Monday, January 28

Interview With James De Colon

Contributed by Joyy Norris INTERVIEW
Design is a talent that has become as trendy as 80’s gear in 2007, that is to say it’s tired, wrong and is an offense made by those who supposedly know what they are doing. Being a purist myself, I believe the only way to true ascension into the fabulous domain of Design, Fashion Design that is, is to put one’s whole being into the work. From fabric to execution and of course a dedication that catapults the Designer’s career into decades reflecting the original ingenuity. That is what Fashion is all about, and the Designers who follow those rules of artistry thumb are bound to be rewarded and recognized for years to come. Such a Designer is Puerto Rican born, New York raised and Chicago adored couture creator, James De Colon.

James’s designs consist of the classic ideals the revered of Fashion Designers live by, making a garment that fits a woman the way they need to be fitted while allowing your signature moves to be properly admired. De Colon is one of those rare talents who has been in the industry for years keeping a low profile while staying true to the virtues that matter most to him, “...strictly fashion. My goal is to sell to the sophisticated woman who is sharp.” Letting nothing short of a complicated studio, home, boutique setup stall his efforts (though it really is fabulous, red walls framing his past neatly hung collections, his trademark polka dots cloaking his couches, with a golden gilded mirror to give the right intimate boudoir feel; it’s a fashionista’s dream come true.) James remains steadfast on his incredibly successful focused track and will soon be relocating from his private studio to a loft studio/boutique on the notably fashion forward North Side of Chicago, looking forward to it very much.

As both insider and notable fixture in fashion, James gives an honest and observant perspective on his career, inspirations and the industry he adores:

JN: What role has fashion played initially in your life?
JDC: My sisters have always been a very big influence on me. Watching them wearing beautiful clothes and also I grew up with old movie musicals from the 30s, 40s and 50s. So that was a big influence on me. Originally, I have always been into the arts. I wanted to be an actor, I also wanted to be in theatre but, when I was 14 I went to my first fashion show and it took me over. So, I started designing, because we have a lot of girls in my family so I started to dress them.

JN: What’s your favorite musical?
JDC: My favorite musical is On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, that’s with Barbara Streisand. Of the old musicals I would say The Great Ziegfeld because there’s a lot of costumes and it’s really, really elaborate; and for anyone who is in the designing field you study every detail in these musical productions and the tons and tons of costumes and beautiful gowns and headpieces, Oh My God, it’s undescribable.

JN: Do you think that seeing the costuming in The Great Ziegfeld carried into your own designs?
Oh definitely, definitely. Then later on the movies from the 40s and the 50s that was a big influence on me as well. I think the 50s was a very, very beautiful time in fashion, because you have all the great designers: Charles James, Norman Norell, Schiaparelli, St Laurent. Oh there’s Chanel of course.

JN: Who are your inspirations?
JDC: Valentino. I love his silhouettes. I love his colors.

What continues to inspire you throughout your time? How long has it been?
JDC: I’ve been designing over 20 years now. What inspires me...fabric inspires me, different prints, different textures. A lot of women inspire me believe it or not; sometimes I could be walking around the city and I see ladies coming down the street that look absolutely stunning and I usually turn around and compliment them because I admire allure and taste. When I go to Puerto Rico, when I take my trips to New York I’m inspired.

JN: What messages do you hope to get across in your designs?
JDC: Well, my trademark, which you will see every year, you will always see something with polka dots because that’s my trademark. Being Latino there’s a lot of talent in the Latino community and we need the opportunity for more exposure and recognition.

JN: Considering mainstream fashion and trends, what do you think of what’s being marketed as trendy and chic?
JDC: I don’t follow the trends. I’m very disappointed with the idea that many, many celebrities claim to be designers when they’re not. But they have no idea of what a clothing construction consists of: draping, pattern making, sketching, illustrating, fittings, nothing. We need to bring the true designer back into the industry.

JN:What do you see for the future of fashion? What do you think fashion will be?
I hope that it will always be a powerful element in society because we’ll always have to dress. Everything’s been done, except for a futuristic design because we’re in the Space Age. I would think that fashion will be focusing on a Space Age look, but that will be way, way down the line. I don’t think that will be happening anytime soon.

James De Colon
(773) 371-0321
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