Art Personalized: Millennial Designer Caitlin Ashley Tries To Get Us To Look Around Life

Too often in the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, we forget to take a breath and look at the beauty and art that exist around us. 

But one millennial designer named Caitlin Widener is trying to get us all to do just that.

Widener’s Caitlin Ashley Custom brings the beauty of the world alive in clothing pieces made for women, in the forms of skirts, pants, and blouses, among other styles.

The brand is based in New York City and describes itself as being “wearable art, unique for the individual” on the brand’s official website.  

The description continues labeling the brand as “hand painted and inspired by everyday on goings in the world,” and that “every woman is unique, just like this line and wants that vision to transcend when worn.”

Widener’s inspiration for it all began when she moved to New York City in 2014.

“At the time I was doing fashion blogging and it was fashion week, my first experience,” Widener said. “Everything was on such a grand scale and in some ways had me doubting my place amongst it all.”

It was then when her mind began to reel and the pieces began to fall into place.

“There was an event in particular that I had been invited to that week. It felt as though I had nothing to wear on my current budget that would set me apart from the crowd,” Widener said. “Sitting in my room, I was making an attempt to brainstorm ways to show originality. There was an old white dress hanging up and it got me to thinking, what if perhaps I painted on it? I have painted all my life and perhaps it was possible to combine two of my greatest passions together?”

It was then when the first of many pieces was born.

“I painted a rendition of van Gogh’s “Starry Night.” It was a hit. I realized this was something I wanted to pursue for the rest of my life, it’s like everything came together and finally made sense.”

Widener’s brand is still growing, having nearly 1,130 followers on her official Instagram page filled with different examples of her colorful and intrinsically unique designs.

CAITLIN ASHLEY SPRING/SUMMER is now available online. Feel free to check out the pieces and more images like this one at (link in bio) Would really like to extend a big thank you to everyone who has followed and supported me on this journey, thus far. Believing in yourself is crucial but having friends and family believe in you as well is truly everything. I’m constantly working towards becoming a better painter/designer. This is going to be a long journey and I won’t give this up for anything. If you don’t have your dreams, what do you have? Endless love to the people who inspire me everyday, you’re indispensable xx Photo taken by the immensely talented @tomfraud in the beautiful city of Marrakech, Morocco. @lahandira #caitlinashley #custom #spring #summer #marrakech #morocco #tomfraud #lahandira #nyc

A photo posted by Caitlin Widener (@caitlinashleycustom) on

With time, there is hope that the brand will continue to flourish.

“The brand is still very new. Just over a year in,” Widener said. “It’s currently working with other brands on collaborations and creating time capsule collections for small boutiques.”

Since that first event that drew her to paint her creation on the old white dress, the inspirations for other pieces in the line have come from many different sources, including those found in the outside world.

“The best thing I can do for outside inspiration is put my headphones in and wander around the city a bit,” Widener said. “You start to notice things outside the box, colors in a puddle, flowers coming up through the sidewalk, street art that transforms a building.” 

The designs pictured on her website show the wide array of different creations, including artsy dresses, inspired skirts and other pieces that almost seem like wearable and usable masterpieces.

As for what continues to inspire her to create more pieces today, Widener states that it continues to be the same drive that initially led her to create her early creations.

“Today’s inspiration is still a lot of the inspiration that was at the start. Really just creating things that I love and in turn, reaching out and sharing it with others,” Widener said. “It’s so important to keep that fire to create fueled and never forget what made you start in the first place. Always come back to the roots.”

As for what the future holds and if she will begin to create designs for men as well, only time will tell she said. 

“Last year there was a small stint of time where I dabbled with men’s ties and really loved it,” Widener said. “Got a lot of great feedback! For the time being, my focus is with women’s apparel but it’s something I would love to progress into in the future.”

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Photo Credits: Caitlin Widener/ Submitted

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About the Author
Alexandra Van Erven has a B.A. in Communications Studies and a minor in English from Florida Atlantic University. Her interests include politics, European history and writing, with her primary interests being the abortion controversy and conservative issues.
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