Varela + Brooks | Fall 2011 Collection .. A Label to Look Out For

Varela + Brooks: Clean, Colorful, Contemporary

By: Amanda Montgomery, guest blogger

“Women cherish fashion because it rejuvenates them, or at the very least renews their spirit.” – Madame de Preizeux

Scoring an ‘All Access’ pass to New York Fashion Week for reporting purposes involves a rather intricate layer of protocol and procedure.  Each year, many an admirable fashion journalist fight tooth and nail for this insider privilege to cover the haute couture, hot gossip, and season trends that will shape future style influences.  A pass like this is the ultimate golden egg, bee’s knees, cat’s meow… needless to say it’s virtually impossible to acquire unless you happen to know Anna Sui personally.

Although I’ve yet to meet Ms. Anna Sui, with a wave of luck shifting in my favor, during the last week I WAS allowed an inside peak and interview opportunity with the brilliant designers behind the astounding new line dubbed Varela + Brooks; a brand name crafted to represent the blended talents from founders Isabella Varela and Ashlee Brooks who are premiering their upcoming Fall 2011 collection this summer with a series of shows scheduled to debut their work starting in May.

In watching their debut Look Book for this upcoming season come together, I put pen to pair, took pictures like crazy, and set hard to work collecting the deeper, inside story. Turns out that a backstage pass is actually pretty helpful.

Reporter Tip: Bring Coffee, Get Answers

Partners Varela and Brooks are not only applying new techniques to feminine flair but more importantly they are addressing issues in fashion that they feel have fallen beyond the way side.  The Fall 2011 collection reflects simple, elegant pastels which are then mixed with attractive fabric textures that merge into one another and create a line that stands for all things playful, clean, and contemporary.

All Great Designers Have a Good Rack

Digging into a delicious conversation about their new line with these inspiring women only gave me a taste for more.  So between changes I asked a couple of questions…

Q: What icons, influences, or ideas have consistently inspired the brand identity behind Varela + Brooks and will continue to do so?
AB: “Audrey Hepburn embodied a type fresh elegance in everything she did, so in our designs we are capturing hints of that enlightened/bright look yet making it more textured with richer colors & fabrics.”

Audrey H ... Inspires their look to be Great

Q: Who are you attempting to engage and design for when creating each season? Sassy Socialites, Bohemian Beauties, or Corporate Career Girls?
IV: “Each time we approach design, we always include several pieces that transition well from day to night, but the material is not so rugged that it feels heavy. Women across the board strive to wear polished looks that pair well to their personality, and the elements in a dress or the contemporary pant we create are also made to fill that need.”

Tasteful Teal

Q: As Varela + Brooks represents the design team’s namesake, how does the labor become divided when it comes time to roll out a new season?
IV: “We are lucky to have one another because there are clear areas where each of our strengths and weaknesses are readily identifiable.  That being said, the line is always designed when we go through a process of sketching, review, revisions, then planning together. Our feedback to one another always makes the end product stronger, and the designs are a collaboration from each of our creative talents.”

Collaboration With Designs

Collaboration With Production

Q: What is a unique aspect within your line that will change with each season?
AB: “Every season different graphic designs that tie into the collection’s larger theme will then be translated on to fabric panels. Drawing out a unique artistic element then applying it to cloth offers a distinct freedom to let our imagination explore the impossible and bring it into the complete outfit.”

Graphic Prints that Shift with the Season

Q: When preparing to coordinate and produce the next collection what are three ingredients that help expedite the process?
IV + AB:  “Every single photo shoot, runway show, or other event must have a well rounded accessories collection (i.e. jewelry, shoes, etc.), a effective setting that plays off of the season’s concept, and an AMAZING group of photographers, stylists, and personnell that will make things run like clock work. In working Sergio we see consistent work because he can orchestrate all instructions and tasks at hand effectively.”

Ingredient: Shoes (A lot of Shoes)

Ingredient: Sun Lit Setting

Ingredient: Capable Crew

Q: What makes the different pieces in your collection blend together and evolve into a fashionable ensemble?
IV:  “Certain pieces in the upcoming collection are designed to stand alone and only require that certain flair of jewelry or a great shoe; but other pieces such as a Navy Peacoat play off a sheer, pastel blouse and work better layered. When combining the garment, working out the correct color scheme is the most important task. After that the look takes on a personality and becomes envisioned into an outfit.”

Posh Yet Proper

Q: Where will Varela + Brooks go next season? What can we look forward to?
AB: “Next season’s collection will continue to be an extension of clean lines, fresh colors, and femininity but the spring atmosphere also allows us to be more adventurous with graphic prints and illustrations. In setting out on this journey together we both declared from the beginning that our dreams had no limits… over time we hope to also develop shoes, swimwear, accessories, and more.  We’re known to say the next season will never be complete, there is always more to come.”

Stay Tuned for Sexy Seasons to Come..

At the end of the shoot when everyone cheered for a great day’s work and wrapped up, I smiled to myself and tucked away my notebook.  With these designers there certainly is a great deal more coming and we should all keep an eye out for what surprises they’ll throw at us next.


Amanda Montgomery is a proud University of Alabama alumnus, and one of the youngest Social Media Specialists with the firm Social Media Delivered.  She helps clients orchestrate and execute strategic, creative and successful community content campaigns. As a Recruitment Supervisor, Montgomery also serves as the Intern Committee Chair. Amanda is currently pursuing a Master’s degree at the University of Texas-Dallas in Emerging Media & Communication. She is an active member of the Dallas Ad League, the Dallas Press Club, and the Dallas Contemporary Foundation. Connect with her via Twitter, @acmontgomery or at

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