Daniella Clarke’s life plays out like a fairy tale. Clarke first lived in Israel, where she was born and raised, before calling South Africa home. But at the age of 16, she visited Los Angeles and didn’t go back. The reason? She ran into musician Gilby Clarke, then the Guns N’ Roses guitarist, while he filmed an MTV music video on the California streets. She’s been with him since.
She joined Gilby when he went on tour and started making her own jeans, simply because she couldn’t find the pair she wanted in stores.
“I was looking for a specific pair of jeans to fit me – just like how Robert Plant from Led Zeppelin’s jeans fit him,” she says. “I wanted really low and really sexy and really tight.”
And though her intentions weren’t to start a fashion line, she ended up with Frankie B. – a label named after her daughter, who serves as one of her biggest inspirations. (The label is now available at Bloomingdale's in Town Center at Boca Raton.)
Daniella is coming to South Florida at the end of month. But before she makes her cross-country trip from her California home, we chatted with her on the phone.
She told us about how she first got involved in fashion, raved about her love for travel and clarified that despite her reputation for it, she never actually cut the waistbands off her jeans – “I was never really a fan of that look.”
Boca Mag: How did you first get involved in fashion?
Daniella Clark: My love for it started when I was really young. I think I was about 12 years old. My parents bought me a sewing machine for my birthday, and I started sewing up everything in the house. Professionally, it started in my early twenties. I started out in photography actually, just shooting fashion photography.
BM: You were born in Israel, and you’ve lived in South Africa and the U.S.
DC: I actually just went back to South Africa in June for the first time in 28 years. I haven’t been back in South Africa since the mid 80s … I just went back there in June because [Gilby] was playing there, so I decided to take the opportunity to go back to South Africa with him and see my family and see my friends and see Africa, which was incredible. It was really, really fun. I loaded up on all my old candy.
BM: Has living in all these different places affected your perspective on fashion?
DC: I definitely think that travel in general affects my perspective on fashion, because just opening yourself up to anything new is just so inspiring. Traveling and seeing the different fashions in different countries and just seeing the scenery and the way people dress – everything to me is so inspiring when I travel … It always give me a fresh new outlook. I love traveling. I think I was a gypsy in my previous life.
BM: You started your line when you were on tour with your husband. How did that affect your vision for your line?
DC: I think a lot of designers will say that music is definitely so inspiring. I think the reason for it, if you look at history and if you look at Madonna and how influential she was when she first came out, and now it’s Lady Gaga – designers always watch musicians. I think the biggest key there is that musicians are just free. It’s their own expression of their own style and, my husband and I – with rock ‘n’ roll and with seeing all these musicians – there’s a certain sort of freedom to be who you are and do what you want. You see that individuality, and I think that’s always inspiring.
BM: When I’m not wearing denim, I’m wearing …
DC: Denim (laughs). I don’t know, I’m always wearing denim. I feel like I live in jeans. I was telling my husband just the other day. I was in my closet, and it’s so hot here right now – oh my gosh, we’re going through the craziest heat wave. Yesterday in the valley, it was something crazy, like 110. It was nuts. I said to him, you know I think I’m going to wear a dress today because it’s so hot, I don’t think I can bear putting on jeans. I put on a dress, and two seconds later, I took it off and put my jeans back on … I don’t know what it is, I just feel stronger in my jeans.
Meet Daniela at her Bloomingdale's event this month! (Details below.) She’ll probably be wearing jeans.
Bloomingdale's at Aventura Mall
19555 Biscayne Blvd, Aventura
Sept. 19, 2-5 p.m.
**Check back for additional events!