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An Interview with Candice Cuoco

Candice Cuoco is 27 years old and lives in San Francisco. She is the founder of couture fashion house CCUOCO. She has forged her way in the fashion world, creating collections that intertwine sophistication and provocativeness, and is currently appearing on Project Runway as a contestant.  

As a designer, Candice’s philosophy is to create pieces that empower women and give them the feeling that they can conquer all. She says: “celebrating the women in my clothes is extremely important to me – never the other way around.” There’s an evident sense of fierceness in everything she creates, with this reflected through her love for and prolific use of leather.

She describes her signature style as “always confidence and strength”, saying: “When the women I dress walk into a room I want them to be felt more than seen. When they walk into a room I want you to know they are there without them ever having to speak a word. There is an unspoken word to elegance and CCUOCO helps define that word, confidence.”

Candice’s passion and love for fashion shines through in the way she discusses anything fashion-related. Talking about what drives her, she says: “I’m married to my passion and I’ve divorced doubt. My whole life has been built around the idea of surviving…Well I’m no longer just surviving…I want to THRIVE.” Her fashion ethos for empowering women through the clothes they wear is undeniably what has fuelled her passion most. More than this though, she’s a grafter and it’s her determination that has driven her to where she is now and given her success.

She’s won and been nominated for several awards, including ‘Best Emerging Designer’ at the San Francisco Fashion Awards 2013, ‘Designer of the Year’ and also ‘Fashion’s Most Honourable’ at the San Francisco Fashion Awards 2014. She has also taken her fashion house to London Fashion week twice, with her shows featuring in both Vogue and Glamour magazines, and is set to take London by storm once again as she’s previewing her S/S16 collection this September at London Fashion Week. Being able to take her brand to the UK market and preview her collection in London is something that she is very proud of; she says of this: “London is a city I feel most alive in and to be able to build a brand there has been just what the doctor has called for.”

It’s evident this city and the achievement of doing shows here means a great deal to her; the way she talks is as if London is more like a friend to her than a place and she clearly has a big attachment to the city, admitting: “London is where my heart and soul is.”

Leather is practically synonymous with Candice; her talent for transforming the material into anything she imagines is inspiring. She describes her proudest and favourite design being: “a black leather gown that was studded by hand in my kitchen in one day. 1800 Hand studded crystals with a 16 leather panelled fish-tail.” Her other leather creations are all equally as impressive.

Candice has a vivid imagination and an intricately creative mind; the pieces she creates are awe-inspiring. She attributes this to the freedom that designing gives her: “My utmost favourite aspect of designing is the freedom it gives me to explore every single avenue there is to explore. When I say every avenue, I mean it. In design you can explore fantasy-make believe or full on reality. My design process allows a sense of freedom not allowed by ‘everyday’ mundane life.”

Despite all the achievements she’s made, especially at such a young age, she is still so full of aspirations and career goals – there’s so much more she wants to fulfil. One of her ultimate goals would be to design a piece for Anna Wintour: “I would not dress her in Black,” she says, “instead a beautiful, bold red and yellow, floral, laser-cut leather cocktail dress. The dress would go just past her knees and be short sleeved with a high neck that hits just high enough for her beloved jewels to sit on top of. Anna is a force to be reckoned with and I look forward to meeting her one day.”

There’s more to Candice than fashion however, as family is the most important part of her life. When she needs to clear her head and relax she confesses: “I run to my three-year-old son to get down to business of what really matters in life and that’s pure and simple: love. He hits the reset button in my head and makes me stop thinking. My children are my saving grace.”

As an inspiring and upcoming designer, Candice Cuoco is definitely one to watch. She’s already achieved so much and is bound to go so much further in the world of fashion. Her passion is infectious, and the advice she gives is empowering: “No matter what you do and where you go, whatever you do, do it with confidence and strength. You’ll have life by the balls, which is right where we want it.”

Candice will be at London Fashion Week this September at Fashion Scout Venue, you can also keep up to date with her journey on Project Runway and all her endeavours via her Twitter @HouseofCcuoco

About Hannah Crofts

h.crofts@student.reading.ac.uk'

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