“Leather is favorite material, and I immediately knew it had to be my specialty.”Carla Dawn Behrle
Carla Dawn Behrle began studying costume design when she was just 14 years old.
Her career began at a NYC Shakespeare festival, where as a teenager, she worked in a costume shop. Leather work is on heavy demand at Shakespeare festivals, and Carla was instantly hooked. While she had experience creating costumes in multiple mediums, this material quickly became her passion.
A self-taught designer, she worked in factories after leaving her costume shops, which deepened her technical skills. As she explains, “I picked up skills along the way, and I just always tried to improve on it.”
“It’s been an evolution.”
When Carla began establishing her style, she took the saying “necessity is the mother of invention” to heart. “I only had money to make tiny garments, so I went with it”, she explains. She built a brand named “World Domination”, which specialized in fetish wear. This line sold worldwide, evolved to club wear, and eventually to a full-fledged fashion line. Since then, Carla has sold to wholesalers, owned a Tribeca storefront, partnered with dance companies, worked with celebrities, and produced work for movies and television. Her custom leather jackets have most recently been worn on the movie adaptation of “West Side Story”.
“I have really loyal customers.”
The majority of the leather work that Carla produces is completely custom, and she specializes in high-end leather jackets. This custom work keeps her incredibly busy, and Carla shares that her company has enjoyed consistent growth and remains on an upward trajectory.
As she looks to the future, Carla hopes to grow her online storefront with select styles offered in standard sizes. While she is excited to grow this ready-made line, Carla is particularly passionate about custom projects for her loyal clients – like an alligator jacket she recently completed. As she says, “I’d get bored with basic jobs.” A quick browse through her online shop reiterates this point, with her “anything but basic” collection.