If you’re a fan of that adorable bow top worn by one of Beyonce’s dancers in her 9/11 music video and Katy Perry’s assortment of fruit printed outfits, then you’ll easily fall in love with the woman behind it all. Julie Mollo is a hidden gem in the world of celebrity styling and fashion designing. Based out of her adorable apartment in Brooklyn New York, meet the next Betsey Johnson of fashion.
What’s your story with fashion? Did you always want to be a fashion designer?
Fashion is in my blood. My grandmother was always making my mother’s clothes and my mother was always super crafty and taught me how to sew items like pillows and quilts. Gwen Stefani is my ultimate inspiration, and No Doubt has been my favorite band since the 3rd grade, when I was around that age I would read interviews about how Gwen would make her own clothes and because I wanted to be like Gwen, I wanted to make my own clothes too. When I was in high school the passion became serious and I started taking art classes in school and fashion design classes anywhere that I could find them. I filled my schedule with my passion, knew I wanted to go to NYC, chose to attend Pratt Institute for fashion design in 2006 and the rest is history!
You made clothes for Katy Perry and one of your designs is in a Beyoncé video, what did those moments feel like?
Those moments are a high like nothing else. It’s an unbelievable feeling to see your clothing worn by the people you look up to, and once it happens you want it to happen again and again. To see a crowd react to your clothing makes you feel like just as much of a rock star as the person in them. I was able to stand on the side of the stage at the Today Show when Katy wore my watermelon romper and I was just so thrilled to see the reaction. I had to hold back my happy tears and keep it pro-fesh. I design so much for Megan Nicole, an LA-based singer who has an enormous following on social media, as well as on YouTube, where she got her start. When I post a photo of her wearing my clothing the reaction is immediate and wild. Her fans are very intense and very young because I’ve worked with Megan so much they all know me and write me and man, my phone goes wild. I love that people know and love what I do, as long as my clothing makes you happy then I’m happy.
After working with Katy Perry, what celebrity are you after next? Who would you love to work with?
I would LOVE to work with Meghan Trainor. I met with her back in March and she absolutely loved me (a little too much, she actually grabbed my boobs, haha), but I’m still waiting to hear back from her on that…ha. And if Gwen Stefani ever wore my clothes I think I would just fall over and die. That would be the end of Julie Mollo. I love working with musicians, but I would also love to work with Victoria Justice, Hailee Steinfeld, all of the young, fun, girls of Hollywood.
What would you do differently in college, knowing where you are now?
When I was in college I had no intention of starting a business. I wish I was more prepared. I had no clue what I was in for and I wish that I had looked into wholesalers and manufacturers and putting a small line of goods together much earlier on. I wish I had gone into the stores that I wanted to carry my line, I wish I prepared for my dreams to come true before they did. It wasn’t until years later that I put a full line together.
What makes you, you? How do you remain authentically you and in an industry full of so much talent and competition?
I don’t have a very good poker face, this is the only person I know how to be. Being a genuine human being is so important in this industry (and in life, obvi). It is also very rare. The key is finding your people and doing your thing. The way I live is the only way I know how to. It’s not for everyone and it’s not always easy, but it’s the only way I know. Build your team of supporters and grow with each other, developing your skills, personality and aesthetic every step of the way.
How does the “ambitious girl” have a love life? Is there such thing as work/life balance to you?
The ambitious girl is usually a dreamer. I definitely am. I am a sappy, single, hopeless romantic. All of the high points in my career have happened while I was single, and I don’t think that’s a coincidence. I think it’s very important to socialize and date and network and put in that face time in real life, but a relationship can be a lot of work and a lot of time, especially in the beginning. When you’re building your career, especially when you are working for yourself, you need to be selfish, and you can’t be selfish in a relationship. I’m looking for someone that is as ambitious as I am and understands the hustle. Someone that can be my reward for working hard all day. (If you know anyone have them email me. Haha, but really..)
If you had to do a Ted Talk, what would it be about?
I think my Ted Talk would be about making that first move for yourself and having nothing to lose by trying. So many people don’t do something because they’re afraid of the outcome. If you never try then you don’t know how it will go. A lot of people think I did this wild thing by contacting Katy Perry, but all did was send an email, and my career was born.
What’s next for Julie Mollo?
What’s next for me? Ideally, I’m expanding my line every season with more pieces and more stores carrying my line, and I’m not sewing anything. I outsource production on my line, but I would love to have a sales rep, a PR team, and an on-staff seamstress to sew my custom clothing and get to a point where I am just overseeing everything. That would rule. In the meantime, I will hustle until it happens.
Photography by Alexander August Photography.