- Alice Bell
Andrew Gallivan: Force of Fashion Nature
photos by bailee boyko, modeling by lala, floral masks by jessika doyel, styling by andrew gallivan, production by MOXI
It’s Saturday morning in Brooklyn Heights, and we’re all gathered around the living room waiting for Andrew Gallivan to arrive. Yet the man of the hour is nowhere to be found. Suddenly, as if on cue, he bursts through the front door. Andrew doesn’t merely enter a room, his energetic presence fills it. “That was a trek and a half,” he gasps as he starts grabbing clothes from his bag, sprinkling t-shirts and jeans across the queen sized bed and hanging dresses from the bedroom ceiling beams. Vegetable cream cheese smeared bagel in hand, he jumps right into styling out looks for his model and muse of the day, Lala.
Andrew’s latest creations are a playful mix of street and evening wear. He’s played upon the classic moto jacket silhouette, constructing it out of unexpected materials such as recycled PVC and hammered metallic silk and corseting it at the waist. At the other end of the spectrum are his evening gowns - the iconic chain neck slips and another one-off piece with sheer netting which he lovingly refers to as the “naked dress.”
He grows more animated when explaining the technique behind his designs. Currently he’s fixated on the polka dot and playing with its dimensions. “It’s this idea of polka dots being sweet and cute but at the same time also sexy,” Andrew says. Other new ideas he describes through a series of superlatives. The red, rabbit fur lined leather jacket he found at the Union Square Salvation Army for $20 is "insane", his plan to pair feathered 90s kitten heels with minimalist clothing will be "epic", and the traditional fashion week calendar is "sooo dead."
Because although Andrew enjoys participating in Nashville’s annual fashion week, he doesn’t need an exclusive show and expensive runway production to showcase his designs. He already has a number of his closest friends and acquaintances out wearing them. “My whole idea is about the real girl,” he says. Before he can go into too much detail though, he’s beckoned back into the other room to alter the hem of the dress Lala now has on.
“What would seamstress do” reads the worn pin cushion he carries with him for occasions like this. In addition to being the designer, stylist and creative director behind the shoot, he’s also the on-site tailor. “I can alter the sh*t out of stuff,” he says. “Most people don’t realize that like everything you wear should be altered to get it to truly look amazing.” Learning how to sew and tailor garments to his liking was a skill Andrew learned early on when he enrolled in a sewing class in the third grade. And by age 14, he was keeping himself busy through designing outfits and styling editorial shoots for his Barbie dolls. “I even fishlined them into trees to get their poses right,” he laughs.
Hemlines fixed, Lala climbs outside onto the fire escape for a photo. A moment of quiet awe passes amongst us as the midday sun hits the bronze metallic sheen of Andrew’s silk dress and biker jacket at all the right angles. “This is f*cking epic,” Andrew announces. We all nod in agreement as his photographer, Bailee, clicks away on her camera.
Two weeks later, everyone is reunited at the Lower East Side’s Ludlow House for MOXI MANAGEMENT and Andrew Gallivan’s collaborative “Take That Body Downtown” event. In the moments leading up to the first musical act by Richie Quake, Andrew is found running back and forth between the bar area and the bathroom. The largest stall is taken over by him and his girl gang, the group of friends and acquaintances he’s dressing for the event. Bags are piled on top of one another and hair straighteners and makeup bags cover the sink, but amidst all the chaos there is an order.
For every new girl who comes in, Andrew reaches into his suitcase and pulls out a design that fits her perfectly, each one completely different than the last. There’s Haley Vassar who stuns during her performance in a denim bikini top and laced up flared jeans, Bella donning a half denim, half transparent PVC midi dress, and Wallace, the party’s cohost who’s wearing a black mini dress with a chunky black chain snaked down the middle. I myself opt for a sea green metallic cami and matching slit skirt. By the time the performances begin, half the room is wearing an Andrew Gallivan original.
So while Andrew is currently devoted to designing full time and planning for the future, he is also aware of what is best for his brand in the present. He anticipates what prospective buyers and editors want to see, but more importantly he knows exactly what his customers like too, because they’re the girls he grew up with and the friends he interacts with on a daily basis. Unlike most young designers, Andrew has already established a solid fan base who love and feel good wearing his designs. “I’m just trying to be as smart as I can be while still being super creative,” he says.
SHOP Andrew Gallivan