The ladies of The Real Housewives of Orange County are always flaunting the latest styles. Newcomer Braunwyn Windham-Burke is no exception, and it seems like her love for fashion runs in the family. The OC Housewife's 17-year-old daughter, Rowan Burke, shares the same passion — and she's ready to make her mark!
On episode 12 of Season 14, young designer and dancer Rowan debuted her dancewear fashion line, Dark Rabbit (a collection of sleek black and red athletic ensembles), at OC Fashion Week — a huge accomplishment at any age. So BravoTV.com got the inside scoop on Rowan's collection, the story behind it, and what's next for her budding career.
What inspired you to create your own line?
Rowan Burke: I'm inspired by the things I'm most passionate about, dance and designing, and all of my pieces are inspired by what I see in the world around me. Objects, nature, feelings, and then I use them to create an extension of myself in what I show in my designs. I was inspired to take the two things I loved the most, dancing and fashion, and create something amazing out of that.
So the first Dark Rabbit Dancewear pattern was actually created from me dancing with paint on my hands and feet on a blank piece of white fabric back when we lived in Miami. And from then on, I've continued to do the same, to make fashionable dancewear by a dancer, for dancers. And I hope to continue to be able to do this for the rest of my life because it really makes me happy.
How would you describe the vibe/aesthetic of your collection?
RB: I'd describe the aesthetic of my collection as modern and edgy, while still being functional and easy to wear. I was motivated to create designs for the serious dancers, who want to wear more modernized, cool, and easy dancewear which doesn't really exist in the fashion world right now.
It's called Dark Rabbit because my vibe has always been more dark and mysterious, especially in my dancing. My first dance solo was actually called "Bunny's Last Stand," and was about a magician's bunny that had died. And the "Rabbit" comes from when I wore bunny ears for a year straight when I was 9, and everyone started calling me "Rowan Bunny."
What's the biggest hurdle you've faced as a young designer?
RB: The biggest obstacle I've dealt with being a young designer is definitely losing that creative part of myself that was always inspired to create and do when I was really struggling with my mental illness. It was hard for a really long time to motivate myself to do things, even things I loved the most, like dancing and designing. So I kind of just stopped doing anything.
But when I got better and I was able to regain my energy, motivation, and passion, it was absolutely the best feeling ever. Getting to go out and pursue what I love has helped me so much on my journey, and being able to show my designs at OC Fashion Week and have Dark Rabbit going to BravoCon has been so rewarding and amazing. I'm so excited for what's to come for me in the future, and to be able to put my energy into things that I love and that are great for me to do, rather than things that aren't.
How have your parents supported you in the process?
RB: My parents have supported me so much in my journey with Dark Rabbit and just in life in general. My dad has taught me so much about business and management, and my mom has always been a huge inspiration and fashion icon to me. Whenever I have a vision or a dream, my parents will always try as much as they can to make it happen, and to make it happen in the most amazing way they can. Just like at OC Fashion Week, my parents are always there to help, support, and to make sure whatever I'm doing goes well. At this point in my life, I can say that my parents are the two out of three people I trust most in the world, and that they really are my best friends and biggest supporters.
What's next for your line?
RB: I am so excited for what's to come in the future for Dark Rabbit. Right now we are preparing for BravoCon, where we will be selling current pieces and doing pre-orders for new ones (as well as some new Housewife stuff)! And then we will expand into more activewear and street wear, and have a line for younger kids called Dark Bunnies on the horizon.
I am always sketching and designing because it's what I love to do, and I have so many ideas for new lines and projects in the future that I am beyond excited for.
The Lookbook is Bravo’s celebration of personal style. We keep you up to date on the inspiring looks from trend-setting stylistas, test and report on the most-coveted fashion and beauty products, and offer solutions to all your style-related conundrums. Like us on Facebook to stay connected to our daily updates.