People think fashion designers are snobby and ride around in limos with sunglasses on at night. That’s not really my vibe. I ride around on a Vespa when I’m not on a Citi Bike. I’m most comfortable either barefoot on the weekends in Montauk or in sneakers. I try to start my day with a good deed, like connecting people or sending a thank-you gift if they’ve done something nice. And I listen to standup comedy every morning when I’m getting ready. Fashion is meant to be fun, so I try to make clothes that make people feel optimistic and positive.

I’ve had some tragedy in my life, so I chose to think about how lucky I am to have a family and to find love and to be able to do what I love for a profession. I made that choice to have the glass half full. It’s hard. Sometimes you really have to struggle to figure it out and push forward. But in the end, what are the choices? You either do that or you curl up into a ball.

I had a very artistic, nurturing upbringing where I was encouraged to explore the boundaries of creativity. It was a way for my mom to encourage us to gain confidence and practice self-expression and not feel that we had to fit into this elevated lifestyle that was all around us in Barrington. I started hand-sewing when I was 7 and machine-sewing when I was 9. I made clothes all through my childhood. In high school I had my own sense of style and would go rogue. I loved the treasure hunt of finding vintage clothes at yard sales and mixing them with the classics.

When I first got to the School of the Art Institute, fashion was a side interest. I was more interested in painting and drawing. Then I worked in an art studio as a summer intern and hated it. So I was like, Let’s explore this fashion thing a bit more, it will be an easier way to make a living — which is a joke in itself. I was really, really naive. I didn’t even know there were factories that made clothes. But I think my naiveté might have been what got me through — the pathological optimism and not taking no for an answer.

I have stamina, but I do not have patience. They’re two different things.

Surfing is meditative. It’s something that you have to be completely present to do. You’re at the mercy of Mother Nature, and you have no control over anything except your own body and your own skill. I’m not saying I’m good, but I am passionate and I travel the world to do it. Every day in the fashion industry is a risk-taking, pressure-filled experience. Surfing is just a continuation of that. I have a titanium sleeve on my neck because I had to have surgery after snapping it on a big wave. I’m not good at relaxing.

Never feel like you’ve made it. That’s the most dangerous feeling you can ever have. You lose your edge. You lose your ambition. You stop trying.