Park City-based Armor and Arrows to show at Los Angeles, New York fashion weeks
January 29, 2018
If you had asked Kristin Silvestri a year ago where she thought her business would be, the New York Fashion Show would have been toward the bottom of her list. But in a few weeks' time, she and her fashion line will be presenting at the renowned show.
Silvestri, a Park City-native, started her fashion company Armor and Arrows three years ago while living in Los Angeles. Since moving back to Park City in 2016, the business has expanded. Now, she is going to be showing her brand's clothing and accessories at the New York Fashion Show in February and the Los Angeles fashion show in March.
The designer did not grow up dreaming of the day that she would be dressing 20 models for the runway. She wanted to be a journalist, and studied the subject at a university in California while playing soccer for the school. But then, she started working for a fashion magazine called OCEAN Style and was transfixed by the industry.
She chose to pursue her new dream in fashion wherever it led, and ended up in Los Angeles. Two weeks after arriving, a designer hired her to be an assistant.
"I owe a debt of gratitude for all of my knowledge because I was able to work with her, and I learned everything on the backside of running a fashion brand," she said.
After leaving that position, she spent a few years helping smaller fashion brands launch. Finally, she worked up the courage to start her own.
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"I sold out in two weeks when I first started," she said. "I was like, 'Oh, I'm doing something right.' It's really fun to see that kind of response."
The inspiration for Silvestri's work comes from a quote by fashion photographer Bill Cunningham that says, "Fashion is the armor to survive the realities of everyday life." She makes her clothes and jewelry in order to give power and strength to individuals, especially women.
"When you feel really good in what you are wearing and confident, it's your armor," she said. "It gets you through the day and any sort of life challenges."
Like Silvestri, the clothes represent a blend of interests. The style of the apparel and jewelry mixes feminine silhouettes and edgy rock-and-roll designs.
When Silvestri decided to return to her home of Park City, she worried that stepping away from the West Coast's fashion mecca would hinder her progress. Soon, she realized her move had the opposite effect. Away from the saturated market of Los Angeles, she was able to expand her brand from being in three stores to 20 and began showing her pieces at shows.
Her first show was the Utah Fashion Week last March. It was a fun challenge and a gateway to another world of possibilities. From then on, opportunities have come knocking on her door.
RAW Artists, which puts on an art show with all art forms, invited Silvestri to its show in June. She was given the option of doing another show with them in the city of her choice and selected Los Angeles. On the day of the show in L.A., she received a call from another company that puts on shows during Los Angeles and New York Fashion Weeks. They wanted her to come to fashion week.
Silvestri was speechless.
"It has just kind of snowballed this last year with these fashion shows," she said.
Silvestri, who also works full time as a scholarship advisor at Park City High School, said that it has been a challenge balancing her two roles since both demand a lot of her time.
She spends a full work day at the school and a full work night at home, designing, cutting and sewing. Plus, she has had to find models, hair stylists and make-up artists for the shows all in about two months.
For the New York show, she is creating a new line for 20 models, which will add up to about 50 items. Before preparing for the show, she had only ever outfitted 12 models.
"It's been insane," she said. "What is sleep anymore?"
Yet she also said she knows how lucky she is to have the opportunity. Being able to push herself and be creative is where she thrives.
Since many stylists and stores attend fashion weeks, Silvestri hopes that she is able to get more exposure and have more people selling and wearing her designs. But in her mind, getting the chance to show at fashion week is success enough.
"It's a lot of stress and anxiety," she said. "But at the end, seeing these girls walk and bringing the clothing to life is just breathtaking. …That in itself is so fulfilling, whether or not I get one store or five stores or 20 stores from this."
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