Bright and Bold

One-of-a-Kind Designer


     Amy Doan, proud owner of successful DIY fashion line Shrinkle as well as a makeup line called Sugarpill Cosmetics, delights in garish colors, eschewing the natural look. She finds her inspiration in circus makeup, bad dance costumes, obnoxiously bright colors, sequins, mismatched patterns and
Dolly Parton.
     Doan, 31, started experimenting with fashion early by modeling clothing creations she designed in secret — using thrift store lingerie, trash bags, aluminum foil, Saran wrap, duct tape and shower curtains — for her high school peers, away from her parents’ eyes. While Doan always knew she wanted to be a fashion designer, her parents, originally from Vietnam, had hopes she would choose a more traditional path, to become a doctor or a lawyer, for instance. We tracked Doan down for a quick interview.

Tell us about yourself.
     I was born and raised in the Bay Area and have lived here all my life.

You were an aspiring journalist in college. Why did you take up fashion design?
     After I graduated from Cal State Hayward, I was thrilled to have all the time in the world to sew. My hobby and obsession quickly grew into a full-time operation. By now I had gained a loyal following of repeat customers, and it was their kind words and support that pushed me to follow my dreams.

What’s cool about living and working in Oakland?
     Oakland has a special place in my heart because it’s where my parents first settled after emigrating from Vietnam in the late ’70s. They were young and in love, and my dad’s favorite place to take my mom on a date was Fentons. I love that Oakland has such an open-minded, supportive community of artists and small business owners. It is a beautiful, diverse city that is often misunderstood, so it’s almost like its citizens share a secret underdog bond.

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