In her latest chat with Gotham, Brittany Peltz Buerstedde looks back on the launch of her children's fashion brand Leah + Rae, the challenges she faced in starting her own business and the inspiration behind her upcoming Mommy & Me collection.
What drew you to fashion, particularly, children's fashion? BRITTANY PELTZ BUERSTEDDE: I think children’s fashion grew from two of my greatest passions in life—becoming a mother and wife, and my love for creating beautiful things.
I read that you started out dreaming about making figure skating costumes, no? BPB: I used to design all of my own skating costumes when I was skating competitively from age 6 through 15. I would spend hours with the seamstresses choosing each sequin and all of the fabrics. I never realized this passion would translate into a career later on.
Your children star in your campaigns, how are they taking their newfound fame? BPB: They have so much fun on set—it's like a big playdate for them and their friends. They could care less about the photos. I’ve showed them on a few occasions and they couldn’t be less interested.
It's been a little more than a year since you launched your collection, what has been the most challenging aspect of running this kind of business? BPB: I have so much newfound respect for small business owners—it is not easy getting your foot in the door but growing your own business and bringing your vision to life, is truly one of the most rewarding things I’ve done.
Where do you find yourself turning for inspiration? BPB: I find inspiration in all aspects of my life—the core aesthetic and inspiration for the brand came from my girls and my travels to the South of France. I am so in love with their effortless sense of style and dream-like color palette.
When I design I do not consciously come up with a theme beforehand. I just start working, drawing and playing with fabrics and as the collection unfolds, I usually identify the seed of inspiration at the very end.
Is there a famous celebrity baby you'd like to see in Leah + Rae? BPB: Celebrity or not, I am truly honored when any mother choses Leah + Rae for their children. I know there are so many incredible brands out there and I’m so grateful that so many wonderful moms are drawn to my aesthetic and brand values.
What's next? And what haven't you done that you'd still like to? BPB: Mommy & Me! I couldn’t be more excited to release our first look this summer.
I have so many ideas for the future, but right now I am working on expanding my layette collection since our infant styles have been so popular. I don’t think it's an accident that my mind is focused on newborn either—with my third baby on the way.