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Janelle Funari New York | New York Fashion Week

How would you describe the overall theme of your latest collection?

The new collection has a couture sports wear inspiration. I am looking to couture for the craftsmanship and finishes, but also recognizing the importance of sportswear finished for comfort. My inspiration is directly from New York City streets as it is practical, yet edgy, luxury with an athleisure flair.

What inspired some of the looks that were seen in this show?

My inspiration comes from the Gatsby era of glamour elegance for the structure and metallics yet have the sophistication and luxury and comfort of sports wear and the edge and severity of New York with the use of leather, laser cut, and lacquered foiled snake.

Is there one piece from this collection that really stands out to you as a favorite? What makes it special to you, personally?

The pieces that stand out to me now will be a following.

Lacey pantsuit with printed PVC with Mongolian trim. I love this look for an alternative bride someone who is not traditional as a pantsuit rather then a dress. Also to the bride to be who is seeking an amazing stylish raincoat for that special day! I feel this stylish coat is necessary for the bride to be who wants to be prepared for a rainy day!

Lauren cocoon jacket with crop top and legging. I love this piece because it is all about the mixing of fabrics. We are using silk metallic lurex mixed with silk duchess laser cut, snake embossed leather, silver metallic foil printed floral mesh and compression lycra. This piece is very symbolic of where I am headed as a brand into the future. It shows a matrimony of couture and sportswear.......and shows the growth of the brand.

How did you start designing? Was it always something you’ve loved, or was it more of a suddenly discovered passion?

I started designing and sewing at age 9. According to my mother it was 3! It was a collaboration of working with my mother creating as she sewed the clothing for me! Then I began to design clothing with her, drape and make it as I got older! My passion was first dance choreography which began at (3) but then I realized my passion for fashion exceeded dance, so I decided to pursue my dreams and went to college for Fashion Design!

If you were given the opportunity to design a piece for something special - whether it would be a friend, family, or a celebrity - who would it be?

I love designing for my family! I am actually designing a complete wedding party right now for my wedding and I am very excited to see them all wearing my designs! I started in my youth by designing for my best friends. I do prefer to design for families for an special event whether it be a wedding, birthday, Bat mitzvah or pageant because it is an important day that will be forever remembered! I love to share that joy and excitement of creation with each and every one of my clients!

Many of your fans and followers love seeing pictures of your adorable French bulldog, Maxine (who is usually seen showing off some of your high fashion doggy designs)! Do you think you would possibly be creating more outfits for other pampered puppies in the future?

Yes! I have started line with 3 items. dog leash, wedding dress, and city dress all to coordinate with the Janelle Funari collection! My future will be jackets with fur, rain coats, t-shirts and harnesses. My focus is on the French bulldog body, pug and American bulldog! These types of dogs can never find anything that fits right that is Fashionable (including my own pup!) This is why I have started the line!!!

What plans do you have for future collections? Is there anything specific that you really want your future designs to portray?

The future of the line will be more artisanal looking to couture but also staying up with technological fabrics for advancement giving the brand an edgey look. I love making garments that feel like a fantasy that bring confidence to the wearer yet are practical and comfortable! Comfort is #1 for me especially living in NYC and having to walk NY city streets! My long term goal is expansion to a MUST HAVE shoe and hand bag for a city girl! This is on the horizon.........

After New York Fashion Week, what are you hoping to accomplish as a designer?

I am hoping to accomplish with NYFW for the girls who walked for me to fulfill their dream and to show the world my collection is there for a family life from their first birthday to your wedding! I want to be apart of my client's life and your happiest moments by creating fashion for your family and families to come!

Where do you see your designing career going in the future? What are you going to do to make sure that you get there?

I see the collection explanding to active wear exercise apparel, handbags, dog collars and harnesses and shoes! I am planning to go to school to learn creation of shoes and leather products and begin to prototype sample and test them myself in city streets! Maxine and me!

Is there anyone who you would like to thank for helping you grow as both a person, or as a designer?

I have to thank first my mother and father for teaching me all I know in life and to never give up, who believe in me, supported and guided me and gave me wings to fly! Second to my grandmother who pushed me, & loved me dearly, and told me I would make it in NYC! To my ex boss from Eberjey intimates who taught me that less is more! To think longer about your designs and to always show your best work! I do believe it is important to show less items that mean more! You always get the best response!


Thanks for reading designer Janelle Funari's interview at her #NYFW show!

Preview and purchase the Fall 2016 issue:


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