News & Runway

Designer to Watch: Ambit

With the likes of Gucci Group and LVMH buying up every possible competitor in sight and most small brands not having the budget to hire a public relations whiz to help get their work in front of the “right” people, it’s becoming harder and harder to spot true up-and-coming talent, which is why I was particularly excited to come across Ambit. The Brooklyn-based line is ripe with soft, timelessly classic pieces that can easily transition from season to season. Carefully crafted, the collection includes both ready-to-wear and accessories. We spoke to the designers behind the range, who astutely turned to Kickstarter to raise money to fund their Fall/Winter 2011 collection, about their background, challenges, living in NYC versus L.A., and more.

The Fashion Spot: Have you always wanted to get into the fashion industry? Can you tell us a little bit about your background?

Wray Serna: I have always appreciated certain aesthetic qualities from the time I was young until now. I see fashion as an expression just like photography and painting. My desire to get into the industry came out of wanting to share the aesthetic I love with consumers.

Amber Jimenez: I have pretty much always had a fascination with clothing that was born of my obsession with reading from a young age. I had a bit of a rough childhood so I was always trying to make my world a little bit fantastic. Although I didn't find much encouragement to pursue a fashion career from the people around me, I think if you told anyone who knew me growing up that I was designing clothing they wouldn't be surprised.

tFS: What are the biggest challenges with starting your own line?

WS: The biggest challenges with starting our own line would have to be finding time in our busy work schedules to start the company because we decided to fund the company ourselves, both of us work full-time jobs in order to support Ambit. 

AJ:  I am currently working for Albertus Swanepoel, a milliner, and have learned so much that has been helpful in starting our venture. I think we both feel really lucky for having so much support and so many sources of helpful information.

tFS: With two designers, how does your design process work?

WS: Amber designs the collection and we both go over, edit, and add pieces, it makes the process really easy when you have two brains working out the overall collection.

tFS: How are you going about setting yourself apart from all the other budding brands?

WS: We concurrently felt that there is a lack of ladylike elegance in the women's clothing market. This is something we have sought to address in our collections. Also, we are fascinated by unique and thoughtful details in clothing and by exploring these ideas we hope to differentiate ourselves.

tFS: For those that aren't familiar, how would you describe Ambit?  

WS: Ambit is an elegant womenswear line. It’s made from fabrics that are naturally produced and have a comfortable hand. Our silhouettes are body conscious and easy to wear.

tFS: What customer are you aiming for?

WS: The professional woman who appreciates design; this is a woman who is looking for clothing that is special and understated at the same time.

tFS: What made you decide to base yourself in New York over California?

WS: I enjoyed living in California, but I find that New York and its constant drive are great for Ambit. I’m constantly inspired by the culture, art, and people of New York City.

AJ: Having lived in Los Angeles I feel that New York and the fashion industry and the aesthetic here feel more appropriately related to my personal taste. There’s something unmistakable about the energy in New York…also, I don't drive.

tFS: You stock everything from jewelry to bodysuits to ready-to-wear, do you find it challenging working in so many areas versus concentrating on one?

WS: We feel that everything that is designed under our label is representative of our vision because we have few resources and Ambit is a labor of love we take it as our opportunity to explore our inspirations and we feel lucky to be at a point of exploration. As our brand grows we might hone in on certain points and expand on those ideas.

tFS: What's one thing you know now that you wish you had known when you started your line?

WS: We feel that every new experience has been a learning process for us. We have gained more knowledge with each collection and we agree that facing these challenges and learning these lessons has been invaluable.