Saturday, 23 October 2021

Interview with Fashion Designer Camila Lawrence

Hi There..... Do you like patchwork? Are you ready for another fashion designer interview?

The fashion designer I am featuring today has her own special vision of fashion design. Reason enough to spotlight her patchwork designs on my blog. 😊

Patchwork evokes memories from the time my kids were in primary school. That's a very long time ago, but they are such fond memories. I had so much fun sewing. 😁

Especially the times I sent my son to school in new trousers and had him come home with holes at the height of his knees. Oh yes, on both sides. If you have kids of your own, I bet you can imagine how delighted I was? 😬

Ok, I admit, maybe I wasn't that happy. I can't recall how many knee pads I had to sew on all his trousers. Those patchwork trousers looked ever so cute. As William J. Clinton said, "You can put wings on a pig, but you don't make it an eagle". 😂

Time to tell you some more about the patchwork designs of Camila Lawrence Armas, the fashion designer I interviewed this time. 😍

What is the function, and the company you work for?

I work under the brand name Kitsch. As a freelance designer who is in her first couple of years of being in the industry, my job goes beyond the creative side of designing, sourcing for, and stitching garments. I also have to manage the business side of things, such as marketing and customer service. 

Although, it is a lot of work for one person to do, so I will be looking to put a team together to work alongside me once I graduate. I always want to be as hands-on with the whole beginning-to-end process of thinking up a design for the completed garment, making it to a customer to make sure that my vision and ethos are always properly represented.

How old are you? 

I am 20 years old. I think being so young in this industry is a double-edged sword given that on the one hand there always is attention directed towards young designers as for who may break through next, however, because it is an over-saturated market cementing yourself as a trusted, good quality label can be hard when competing with names that have been known and loved for years and decades. 

What kind of work do you do, or what are you studying to be? 

I always base all of my work on sustainability to a certain degree. Out of all the garments that I have designed only two of them (a one-off jacket for the archives and my made-to-order Liberty flares) were made using entirely new materials. Every other piece from my brand has been made using 60-100% recycled fibers. 

One of the whole points behind my work is that every single piece I make is gonna be different and unique, so one of my favorite things to work on are custom made orders as they allow me to work alongside the customer in designing a perfect piece for them they couldn’t have found otherwise. This is a lengthier process than selling my ready-to-wear pieces, but I do it because it is both a more personal and challenging service to offer, which tends to always help me broaden my horizons. 

It is because of my constant desire to cover as many bases as possible that I am currently finishing my last year of a Footwear Foundation Degree, which will allow me to move onto my third and final year of university studying Professional Studies of Creative Industries. 

I think of myself as a mixed-media creative as opposed to a fashion designer, so not checking myself into a certain box is vital to me and my development as an artist who is constantly seeking interesting ways to entertain herself through producing visually intriguing products. 

Picture by Joel Butterworth

What made you decide to become a fashion designer?

From a young age I have been actively involved in various creative disciplines -including a brief period at around 8 years old when I would sew with my grandma, so for me becoming a designer wasn’t so much a decision as much as it was a natural progression. In my early teenage years, I realized that if I allowed myself to be innovative, I could merge my love and interest in different practices, such as writing poetry and creating art, into one vessel: fashion. 

Is fashion important to you? Why?

Fashion and style are definitely important to me, as wearing a fit that feels right for the day helps me feel more confident. For this reason, I do often overdress for the occasion, however. Expressing myself through how I dress makes navigating life more pleasant, as it makes it easier to attract like-minded people. 

What are your successes and how did you achieve them?

I like to let my work speak for itself and let the right audiences find me as opposed to the other way round. I know I am extremely lucky to have been presented with all the amazing opportunities I’ve had, albeit it does all stem from very hard work. 

The most ‘pinch me’ moment of my career so far was early March this year, when I was presented with the opportunity of collaborating on a campaign with Adidas x Depop. I got to customize a pair of PRIMEGREEN Stan Smith trainers from Adidas’ new sustainable production line, which marked the beginning of their journey towards sustainability; something I’m immensely proud to have been involved with. 

Another memorable moment is having recently had my first collection open The Revival Charity Fashion Show in Durham on the 23rd of June; helping raise money to support victims of human trafficking. These kinds of accomplishments mean a lot to me because they not only serve me the purpose of living out my designer fantasy, but they have a greater meaning of fomenting sustainability and contributing to charity. 

Picture by Joel Butterworth

Is the name of the brand important to you when you buy clothing?

 I'm a firm believer of the fact that it's not about the clothes themselves but how you wear them, so when I'm looking for new clothes, I base my purchases on the look of the garment itself, alongside fiber composition, as opposed to the name on the label.

Mostly, I shop second hand as I like to keep fashion circular so in these instances I never take into consideration the brand, however, if I am thinking about buying a completely new piece of clothing I try to avoid brands with production and work ethics I do not agree with, although out of necessity is not always possible for me at this stage in my life. 

Describe your personal style of clothing

Oh, defining my personal style is a very hard thing to do! I like a challenge so I try to vary my outfit silhouettes as much as possible, and I love the pointless layering of pieces, whether that comes as see-through garments, underwear as outerwear, vests, and ties, multiple necklaces in varying lengths, or anything else I can think up at the moment. 

Bright colors are a relatively recent introduction to my wardrobe and whilst I do often spot them, I concentrate them to only one or two accent pieces per outfit if any. 

Finding my personal style is a more ongoing journey as opposed to a destination I feel like I’ve reached. I definitely have a somewhat defined style which is an anti-fashion-forward rock with a helping of preppy and playful camp to dark-femme academia, so basically very 60-80s inspired mainly, hahaha. 

How did you find your personal style? Do you have a signature look?

As I just said, I like to vary my outfit's silhouettes as much as possible. However, I realize that there actually are certain features I always carry throughout most of my outfits. 
I wear a lot of shirts, either beneath a vest or cropped jumper or unbuttoned on top of other items. 

All of my bottoms but one pair of trousers are high-waisted, and flared legs definitely dominate my wardrobe with a firm hand. I really like hefty footwear, which is why for the past 5 years I’ve mostly been wearing 1460 doc Martens or Buffalos. The same time period for which I’ve had multiple hoops and safety pins hanging from each ear and my hair cut above my shoulder. I really don’t think I could feel like myself with long hair again! 

Do you have an influence on other people’s clothing style?

I think any designer who is asked this question would say yes, of course! Whether it's true or not. Obviously, I can only speak about my own experiences but when people in my life find out that I am successfully forging my path in the fashion industry in their heads it sometimes translates to having a personal stylist and/or shopping assistant, which I’m not complaining about. 

I absolutely love helping with such things. However, I am better off making statement pieces for bold outfits as opposed to pulling one together for anyone who doesn’t share my exact own style. 

A few months ago I was doing research for one of my uni modules when I came across an article by Bustle titled ’10 of the Best Depop Stores to Get to Know Before Everyone Does’ in which I found my brand Kitsch shortlisted and praised for “undoubtedly helping to bring patchwork sweater vests back in style” so I was thankful the media and I agree regarding my position in the fashion game. 

What in your eyes are the best trends at the moment?

There are some nice trends going on right now that I have been really enjoying, like the resurgence of second-skin tops, cut-out anything, and slinky tie garments. Not only are these trends ones that I often enjoy wearing myself, but they are also design features I love experimenting with through my work. 

Although having a background education in fashion makes it easier to spot rising and falling trends, I purposely avoid looking through magazines, trend books, or even brand’s and designer’s social media, because most everything in fashion has been done repeatedly already, so being creative and different is already challenging enough without having the image of other designs stuck in your brain.

What in your eyes are the worst trends at the moment?

In my opinion, the worst trend happening at the moment are those super chunky colorful rings, typically made of plastic, clay, or glass in irregular shapes. Some rings themselves look pretty as little trinkets, however, I personally can’t stand the way they make fingers look. 

Other than that there is no other trend that I genuinely dislike because even if something is not my thing I can appreciate it when someone can make it work howbeit there is not a single person I’ve seen wearing those chunky rings who has made me think they look alright on. 

What kind of fashion advice would you give us?

I think the best piece of fashion advice that I could give anyone is that being confident in yourself is the single most attractive quality that anyone can have, so don’t worry about what you’re wearing or whether a certain piece of clothing suits you: just have fun with it! 

Who is your style icon and why?

I'm not sure that I have a style icon as much as I am influenced and inspired by different sources. Jim Morrison with his flowy hair, beaded necklaces, concha belt, and leather trousers has always been a quintessential figure that I’ve looked up to for many reasons. Alongside other icons such as Freddie Mercury and the wonderful way, he would experiment with gender associations and expectations through the eccentric manner in which he would present himself to the world, to Lady Gaga and her boundary-pushing statements that are forever turning heads in both positive and negative ways. 

Is there something else you would like to say to us?

Please, everyone, don’t feel as if you have to wait for something to be deemed fashionable to wear it! Trends are forever going around in circles and they have done so for years and years, so if you still want to wear neon yellow even though it's not as hot now as it was two years ago, then do it anyway! It will come back again for sure in another few years. And besides, you cannot be a trendsetter if you’re following what everyone else does.

Thank you Camile for answering my questions with so much detail. I love your point of view on sustainability. 😍

Check some of my previous fashion designer interviews

Hope you like my blog.....Until next time.....Have a nice day 

Renata (Seadbeady)

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Wednesday, 20 October 2021

Interview with Fashion Stylist Danielle Ferrari

Hi There..... Would you like to learn more about what goes on in the life of another fashion stylist? Perhaps it’s time to give you some new inside knowledge of the fashion industry? 

Today’s interview is different because it is not only about a fashion stylist but also about resale and rental. 😊

No, no, of course not about the rental or resale of houses. What would a fashion stylist have to say about the rental or resale of houses? Possibly nothing, I suppose, so that kind of blog post would be a complete mess since I have nothing to say on this topic either. 😨

Then again, I am still wondering what I could say about resale and renting in fashion. Perhaps all my blog posts are a mess, but I just don’t realize it. If that’s the case, I hope you let me know before I make a complete fool out of myself. 😱

Ah, what does it matter? For all I know, it’s way too late for that. Perhaps it’s ok to make fun of me if it makes you feel better afterward. At least I will have made someone a little happier. 😏

Have you ever been to a resale store or rented any clothes? Perhaps you wanted to go to a special occasion and thought, I am not buying a new dress or suit to keep hanging in my closet afterward to never see daylight again. I am wondering, where would you go to find that kind of clothing? 😕

Let's find out if the answers from fashion stylist Danielle Ferrari make us any wiser. 😍

What are your name, function, and the company you work for?  

I’m Danielle Ferrari, owner, and founder of Valhalla Resale, Inc. Valhalla is the first and only brick and mortar clothing membership for rental. In Tampa, FL, Valhalla’s store is open to customers and members alike. Customers can shop second-hand just like any other shop while members can rent any item they like, somewhat like borrowing from a friend’s closet. 

How old are you?

I’m 38

What kind of work do you do, or what are you studying to be? 

I own and operate Valhalla Resale, working to bring our unique concept to more locations.

What made you decide to become a Fashion Stylist?

I never set out to become a fashion stylist. For me, being a business owner came first, and learning to be a stylist came as a necessity in order to run my business, since the membership comes with a built-in personal stylist 

Is fashion important to you? Why? 

Fashion is super important to me because it’s the best and fastest way we can express ourselves without saying a word. Walking into a room wearing a brightly colored sundress might convey to a crowd (rightly or wrongly) that you’re a fun, cheerful person. 
I think we’ve all have experienced what a face mask can convey. See someone not wearing a mask in a grocery store? You might guess at that person’s thoughts on the social good.  

What are your successes and how did you achieve them?

I think my biggest success in my life so far has been opening and successfully operating Valhalla Resale. When you start a business, no one has ever done before, it’s a scary prospect. Not only has the concept not been tested in the market before, but there isn’t a framework that exists for how the operation should run. We’ve been open for 4+ years now. 

Is the name of the Brand important to you when you buy clothing?

I really don’t buy clothing for myself since essentially I rent my entire wardrobe from Valhalla. But when I need to buy new essentials, the brand is important to me, but so are the materials used to construct the item. I look for brands that are transparent in their supply chains and pay their workers a fair wage. I also look for natural materials to cut down on my fossil fuel consumption. Most people don’t realize that almost all of our clothes are made by women working in modern-day slavery and those clothes are mostly made of plastic. 

Describe your personal style of clothing?

My personal style is really all over the place. I really enjoy wearing something different all the time, which may be why I created a store where you can literally wear something different every single day without having to pay for each item of clothing. 

How did you find your personal style? Do you have a signature look? 

If anyone was to say I have a “signature” look, it would probably be something red—I’m always looking for that perfect shade of red. 

In what way do you influence other people’s clothing style?

With Valhalla’s membership, members can wear anything they like in the store without having to worry about the price. This really helps open the pathways for our members to try different styles without commitment. 
With that in mind, I usually try to push members’ boundaries. If they mention in their style profile, they dislike a certain color or style, I usually try to ensure I include a version of an item in their next style selection. 

What are in your eyes the best trends at the moment?

The best trend, in my opinion, is the slow fashion or sustainable fashion movement. The fashion industry is the second worst polluting industry in the world (next to the fossil fuel industry). When you slow down your consumption to only things you’ll love for years to come (slow fashion) or limit your choices to clothing where you’re extending the life cycle with second-hand shopping (sustainable) you can make a big difference in your carbon footprint. 
At Valhalla, we take a circular approach to the life-cycle. We produce nothing new - all of our clothing comes from the used markets - and our clothing gets used repeatedly before finding its permanent home. Therefore, we don’t produce waste. 

What are in your eyes the worst trends at the moment?

I think the worst trend is fast fashion. The fast fashion industry pumps out new “looks” every week to give consumers the false sense that they’re behind on the latest trends. This causes people, and women specifically, to feel like they’re out of touch with fashion and to keep buying to keep up even if that particular style doesn’t flatter their individual bodies. Everyone has a differently shaped body, and every style doesn’t flatter everybody. I’d love to see a trend where people dress in what makes them feel and look good regardless of fast fashion telling you what's trending this week. 

What kind of fashion advice would you give us?

The best fashion advice anyone could use is: “Dress in what makes you feel good.” 
The only type of magic I believe in is the magic of clothing. When you’re looking good, you feel good. When you don’t dress like yourself or in clothes that make you feel powerful, your mood shifts down. 

Who is your style icon and why?

I’d probably say Joan Jett is my style icon because she’s always worn what she wants and in a way that conveys her personality regardless of what the trend said was cool. She created cool. 

Thanks Danielle for taking the time to answer my questions. I love this system, and your looks are gorgeous. When will you be moving to Belgium, so that I can pay you a visit? 😉

Hope you like my blog.....Until next time.....Have a nice day 

Renata (Seadbeady)

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How to connect with European Brands or Small shops and Bloggers or Influencers

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