OTRview X: Lindsey Lusignolo, Premier Fashion Designer
Lindsey Lusignolo is a premier fashion designer of couture bridal and evening wear. Her boutique showroom and studio is located on beautiful Main Street in Over-the-Rhine. She’s the subject of OTRview X.
You appreciate Over-the-Rhine. When did you first learn about and/or experience OTR? How has your perception of it changed since your first impression? Was it love at first sight?
I grew up in the secluded suburbs of West Chester, but my mother was very interested in showing me the culture of Cincinnati. When I was a little girl, she would bring me down on the weekends to Mt. Adams to the Art Museum or to Downtown to the Opera and the Symphony. She used these trips to the city not only to broaden my horizons, but she also instilled in me a sense of responsibility to where I came from, even though I didn’t live directly downtown, it is still my city. My first experience with OTR was during my auditions at SCPA. I walked into the main entrance of the school and I was captivated, I knew for many reasons that I had to go to there, and I felt an attachment to it and the surrounding community; its where I grew up, where I became who I am today. When I started school there, it was right after all the social unrest, Main st was a ghost town and I began to feel a sense of purpose to someday help bring it back.
I read in your Cincy Chic interview that you received a standing ovation after the premier of your collection at this year’s Cincinnati Fashion Week. What goes into creating and showing a collection at Fashion Week? How did it feel to have it received so favorably?
Designing and making a full collection to show to the public is a very rigorous, exciting, yet personal process. I put so much of myself into my work, I really love what I do and I throw myself into it. I design and hand make all of my gowns, it is truly grueling making so many pieces. Some wedding gowns take over 200 hours to make, so needless to say, I spent many endless night slaving over my sewing machine. It really is a blood, sweat, and tears process. I feel like each gown that I produce is a piece of me, of who I am, and to put myself out there to be judged by the public is very humbling. I have to be ready to take anything, but to be received by the community in that way… a standing “O”… was one of the most amazing experiences. I was completely overcome with emotion; I will always cherish that moment and be humbled by it.
Your new studio and showroom is located at 1329 Main Street. As a fashion designer, what led you to open your boutique/studio/showroom in OTR?
As a Fashion Designer in Cincinnati, there really is no better place to be than OTR. It is filled with Progressive, like-minded people that want to grow, while maintaining the culture of the neighborhood. Even though fashion is relevant to all of our lives, the industry is still somewhat “underground”; OTR creates that platform to still be seen, but remain a somewhat enigmatic persona.
How would you describe Cincinnati’s sense of style? There seems to be many style-centered ideas in OTR. Could you elaborate on why you think that is?
I think the best thing about OTR is its sense of style, individualistic. Each person, each store, each block, has its own identity, and there are no reservations about it. You know when you walk that first block into OTR; it takes on its own personality. Because it’s not about dressing a certain way, or maintaining a certain image, it’s about being yourself and expressing the unique attributes of each person and each store. Downtown is more managed than that, but that’s ok, it should be more commercial, more reserved. OTR then takes on even more responsibility to be the unique gem, the sweet spot of downtown.
To someone that doesn’t live/work/play in OTR, how would describe all the changes that are happening?
The changes here are absolutely beyond what I could have dreamed for OTR. The people here are remarkable, the energy to get things done, the passion for the community, and the power of the everyday. There is no case of the Mondays on Main St, we all just get here and get things done. From Final Friday’s to the new stores opening, to the new nightlife scene, OTR is reshaping itself into a bustling society of dreamers and doers, people who love where they live and are shaping it into what it they think could be.
What are your favorite things about OTR and what’s the one unique thing you wish you could add to it/the city?
I have to say my favorite thing about OTR is how much people love it. I have never been anywhere where so many people love their community, and do everything that they can to build into it. And everyone is a creative, with a dream, and the ambition to back it up. We all band together, support one another, and grow together. I can’t get enough of that energy, and it just keeps on growing. What I hope for, is that we never lose that sense of purpose, we never lose what brought us all here. I hope that as we grow and bring in more tourists and consumers from surrounding parts of the city, we all hold on to what makes us unique, we all hold on to that fire that has ignited our dreams to build, grow and live here.
Thank you, Lindsey, and much success to you!