Bakersfield-based fashion designer defies the odds

Posted at 10:35 AM, Feb 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-27 14:59:13-05

He may not be from one of the “big four” fashion capitals (New York, London, Milan, and Paris) of the globe, but he’s ranked as one of the top corset designers of the world: Bakersfield-based fashion designer Mitchell Carr, and his brand Mitchell Dane.

“All through college, I was obsessed with Vintage Dior. If you look on the inside of a Dior dress, you’re going to see boning over the chest to hold its shape,” Carr said. “I call them guts. I love pretty guts, so I like my garments to look as beautiful on the inside as they do on the outside.”

There was a moment where he did not know if he would get to see that passion through. Just before starting his debut program at the fashion institute of design and merchandising, Carr was in a car accident

“I broke both of my hands. And of course, being in the industry I’m in, I need those to do so,” he said. “The first two months of the program, I had a cast on both hands. [I was] still sewing, drawing, and everything like that, but I had to reteach myself everything.”

Carr said he dealt with depression and sought out therapy. He had to drive back and forth to Bakersfield from Los Angeles for the surgeries. He even did 16 weeks of physical therapy. None of that stopped him from creating nine looks by hand, on his own.

“I get to see all my stuff down the runway and I get to walk down the runway, with all my things. It was overwhelming for me,” Carr said. “It allowed me to find myself again in my sewing, stitching and my designing, and i was so afraid I wasn't going to be able to get to that point again.”

The look that opened the show represented the colors of a bee, and it’s ability to fly through adversity.

“The color of this dress is called golden olive. I saw it in the store and fell in love with it, and I had to fight my teachers to make it in that color, Carr said. “They said, ‘oh it won’t photograph well, oh it’s going to look terrible going down the runway.’”

Carr persevered for what he loves to do. He continued learning from bosses and mentors, Walter Mendez and Ryan Patros. You may have seen Walter Collection dresses on Jennifer Lopez and Beyonce. According to Carr, the design duo taught him a lot about bridal. Now, Carr designs his own wedding dresses, including one for his wife. 

“The thing I always keep in the back of my mind is–in thirty years, will their daughter wear it? In thirty years [from then] will their granddaughter wear it?” Carr explained. “In thirty years will they be able to say, ‘oh my God that was my wedding dress!’ It’s still so beautiful.’”

Carr’s atelier is based in enchanted bridal boutiques. On Sunday, he will be showing at the Kevin Rush Entertainment Bridal Expo at Mechanics Bank Arena at 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets are still available.