Top Local Designers In Philadelphia

November 17, 2010 12:01 PM

Home to several textile and design schools, many graduates choose to remain in Philadelphia to develop their vision and grow their brand. The city is a nurturing environment for those who enjoy an intimate relationship with their consumer audience. Here are several individuals who are great contributors to the Philadelphia design population. – Lindsay Tucker



Sarah Van Aken (SAVA)

Address: 1700 Sansom Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Phone Number: 1-866-960-9800

In 2010, Sarah Van Aken was been able to realize her dream of making hand- and locally-made women’s wear from sustainable fabrics. Each dress, blouse, skirt and pant is constructed by trained craftspeople from organic, fairtrade materials just a few floors above the boutique. The shapes and items are basic, but the patterns–and the social consciousness behind her designs–are what make Van Aken’s line distinct.



Kristen Haskin Simms

Address: n/a
Phone Number: 1-888-545-3128

A native Philadelphian, Kristen Haskin Simms produces a fashion-forward but historically-linked aesthetic with her line, Strangefruit, and was recently a contestant on the 8th season of Project Runway. She began as a graphic designer, then a t-shirt designer and finally, produced her first ready-to-wear collection. The manifesto on the home page of her website is a perfect indication of her individuality and designs, which are twists on traditional jacket, dress and shirt forms. With Simms’ pieces, you can “be strange,” just as she encourages.



Carmelita Martell

Address: Carmelita Couture
17 North 3rd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Phone Number: (215) 925- 3207

Carmelita Couture is the label under which Carmelita Martell designs sugar-sweet, body hugging dresses and separates. Known for her fun party dresses, Martell gives simple and traditional silhouettes a quirky punch through sculptural draping and bright patterns. With sequins, animal prints and big geometric prints, it is no wonder she proclaims her designs as “fashion candy,” or that they’ve been worn by young Hollywood stars on the red carpet.



Le Tran

Address: call for address, by appointment only
Phone Number: (215) 546-5975

For every wedding, prom or other special event, LELE by Le Tran is a great destination for you to get your dream dress. Tran works closely and considerately with the customer to create the perfect dress. She outlines the dressmaking process on her website, but that cannot convey the fun and excitement of designing your dress to look best on only you. Tran synthesizes quality with clarity to help each client walk away with the dress or gown of any shape, cut or color.



Typhaney Shanker

Address: n/a
Phone Number: (484) 843-1829

Tyhpaney Shanker has been creating earrings, necklaces, bracelets and rings under the name Typhaney B Jewelry for over a decade. Over time, she has experimented with various styles, from asymmetrical and industrial to delicate pieces using natural materials. She plays on these inspirations by echoing organic shapes with commercial materials to create a balanced contrast. Each item is made-to-order by Typhaney herself and comes in limited quantities.

Lindsay Tucker is a freelancer who enjoys all things fashion and all things Philadelphia.  She co-authors the blog WORN in love which details the developing fashion scene and events in the city.

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