DEPARTED- A CHAT WITH FASHION DESIGNER ALEXIS ROSARIO

Two weeks ago, I travelled East for my bi-annual pilgrimage to New York City for the Spring/Summer 2017 Menswear collections.  Along with the glitz and glamour of the NYFW catwalk shows, salon style fashion presentations and chic celebrity DJ’ed event after parties, fashion brands from across the globe converged at Piers 92 & 94 for the (Capsule) NY Men’s and the Liberty Fairs fashion tradeshows.  Open only to registered retail buyers, fashion influencers and the media, walking the tradeshows is an essential tool for discovering new and emerging brands, forecasting future fashion trends, and if you are lucky, garnering the occasional “personal” order from your favorite designer at wholesale.  Walking Capsule, I saw several brands I liked- standouts including TIMO WEILAND, MARTIN ASBJORN and GHSTS

(Capsule) NY Men's

Yet, I think my best discovery was a relatively new LA based menswear line, which I feel has tremendous industry promise.  I had a nice chat with the brand’s Head of Marketing, she was manning the booth, and I arranged to submit questions to the line’s Creative Director to learn more about him and his vision for the brand. 

I give you, Alexis Rosario and DEPARTED.

Peruvian Fashion Designer and DEPARTED Creative Director Alexis Rosario. Photo: Michael Bezjian

AL- Tell me a little bit about yourself- Where did you grow up?  What was your family life like?

AR- I grew up in South America… Lima, Peru to be exact.  Lima is actually similar to my current home town of Los Angeles, California, as it boarders the Pacific Ocean, and reflects a beach town meets big city aesthetic, unique to coastal cities. Lima was colonized by the Spanish in the 16th century, and for centuries, it has been a leading destination for global immigration.  This created an environment of multi-cultural diversity, making Lima a really interesting place to grow up.  My father’s a lawyer and my mother’s a professor, and they both share an incredible passion for the arts, which was passed down to me.

AL- What made you decide to move to Los Angeles?

AR- I always wanted to relocate to the States, as I was attracted to both the music and entertainment industries. So, my choice was either to move to LA or NYC.  I finally decided to settle down in Los Angeles as, like I mentioned, it reminds me of Lima and I really don’t like the cold, unless I am skiing.  I go where the action is.  If it were the Roman times, I’d be in Rome.

AL- Did you always know you wanted to be a fashion designer?

AR- My background and education is in Architecture and Graphic arts, and when I moved to the States, I got a job working as a graphic designer.  I was later hired as an assistant graphic designer for a popular LA based menswear fashion brand, and it was there that I really developed my passion for fashion design.  Every day that I worked there, I kept my eyes wide open and ears to the ground, and absorbed as much information as I could about garment construction, sourcing, sampling, fits, washes, etc.  It was definitely on-site training that I was able to translate into practical application.

Model: Jimmy Q. Photo: Odessy Barbu

 

AL- What inspires you?  Where do you look to for inspiration?

AR- As a fashion designer, I get asked this question all of the time, and it’s really hard to give a definitive answer as there are just so many things in life that inspires me.  Life in general inspires me… Architecture, geometric shapes, fine art and sculpture, the grit and grunge of the London, mid-70’s punk sub-culture.   Sometimes, it is just a feeling or color which will drive an entire season’s collection.  It really just depends on where my head is at and what I am feeling at the moment.

AL- Are you influenced by other current designers or brands?

AR- I love the work of Arne Jacobsen, the Danish architect and designer who was a driving force behind Mid-Century Danish Modern furniture design.   Italian industrial designer, Massimo Vignelli, graphic and typography designer David Carson, American architect Richard Buckminster and Japanese fashion designer Issey Miyake.  Brands I’m into right now? Demobassa, D by D, & Hood by Air.

AL- You are now the Creative Director of a new menswear fashion brand named DEPARTED.  Can you tell me about it?

Models: Aaron Mann & Jimmy Q. Photo: Odessy Barbu. Styling: Zoe Battles

AR- I started working on the DEPARTED’s first capsule collection, for the Fall 2015 season, at the end of 2014.  I directed and shaped the brand’s vision based on a concept that I feel should be a standard for modern menswear: Producing a line that is casual enough to wear comfortably by day, and yet dressy enough to wear out to any evening’s event.  I call it “designer contemporary menswear fused with elevated streetwear”. The premiere collection was inspired by Daguerreotypy, the early to mid-19th century process used for portrait photography.  When you research Daguerrotypes of that era, the subjects are always reflected as incredibly stoic… Think historic portraits of Abraham Lincoln… and they are usually dressed in heavy black suiting for men and black formal dresses on woman.  Many times, you would see images of people with their eyes closed, as families would commission a Daguerreotype of a recently deceased relative; Daguerroetypy was an expensive process at the time and that photograph would be the only visual image the family would have to remember their loved one.  It’s a rather morbid concept, but an interesting visual inspiration for fashion season.

Model: Levi Stoke. Photo: Cameron McCool

AL- Can you describe your inspiration for your upcoming Spring/Summer 2017 collection?

AR- This collection is all about Utilitarian fashion.  Form and function.  I utilized heavy hardware, lots oF zippers and oversized zipper pulls, studs, Velcro, stretch canvas and twill mixed with plaid to create a post-apocalyptic nod to vintage Vivienne Westwood.

AL- In five words, please describe yourself as a fashion designer.

Innovative, pensive, determined, transfixed, motivated

Departed Shop website

 

 

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