By Emma Hoey
Julie Kontos is a Boston-based fashion designer who designs clothing, uniforms, and eveningwear for a diverse range of customers. Kontos also works as a designer for the United States Military. She has shown her work in both Boston Fashion Week and Providence Fashion Week. Recently, she received the “2013 Best Eveningwear Designer” from Style It Up.
The designer first realized her potential in the fashion industry while studying at Lasell College in Newton, Massachusetts. As a legal studies major, she loved art but had yet to consider pursuing it as a career. “Art has always been something that I enjoyed, but at the end of high school, I did not know what I could do with it to make it into a career,” said Kontos. Inspired by her friends in the fashion design program, she changed her major during sophomore year. “After switching majors, I knew immediately it was what I wanted to do for a career,” Kontos said. “I got an internship through Lasell College working for the United States Navy. After graduation, the Navy hired me as a clothing designer, and I have been there ever since!”
A designer for the U.S. Navy as well as for her own reputable Boston label, Kontos said, “I like to think that I could design for anyone. I think my design background is so diverse that I could put my own aesthetic into any form of clothing. Aside from models and military, I have dressed pageant and fitness competitors, cancer survivors, and local celebrities.” Working as a designer in the fast-paced and competitive industry of fashion can be difficult, but her experience and her willingness to embrace new challenges set her apart. “I have dressed so many different people for so many types of events and have not stayed within my comfort zone. I really try to push myself to do things I am not sure I am able to do,” she said.
Kontos described her design aesthetic as “classic with an edge,” and she maintains this aesthetic throughout her collections, which have been featured in Boston’s and Providence’s Fashion Weeks. She said, “I think fashion weeks in any city tend to attract a larger crowd than some of the other shows that happen throughout the year. It is always exciting when you are able to show your pieces to a bigger audience,” Kontos said. “Each collection is different. My most recent collection was inspired by one of my own designs that I created in 2011. The dress is ivory and gold with handmade fabric-origami leaves. I used this dress to open my 2013 Boston Fashion Week show. The entire collection was white, ivory, and gold, with lots of texture throughout.”
“I have dressed so many different people for so many types of events and have not stayed within my comfort zone.”
While being a young, successful fashion designer has many exciting moments, Kontos recalled her favorite memory as seeing her designs in an ad. “My friend at work said, ‘Look what my brother got in the mail!’ It was a sale ad for Persona Jewelry of Boston, with my design on it. I had absolutely no idea about it. It was the best surprise!” Kontos said the most rewarding part of being a designer is seeing people wearing her designs. “I do not think there is anything more rewarding than that,” she said.
Aspiring designers who look up to Kontos and admire her blossoming career should know that she insists on facing every challenge that comes her way. “I have almost never said no to an opportunity. Any opportunity can be a learning or networking experience, if nothing else,” she said. Young, intelligent, and talented, Kontos continues to work hard for her successes, establishing herself as a reputable Boston fashion designer.