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Brookelynn Starnes is the creative force driving NYC's intellectually provocative Cloak & Dagger label. Cloak & Dagger was launched in 2006; due to the designer's frustrations with the direction the fashion industry was taking. "I felt there was a decline in the care of garment construction and the way women dress. The shapes and fabrics I was looking for were not in the market. I wanted to make clothes that were fun and comfortable to wear yet chic and refined". If Starnes, not yet 30, casually embodies all of the vivacity and energy of a young designer, she is by no means new to high fashion. By the time she had graduated with a BFA from the prestigious Pratt Institute in 2003, this designer was already an industry veteran.
Cloak & Dagger's inventive juxtopositioning of intimate detailing, self designed patterns and luxury fabrics is a clear byproduct of the "eagle eye" Starnes developed in her many years styling for the top houses in fashion (among them Valentino, Prada and Zac Posen) and for some of Hollywood's most forward starlets. The clear sense of tailoring and style she developed along the way, with its romantic and vintage aesthetics, immediately caught the eye of editors and buyers, and virtually overnight the line became a critical and commercial darling. Cloak & Dagger has been featured in top publications since its inception: Vogue, Elle, The Wall Street Journal and New York Magazine. Barneys NY snapped up the complete 2nd season and has been a loyalist ever since. In 2008, after witnessing the sales performance of Cloak & Dagger in his stores, Steven Alan invited Starnes to collaborate on a sell-out limited edition collection that was available exclusively in Steven Allen boutiques. That same year, Starnes was honored for Cloak & Dagger's timeless sophistication and superior quality when she was semifinalist for the Influential Ecco Domani Fashion Foundation Award. 2009 has by far been the most explosive in the growth of the line. Starnes was guest of honor at the St. Louis Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2009 collections. She was also selected to open the Spring/Summer 2010 collection in the Gen Art's Fresh Faces in Fashion Show, which profiled just seven designers.
The brand, while continuing to enjoy success stateside, is now truly an international presence, carried by the top stores in Japan, the Middle East and Europe. In the summer of 2009 Cloak & Dagger also opened its first freestanding store, in NYC's trendy East Village. While the collection is still available in boutiques worldwide, Starnes felt "it was ready to give my buyers and customers an environment to walk into." She recently vacated her post as senior design consultant for the highly covered designer label Libertine, where she worked for the last 4 years, to focus on Cloak and Dagger fulltime.
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