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Blair Breitenstein is a 20-something artist from Mercer Island. Don't know her name? Well you probably recognize her work. (Image: Blair Breitenstein)

This Mercer Island artist is taking the NYC fashion world by storm

As Seattleites, we hear it all the time - usually from out-of-towners from Los Angeles and New York.

"You're wearing THAT?"

Yes, yes we are wearing sweatpants out to Starbucks. Or an off-the-shoulder draped thingy for a night out on the town. We are a relaxed city, but that doesn't mean we're not fashionable! We have style! It's hard to prove, but sometimes there are people who represent our city who are KILLIN IT and we just let them do the talking (thanks guys).

Blair Breitenstein is one of those people, and her work is doing a whoooole lot of talking for us dumpy Seattleites. Breitenstein is a 20-something artist born and raised on Mercer Island, and even though you may not know her by name - if you pay any attention to the global fashion world we're guessing you've seen her work. Breitenstein's designs have been featured in the New York Times, Vogue.com, Glamour Spain - and her clients include Saks Fifth Avenue, Prada, Bellevue Collection, Teen Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, Christian Louboutin, Coach, Oscar de la Renta (you get it, and the list goes on and on).

She moved to New York City last year because it just made more sense for her work and clients, but she is still a Seattleite at heart.

Seattle Refined: Have you always drawn?
Breitenstein: My grandma was a huge influence to me growing up. She was a fashionista, I used to flip through her W magazines when I was very young, and I remember being obsessed by the editorials. She also sold a luxury NY-based clothing line out of her home she had the fashion sketches from the line on a bulletin board in her office - I was fascinated by them - I would trace over them! They were gorgeous. My grandpa (her husband) was a painter. He had a set-up in the garage. The garage was covered in paint splatters, I still remember how it smelled in there. The combination of these two made a huge impact on me.

What inspired you when you were younger and what inspires you now?

What is the biggest difference between living in New York and living in Seattle?
The shopping. In Seattle you can get through downtown in a day or two. I have been in NYC for a year and have yet to shop the whole city. IT IS INCREDIBLE.

What do you miss about Seattle?
I miss the outdoors! Green Lake, Lake Washington, Alki, Mt. Si, Kerry Park, Kirkland Waterfront etc etc etc. The fresh air, the big sky.

You're kind of blowing up in the Fashion World out therewhat does it feel like?
I constantly feel overwhelmed with excitement. When I see my work in magazines I pinch myself I have talked about being in magazines since the 5th grade and it's ALL HAPPENING. It is impossible to explain how grateful I feel. But it also is a roller coaster, some weeks when I don't have much work I go into panic mode. I start second-guessing the decision to work on my own - but that doubt is what pushes me to try new things and to work harder.

What are some of the perks of your current job that you love?
Free shoes and makeup! Meeting very inspirational women in the fashion industry.

Where do you draw?
I draw at home. I draw on my living room floor or in my bed with A LOT OF COFFEE.

Do you have a ritual associated with drawing?
My ritual: Every morning in bed (then over coffee) I browse through Instagram and Tumblr for inspirationI read subscription emails from Daily Front Row, Vogue Runway and Vogue.com. I look for fashion news or events that are "trending".I screenshot and collect a ton of inspiration photos and then I draw!

What is next for you?
I really want to put together a coffee table book I am also revamping my website.

What is the coolest moment of your career to date?
Every project I work on is cool!! Some of the most memorable though are:

  • Having a seat behind Anna Wintour at an Oscar de la Renta fashion show
  • Being interviewed by the NY Times//seeing my photo and story in the style section.
  • The Today Show came to my apartment and interviewed me in my living room about fashion illustration and fashion week!!

Check out more of Breitenstein's work on her website, or Instagram.

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