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To many, Andrea Pitter may seem like a unicorn. However, make no mistake — the newest winner of “Making the Cut” is anything but an overnight success.
A proud fashion design graduate of the Fashion Institute & Technology, Pitter has been on a mission for the past 10 years to transform women, one bridal gown at a time. However, it hasn’t always been easy for the Pantora founder, who now has the opportunity to sell her clothes through Amazon (a pretty huge perk of winning the fashion-focused competition co-hosted by Tim Gunn and Heidi Klum).
“[Making The Cut] has allowed me to reach a bigger audience,” the fashionista tells In The Know. “I’m now equipped to create the brand and business of my dreams. Some of [my] ideas for my business can now be fully realized. I’m so excited for the future of Pantora!”
To celebrate Pitter’s win and highlight Pantora during National Black Business Month, In The Know spoke with the design genius on their humble beginnings, challenges and what’s next for the brand.
You started your design business pretty young. How did you know at that age that you were going to be a fashion designer?
Is it odd to say I just knew? I had no doubt in my mind. At 12, I had so many interests and passions, but nothing quite felt like fashion. I could spend the entire day sketching and sewing. That’s when I started and I clearly haven’t stopped yet.
People are seeing the reward of your hard work now, but you’ve faced challenges along the way. If you had to look back, what are some challenges that you faced and have since overcome in your business?
Mental health! Entrepreneurship is scary, it feels lonely and once you start to get some traction, it doesn’t feel anything like the way you thought it would. I remember feeling like I couldn’t sleep for more than four to five hours. I subscribed to grind culture. Every moment of my day [I] needed to be working. I definitely sacrificed my young adulthood and I was working instead of having fun. No regrets — I’m just the one missing in all of the group photos of my friends from those years.
How would you describe your personal style? Does that impact how you design clothes for consumers?
I don’t really play by the rules; dressing for joy is the only requirement. I do think that my personal style impacts the way I design. My aesthetic is very spirited and I design celebratory staples. I wear sequin and sweats during the day and I love that type of versatility. Personal style is the best style.
What’s next for you? What are you going to do with the “Making the Cut” prize money?
I’m working on opening the Pantora DTLA store as well as Pantora Bridal LA. I am delighted to use the $1 million to invest in my brand.
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