Fashion Thoughts of a Minimalist Avante-garde (Designer)
Q. Where did you study and how did you learn your craft?
I went to school in New York City at Katharine Gibbs. I studied public relations for a few years and came back to New York and studied fashion merchandising there. After that I did a hands-on internship and then went to work with Diane Von Furstenberg.
Q. What was the inspiration behind this menswear collection for Spring/Summer 2013?
This past summer I saw an exhibition in New York by this artist about Mexican gangs and how members of the rival gangs come and leave messages and flowers for those who died at the hands of the opposite gang. I like to show the softer side of all men and highlight that they do not have to be strong, always. So I am just really inspired by that too.
Everything is made in the Dominican Republic, where I belong to, but it does not really play a hard role in this collection.
Q. Your style has been described as a minimalist avant – garde. Would you say that is an accurate description?
Yes, I think so because when I design it is just soft, not too strong or too much of the fabric. For me, it is art. It is very simple but has special curves or cuts that make it avant-garde, but not as crazy as other things you see that you cannot wear.
Q. A lot of the looks have a very androgynous, unisex feel. Do you think they can be worn by both men and women?
Sometimes yes. It depends on the piece — if it is a dress with a certain cut a guy may not be able to wear it as the body shape is different. But some styles can fit both sexes depending on the fabric and cut. Though some girls do wear menswear, I design them mostly with guys in mind.
Q. Can you explain the idea behind one of the standout pieces, a vest with more detail and looping down the back?
That piece is unisex. I usually like to do something with elastic, shapes and design. It is really art Deco inspired and I like to put one, two, or three pieces like that in each collection. Sometimes I use hardware, because my father was a mechanic and I was always interested in that.
Q. One of the menswear pieces is a sheer pink lace over coat, very different for menswear. What was the inspiration for this one?
That is also a unisex piece that I put in the collection with other lace pieces, mostly inspired by the Mexican gangs, trying to bring in a softer look for men.
Q. How can your collection be worn by a metropolis man who is into an avant-garde look?
This collection is more of a fashion-forward sportswear collection, it is much softer than the ones before. The white shorts and pants in this collection are great to mix in, and any guy in New York City can wear them. The low-crotch pants are very good for guys who want to be fashionable with just a white T-shirt for a simple yet interesting, layered look.
Q. Last but not least, which designer would you pay homage to?
McQueen. He was one of my many inspirations and continues to be so. Rick Owens and Vivienne Westwood are also there. For these three, I always pay attention to and watch their shows for what they do. Every time I am draping, I am thinking of Vivienne, and she reminds me to push the envelope further.
Written by Chelsea Olson
*Chelsea Olson is a model, fashion enthusiast, writer, avid traveler, and a food and wine lover based in South Beach. Chelsea is the city editor for Dining Out Miami, a magazine restaurant guide, and the editor for Eater Miami, a restaurant, bar, and nightlife blog.