were made back in a glamorous time when milliners were just as respected as couturiers.

How do you get out of your creative ruts?
Fortunately, I’ve never had to face the dilemma of getting through a creative rut. In fact, I have quite the opposite problem. Every time I begin to create a new collection, I have way too many ideas, I want to use too many fabrics and trims, and editing tends to be my Achilles heel. I’ve learned that I have to slow down and take time to think through the design process so that the final collection is cohesive and that every piece still makes a statement.

Where would you like to be in ten years?
I ten years I hope to still be living in New York City, still photographing beautiful work with my husband, and running a successful millinery company, Preston & Olivia.

What’s the most important question a couple should ask their wedding vendor?
Because I don’t consider myself a wedding vendor (I just happen to create wedding day hair accessories and typically work with brides-to-be before their big day), I don’t feel there’s one specific question of any greater importance than any other. I find that I have the most questions for brides when creating custom pieces. I love to hear their inspirations behind their big day, color stories, and their timeline. In the end, the most important thing is creating the perfect piece for each person in time for their big day.

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