Q&A With Alumnae Megan Balch & Jaime Barker
Spotlight Date:November 24, 2014
Dreyfoos class of 2006 graduates Megan Balch and Jaime Barker have been hard at work on the Resort 2015 collection they just launched for their swim and ready-to-wear line, Flagpole Swim – a name most Dreyfoos graduates can smile about. With their designs landing in all the major magazines (InStyle, Vogue, Elle, NYLON) and an exclusive design for Barneys New York, we were excited to speak with them about how it all started, and their time as Dreyfoos students.
Q: Dreyfoos Departments?
Megan: Theater - Communications
Jaime: Dance - Communications
Q: Favorite Dreyfoos teachers?
Megan: Mr. Ruth (though I never actually had him as a teacher), Mr. Moore
Jaime: Mr. DeLuz, Mr. Moore
Q: What is the most profound change you each experienced at Dreyfoos?
Megan: Realizing I could draw!
Jaime: Realizing I wanted to study fashion.
Q: Is there something Dreyfoos could have provided that could have better prepared you for your college and career?
Megan: More opportunity to have cross-over major classes
Jaime: Fashion classes
Q: Colleges attended?
Q: College degrees?
Megan: Media, Culture and Communications
Jaime: Fashion Design
Q: College graduation years?
Q: How did Flagpole Swim begin?
Both: Ever since we met in 9th grade we have talked about working together. After college we moved to Brooklyn, and one day Jaime was in a factory and had an epiphany. As soon as she said "swimsuits" we both knew that was it. Flagpole Swim started as a passion project but we got an opportunity to write a business plan which led us to an investor and things quickly got serious.
Q: Flagpole Swim just launched it’s Resort 2015 collection, can you tell us a bit about that process, both creatively and on the business side?
Creatively, Resort 2015 began over a year ago. We usually start with colors and let that direct the mood of the season. The first piece we designed from this collection was the Warren suit, and we let that along with the colors, inspire the rest of the collection. (We just made this sound really simple but in reality we usually spend at least a week or two pouring over colors, shades and combos until we find the perfect color story. Followed by a solid month of sketching and redrawing and edits. Followed then by 2 or 3 months of samples and fittings and more edits. Then tons of planning and styling details have to be made to shoot our look book. Only after this, do we get the final Resort 2015 Line, which we present to buyers and the press for the first time.)
On the business side of things we work from February through July pushing sales for Resort. We meet with a lot of stores directly in New York, but also attend Miami Swim, the biggest swim trade show in the world, where we get to meet with speciality boutiques and major retailers from around the world.
Q: Can you each pick a favorite piece from this collection?
Megan: Lynn, its sophisticated and sporty and really versatile. I wear it with jeans a lot.
Jaime: Warren, its very clean and elegant and embodies the vibe of the entire collection.
Q: What do you feel has been the highlight of your careers so far?
Megan: Flipping through a Vogue and finding an image of our suit.
Jaime: Seeing our stuff hang in Barneys New York.
Q: Have you had the opportunity to work with, aside from each other, any other Dreyfoos (SOA) alums?
Anders Wallace: Visual 2007, does almost all of our photography work
Lilian Farag: Visual 2003, has designed the prints for our Resort 2015, Spring 2015 and Resort 2016 collections
Danielle LaMotte: Communications 2006, does our business operations
Ms. Viridiana Lieberman: taught Intro to Film, TV Production and Morning Announcements, does our fashion films
Greg Granaghan: Communications 2007, assists on a lot of our photo shoots
Taylor Materio: Theatre 2003, did hair and makeup for our inaugural collection look book
Robin Hung: Dance 2000, did hair and makeup for our studio e-com shoots
Not the mention the countless friends who have inspired many of our collection pieces. Most of the names found in our Resort and Spring 2015 look books can be traced to DSOA Alum.
Q: What recommendations do you have for our current DSOA students?
Megan: Enjoy it! You are in a pool of untapped talent, be gracious, collaborate and learn from each other.
Jaime: Don't get kicked out of Dreyfoos. Be a sponge and learn as much as you can.
Q: In a brief statement can you explain “What Dreyfoos means to me”?
Megan: I feel like Dreyfoos is where "it all" started.
Jaime: It set the foundation for our careers and for the people we are today.