Growing up a competitive figure skater (with an interest in fashion design), Brittany Peltz Buerstedde received an early piece of advice from family friend Vera Wang to scare her off the craft.
“I remember telling her that I wanted to be a dress designer from a young age and she was like ‘Honey, you don’t make any money in that business…you make it on the perfume,’” Buerstedde says.
Little did she know that clothing design would come back into her life, though not in the form of the skating costumes she was conjuring up at the time.
The 28-year-old, sister to Nicola and Will Peltz, is making her own name in the fashion industry as the designer of children’s line Leah + Rae, which launched softly in February and whose fall collection will be carried in Saks soon.
A mother to two girls, Eva and Lila Rae, Buerstedde set out to launch a line after her own search for clothing for her children turned up uninspired.
“Once I gave birth to my girls I had a really hard time finding clothes that really resonated with me and my style,” says Buerstedde, who studied film at NYU’s Tisch School after retiring from skating. “Through that search is how Leah + Rae came to fruition.”
The line, which launched with 11 pieces and ranges in price from $38 to $135, is sourced from all over the world and is made in a female-run factory in Manhattan — and yes, that’s rather pricey.
“For me, the most important thing is quality; I want people to have the best product,” she says.
Her children, naturally, are the inspiration for it all.
“I’m really inspired by the girls and by children’s natural beauty and how pure they are. I think the clothes should play off of that rather than distract from it,” she says. “Children’s brands are very loud, and I think that kids are just so beautiful as they are.”
The pieces come in soft shades of blues and whites, evocative of summers the Peltz family spent vacationing in Europe.
“I come from a huge family — I’m one of six — and we spent a lot of time in the South of France over the summer,” she says. “And they have such a wonderful aesthetic of timeless beauty, that really inspired this collection.”
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