Krista Wilhelm is a 23 year old Fashion Designer here in Pittsburgh, PA. She has been highlighted in many events around the city and her work is beyond her years. Krista has very close attention to detail with exquisite high fashion pieces. She said, “I do a lot of handwork in my designs, from hand sewing seams to hand beading.”
Krista is from a small town in Ohio and moved to Pittsburgh to study fashion design at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh (AIP). I asked Krista what made her so interested in pursuing a career in fashion design, and she had this to say: “I always had a crazy love for fashion, it stems all the way back to when I was a child and would dress my Barbie dolls. Before I was born while my mother was growing up, my grandmother made almost all of my mother’s garments. As I was growing up my mother became my personal tailor. So in a way you could say my mother and grandmother were the ones that got me interested in fashion…” Krista’s story is so heartwarming to hear, and when she talks about it, you can see her light up. It’s clear that her family is very important to her, and that she is able to feel close with them by continuing the family skill, only with much more exposure.
I first saw Krista’s designs in a senior fashion show and instantly fell in love with them. The designs gave me that spark of awe that I needed as a consumer myself, and many others felt the same way. I actually got the chance to work with her at an event for promoting AIP designers, and her work just seemed to shine through the rest. I heard comments like, “How much for this one,” or, “Can I commission her to make me something?” And the buzz about her designs has still not died down.
Since her work has been so popular, I wanted to know exactly what inspires such an artist. I asked her where she gained her inspiration from and what other designers inspire her. Krista replied “When it comes to my designs I get inspired by so many things around me on a daily basis. I could be walking down the streets of the Strip District and see a mural that inspires a collection, or I could be at an aquarium and get inspired by the colors and designs of the fish scales. Berta Bridal is definitely a brand that inspires me as a designer. This specific bridal brand has a very sexy yet still elegant feel to it and that’s what I look for when creating my garments.”
Krista’s plan for the future is having her own clothing line, store, and brand. She says, “I would love to look back and know I’ve accomplished everything I possibly could have as a designer.” I have no doubt in my mind this is possible for her. Krista is such a natural talent and has a keen eye for the design industry. When asked about Pittsburgh, Krista mentioned that it is full of inspiration and creativity. “We see it everyday from artist murals on the buildings, to the sculptures in Northside.” I couldn’t agree more with her. Pittsburgh, though smaller, is very mighty in the arts and culture aspect. It is the young people like Krista who are building our reputation as an arts city. Her final comment was this: “Pittsburgh is surrounded by inspiration, it just depends if you’re willing to see it or not.”
You can follow Krista’s design work
@designs_by_kristawilhelm on Instagram
Photography by Tom Macconnell