Top 5: Sylvia Heisel, Fashion-Tech Designer



I remember Sylvia from way back when I was at Sassy and we would be so psyched to get invited to her runway show. She started designing  in the ’80’s – Henri Bendel was her first account (not bad!) and this was when she was in college studying art history. Then Sylvia Heisel became a real collection (as opposed to a couple of pieces) around 1990. I recently spied her on the Lower East Side and knew for sure it was her when I whipped my head around and saw the glow-in-the-dark patch on the back of her jacket (a common theme in her work). Now Sylvia is all about using new technologies and innovations to make clothes and fashion, working with big-scale and independent brands using 3-D printing in product development (think buttons, jewelry, accessories and runway pieces). As she puts it, “I just believe in sustainability and that everything we do has to be sustainable.” So even though Sylvia’s not the biggest consumer, she was able to squeeze out just enough things for this feature. Yay!


 1. Adidas Ultraboost X the #1 item on my wishlist for fall 2017.  I work with new technologies and sustainable materials for fashion and spend a lot of time on my feet or at the gym. After years of putting up with stressed-out feet and blisters from heels and strappy sandals I’ve switched to shoes I can run, dance and take long walks in. Adidas is doing amazing things with 3D print manufacturing technologies and sustainable materials. This shoe is made from Parley yarn that is spun from reclaimed and recycled ocean waste and the colors match my fall wardrobe.
2. Stickle’s dish towel “I have a weekend home in Rhinebeck and Stickle’s Variety Store is my go-to for almost everything. The owners are 3rd generation and they’ve been in the same location since 1946. Their old-school retail vibe is the perfect after a week of fashion-tech and their 1950’s dish-towels and tote bags make a great house gift.”
3. Simply Venom Cream  “98% of the time I am the clean-skin, no-make-up, all- natural, no-labels, get-it-at-the-health-food-store consumer but a friend brought me samples of these moisturizers and I have to say they’ve improved my skin A LOT. Sometimes chemistry beats nature.”

4. Yesness Drawstring Backpack. “The best thing about getting old is reconnecting with old friends and finding out they’re even cooler than they were before. Bernadette and I went to high school together and didn’t see each other for years. Now she travels around the world to source vintage textiles that are sewn into backpacks and cross-body yoga bags at a factory in Chicago.”


5. Shapeways pendant necklace “3D printing is used to prototype and cast much of the jewelry that’s made today but most 3D printed jewelry you can buy is pretty terrible (or meant for a very different consumer than me). This is one of my favorite pieces.  An infinite spiral inspired by the dawn of time this design reminds me to calm down and take a deep breath. I own it in matte black steel and polished white. If anyone wants to get me a really really nice gift I would love to have it in white gold or platinum.”


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  1. How lovely to hear about Sylvia Heisel. I worked in the buying office at Bendels back then- and remember her and her lovely collection. I still have at least one top from that first collection. What a super talent!

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