Taryn Liberman: Fashion Designer, Owner of Moderndrift Clotherie

Taryn Liberman, fashion designer and owner of Moderndrift Clotherie, photographed at The House in Scottsdale, by Nicki Escudero

Taryn Liberman, fashion designer and owner of Moderndrift Clotherie, photographed at The House in Scottsdale, by Nicki Escudero

Taryn Liberman

Taryn Liberman had no fashion design experience, but after an inspiring trip to Hawaii and within only about six months, she designed and produced her own line of resort and beachwear. The brand, Moderndrift Clotherie, is characterized by light and flowy fabrics and bold prints and includes tops, a dress and shorts. The 28-year-old Scottsdale resident launched the line in June and plans on an official launch party this December, besides bringing it to farmers markets and boutiques in addition to having her current e-commerce and Etsy business. She talked about where her drive comes from and how she started her line, as well as why she’s happy she lives in Arizona, below.

What brought you to Arizona?

My current company, Republic Services, brought me here from Los Angeles. I’m a Sales Supervisor. I was born in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, went to college at the University of Central Florida and got a degree in marketing, then moved to Orange County and Santa Monica with my company. I came to Tucson, then came to Phoenix and have been here for a year.

What made you want to start Moderndrift Clotherie?

I’ve always had an entrepreneurial background. I’ve made jewelry, draw, and paint, and I used to be a makeup artist. I always liked arts and crafts projects.

I went to Hawaii in January and was fascinated with the colors and life there that was so laid-back. I came back and immediately decided to design a beachwear/resort line.

What’s your first memory of being interested in fashion?

I’ve been interested in fashion since I’ve had Barbie dolls when I was a little girl. I was a makeup artist for MAC Cosmetics in college, so I had already been into clothing, fashion and makeup — anything that had to do with color and art.

Living in California, where that’s a huge market, you get wrapped up in the fashion, boutiques and life and culture there. I had always been the one my friends came to for advice when it came to clothing and makeup.

How do you follow trends?

Most of it is through online blogs. I have a lot of friends who started their own businesses or blogs, and I get inspired by them.

One of my favorites is called Caviar Taste, Tuna Fish Wallet. The blogger writes about what’s trendy in New York, which is interesting, because East Coast fashion is very different than West Coast fashion. West Coast fashion is more laid-back, big T-shirts, more casual, where you get a little bit more intense in the New York feel. It’d be neat to have more of the East Coast here.

Another thing that inspires me is going shopping at local boutiques, such as Trouve.

How did you put your line’s vision into action?

I networked with local designers here, learned about what they did, and got a Book for Dummies and read through that. Within six months, I was done with the production of the line.

How do you create the clothes?

I’m the creative visionary for it. I hired a contractor who handmakes every piece. I went to Los Angeles multiple times and purchased my fabric there, so most of my stuff is one- to few-of-a-kind pieces.

What was your vision for the line?

I wanted to do one-size-fits-most, from young teenager all the way up to someone of a more mature audience. I want it to be classy but eye-catching at the same time. I want it to be something you can throw in bag, whether you’re running around the city, or grabbing lunch, or want to go to the pool or the beach, or to the country. I worked on four different pieces — two dresses, a tank top and a pair of shorts.

I’m inspired by movies, such as Vanilla Sky, The Talented Mr. Ripley and Great Expectations. I think of these women characters, and these strong, creative, artsy women also inspired me.

How do you choose your fabrics?

All my fabrics are a rayon silk blend or a chiffon polyester blend. It’s a one-size-fits-most, that fits from a 00-14.

I had a couple pieces I’ve had since high school I loved, and I liked how they fit and flowed, but I wanted to make them more modernized.

The vision came from me thinking what I’d like to wear when I’m traveling — what’s classic and timeless? Most of the materials I use are wrinkle-free. All the fabrics I get are unique — you can’t just get them mass-produced.

What inspired the name of the line?

This clothing works for travel. All pieces flow and catch the wind. The clothes look great in pictures, as well as when walking down the street. It’s about relaxing, flowing and drifting. It can go beyond beach/resortwear.

What are your tips for haggling when it comes to fabrics?

Be very nice, and tell them where you need to be. Go in at a lower price point then you want to be, and they’ll meet you in the middle. You can also get discounts based on how much you purchase.

What are the biggest challenges to being an entrepreneur, and what are the benefits?

You need to go in with a budget. Leave a little cushion there. If you want something to get done, you’ll find a way to do it.

I can see a challenge in the future being how to get this into people’s hands. My next challenge will be to create awareness for what I’ve done.

I’m passionate because it’s who I am. I get excited when I tell people I design a small clothing company. This could lead into something to build for the future.

Are there any challenges specific to the design industry?

The challenge is, how do you create something so unique? How do I set myself apart from others, and how can you be heard throughout the masses? It’s networking and partnering up.

How would you characterize the Phoenix fashion scene?

The Phoenix fashion scene is niche and small and has a homey feel, and I like that. Everyone knows someone, whereas when you deal with L.A., it’s so massive. I like it here because you can build a lot of local relationships.

The challenges here, from what I’ve seen, is that it could be a stronger-knit group.

What girl should wear your clothes?

Someone who wants to travel and get away for the weekend, and just wants to throw something on and not have to worry about it, yet be fashionable and eye-catching. It’s for someone who likes bold, bright prints and wants something that just flows.

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