Rebecca Minkoff and Taylor Swift.
Photo: Getty/Diet Coke
It all started with a t-shirt. Can you believe that something so ordinary is responsible for launching a career as extraordinary as Rebecca Minkoff's?! Well, back in 2001, the designer released her take on the iconic "I Love New York" tee. The top caused a fashion explosion, and 12 years later she has clothing, shoes, and accessories stamped with her name, and is one of the most well-known designers out there today. Now she's teaming up with Diet Coke and Taylor Swift to give another young designer the chance she once had, with the Diet Coke Young Designer Challenge. The competition asks young designers to put their innovative, creative spin on the iconic Diet Coke logo and packaging, for the opportunity to dream up a tee that will then be sold in Target stores all over the country. Not only that, but the winner will also get $10,000 and a chance to meet Taylor Swift herself. Pretty major prize, huh? Last week we chatted with Rebecca herself about the contest, what she'll be looking for, and her own inspiration. Don't think she's giving away any secrets, though—you're going to have to think up a boundary-pushing design all on your own. We know you can do it, though!
MTV STYLE: Tell us a little bit about your role in the Diet Coke Young Designer Challenge.
REBECCA MINKOFF: I've teamed up with Diet Coke, and we're looking for people to submit an incredible t-shirt design that is centered around the Diet Coke brand and/or logo, and I'm going to be the judge along with Target and Diet Coke, and whats really fantastic is that the winner will win $10,000, the t-shirt will be in target stores later on this year and also you get the change to meet Taylor Swift, so that's exciting too.
Is there any advice you would give as far as how you get inspiration or how you think one creates a successful design?
I think true creativity and innovation is what makes a successful design, so if someone thinks out of the box or does something unexpected—that's what I'm looking for.
What are some of the things you've been inspired by in your new collection?
In stores now we have the Spring/Summer collection, which was inspired by Slim Aarons, who was an incredible photographer, most known for his work in the '60s and '70s. So it's filled with color, a lot of floral prints, and just the fantasy of being out by the pool in an exotic location, and what would a modern girl wear to that. The fall show was more taking a look at the cosmos. A lot of the prints came from the stars or the cosmic gases, so it was really just exploring another dimension.
What are some of the trends you're most excited for this summer?
Rose gold I'm seeing a lot of, I know I'm obsessed with it. A lot of colorful items, I think the mint color we saw in spring is going to keep going strong, black and white of course, so I think there were key colors that resonated in spring and now that you can actually take your clothes off you can really wear those things.
How will a competition like this lead someone into a career?
Knowing that I started my career with a simple t-shirt design, and having my name associated with something that so many people wore and knew was what got me in the door when I started selling to stores and I said I don't just have a t-shirt, I have a whole collection. So we're starting with a really great t-shirt that the winner will design, and then that exposure to be part of Diet Coke and part of Target will only make it easier when they come out with something easier. At least people will have their name and say oh I know your name you sound familiar.
What are some of the things about Diet Coke that you think could translate well into design?
Well I can't give away any helpful hints, but I'm hoping to see that they take the logo and/or the design and turn it into something unexpected.