January 17, 2014 by Jennifer Lam
Everyone looks good in black. The shade is slimming, chic and glamorous — all in one color. As Coco Chanel once said, “Black has it all. [Its] beauty is absolute. It is the perfect harmony.” Monochrome has the world scrambling to piece together minimalist outfits and the brand Black Wednesday was created as the embodiment of this trend. Designers Diana Bader and Lindsay Leichner founded Black Wednesday in 2011 “to bring [their] wildest fantasies to life.” According to fashion, food and entertainment website DailyCandy, Black Wednesday seems to be inspired by the girl child of Morticia and Gomez Addams. The brand takes basic pieces such as crop tops, maxi dresses and skirts to a whole new level using unconventional, sleek silhouettes and a variety of textures. Ranging from statement pieces such as the Semi-Precious Dress (a backless mesh number) to quality basics such as the Illicit Pant, Black Wednesday is a contemporary twist on gothic fashion. Their locally-made creations can be found at Urban Outfitters, Dolls Kill and Edge of Urge, as well as Kiki Hughes and the Geisha House located on North 3rd Street.
As Black Wednesday is a Philadelphia-based fashion label and was founded by Drexel University alumni, we decided to interview these two lovely ladies to take a peek into the fashion industry after graduation.
Black Wednesday’s two most recent collections, fall and winter 2013’s “Meet the Family” and spring and summer 2014’s “Rich Girl Problems,” fully embrace the bitonal trend. We asked the designers which trends they hope will make a comeback and which they hope to leave in 2013. “The trend that needs to resurface is wearing black for up to four years while you’re in mourning,” Leichner said, a sentiment that is clearly supported by Black Wednesday’s consistent black-and-white palette. She also hopes that mom jeans never resurface into the style world, saying, “Put them away, they don’t look hot on anyone.”
In the interview, each revealed their personal favorite pieces to date. “Our fringe leather neckpiece called the Voodoo Top is kind of my baby,” Bader said. “It’s actually from my senior collection and was a major inspiration for the whole ‘Meet the Family’ collection.” Co-designer Leichner mentioned the Morticia Dress as her favorite design because “[it] shows off the perfect amount of skin.” The two agreed that they have had the most fun and success with their dress designs.
As Drexel alumni, both feel that the faculty of the Drexel fashion design department really set the foundation for Black Wednesday. The two designers graduated in 2010, only one year prior to creating the brand. Bader reminisced about former professors: “Juanita [Phillips] schooled us in perfection when it comes to constructing garments. Roberta [Gruber] always got straight to the point and did not sugarcoat any of her constructive criticism, which is really what you need to make it in the fashion industry.” Her favorite classes during her time at Drexel were the senior collection courses, where Bader learned how to manipulate and work with leather. She mentioned that this is one of the most exciting skills she learned at the University. Leichner’s favorite course at Drexel was Lingerie Design, taught by Renee Chase at the time. She added, “I really enjoyed learning about the proper construction of lingerie along with more detailed handwork. It was crazy how much time goes into creating something so small!”
Although Black Wednesday keeps the two constantly on the move, these ladies find time to relax as well. When asked about their hobbies outside of fashion, Bader mentioned her two beloved cats named Slayer and Fat Cat. She prefers to spend her leisure time with the two of them, as well as attend concerts. The two have made the trek to music festival Bonnaroo for the past three years. They hope to attend again this summer. During the days she can take a break from her busy schedule, Leichner favors the simple joy of watching movies on her bed.
For current fashion design students Bader shares her wisdom, “Always stay true to who you are. As a creative you have to express your individuality, create an identity for all of your work and never just settle if you don’t actually believe in it.”
Looking to the future, Bader and Leichner are currently working on Black Wednesday’s fall/winter 2014 collection, drawing inspiration from witchcraft. The collection will also introduce a few new fabric choices that they are both excited for. They are looking forward to constantly working on growing as a brand, while always staying true to Black Wednesday.
As the witches on “American Horror Story: Coven” say, “On Wednesdays we wear black.”