Somsack Sikhounmuong. My Interview With Madewell’s Head of Design

In celebration of Madewell finally planting its fashionable roots in Louisville by opening a new store this month (details for the opening are here), I had the opportunity to interview the brand’s head of design, Somsack Sikhounmuong. After chatting a bit about fashion, I came to the realization that Somsack’s approach to style is as effortless as the mantra behind the Madewell brand itself. If you are local and read The Voice Tribune, the feature is also now on newsstands.

How do you describe your style?
Deep down I’ve always been a “jeans and T-shirt” kind of a guy. I love classics, and I love things that feel designed and understated.

What are your favorite pieces?
I’ve just bought two pairs of the same white Adidas Stan Smiths. One pair I wear and the other I hold onto in case of an emergency. I grew up wearing them and they’ve recently been reissued. There’s also a bit of nostalgia there, and they go with anything, which is important.

What made you decide to pursue a career in fashion?
I like that design is essentially problem solving. As a kid, I liked math and being given a task that has a solution. So that, combined with my fascination with my grandmother’s closet, made fashion an obvious choice.

What do you love most about your job?
Being creative. Whether it be during a fitting, marketing meeting, styling walk-through or a sketch review with my team, I enjoy that part the most.

How would you describe a Madewell woman?
Creative, authentic and unfussy.

What are some must-have pieces from the Madewell fall collection?
Our jeans, leather goods (we have some amazing bags and boots) and a great piece of outerwear.

Are there any trends you wish would go away or come back?
Trends have a funny way of coming back into style – even the scariest ones – so I’m always a little hesitant when answering that question. Lucky for me personally and for the Madewell brand, we are huge fans of what I like to call “tried and true” pieces. For instance, a great pair of jeans won’t ever go out of style.

What are you looking forward to wearing most this fall?
I’m definitely a summer baby, so I’ll be in summer mode until the very last moment. That being said, I haven’t really looked that far ahead yet.

Do you have a fashion icon?
I have so many , but Jane Birkin, my grandma and Geoffrey Beene are just three.

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17 thoughts

  1. Love reading your interview as it’s great to be able to get an insight into designers. I think as we get older you start to realise that great style is about keeping things simple but with a nod to new trends, after all can you ever go wrong with jeans & a blazer?!
    Jane xx

  2. I loved reading this interview as it’s always great to get an insight into designers & have to agree about the Madewell woman being unfussy. After all can you ever go wrong by keeping it classic with a great pair of jeans & stunning jacket?!
    Jane xx

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