Many designers look to decades past for inspiration. Our latest NYC-based designer went back to the ‘70s, inspired by the music and culture of 1970’s glam rock. Pedro Ramirez, the designer and brain behind Stigma NYC, took these historical elements and made them modern, young, daring, whimsical and wearable. Learn about Pedro’s take on textile innovation and why breaking out of one’s shell sometimes requires creating one….a fabric shell that is :).
How and why did you start designing?
I started drawing clothes at very young age as a way to express myself against a conservative society, where some of the aesthetic rules did not make sense to me. As I grew, I started draping with fabrics on miniature forms and creating my own looks. By the time I finished high school, I wanted a career as fashion designer.
Why your brand is called Stigma?
Because all our life is filled with social stigmas and stereotypes and Stigma NYC is about making your own mark within the society. That’s my fashion philosophy – dress to stand out and express yourself with sophistication. Don’t dress to blend or fit in. You should define your own stigma.
Where do you go and what do you do for inspiration?
Here in New York City there is plenty of inspiration. I can be in the subway and see someone with a look that inspires me. I see something in a museum that catches my attention and I use it in my work, or I find inspiration in elements from a building.
I also used periods of time for inspiration such as the late sixties or seventies and modernize them.
What inspired you last collection?
The Glam Rock movement from the 1970’s and looks inspired by the androgyny of Patti Smith and David Bowie. I also used activewear elements such as razor back or thumb holes on the sleeves. The combination of those two concepts bring to life the Creatures of the Night collection.
How has your design changed over time?
I’m more clean and demure now than I was in the beginning. I learned that my customer likes cleaner silhouettes with a twist and novelty textures.
What do you think about fashion today?
Fashion today has endless possibilities due to advances in technology (especially in the textile field).
What is your biggest hurdle building a brand today?
Getting channels for distribution and relationships with stores is my biggest challenge. However, I think once you get in a store, you build a clientele and you learn what they like and dislike and the store usually keeps you in mind when they are looking for deliveries. The hard part is breaking in.
Any tips and tricks of the trade?
Try to keep in touch with your direct customers because it is difficult to hear the opinions of the consumer.If you have the chance meet you customer talk to them, ask them where they go, what kind of jobs they have, and what are they looking when they are shopping.
Let Pedro know what you think of his latest collection, Creature of the Night.