How did you get started as a clothing designer?
Well I was fashion design and graphics communication double major student at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, following high school. My sophomore year, I transferred to Fashion Institute of Technology where I solely studied fashion design. During my junior year I landed a job with my then favorite American designer DONNA KARAN NEW YORK as a production/design assistant for DKYNY women’s division.
After two and half years with no path for growth, I left the company and New York to return to hometown Washington, D.C. I immediately started compiling a private clientele and following, designing under my own label, DARRELL CORTEZ-DESIGNER. Education and knowledge put to work, I established myself as a strong hold in the DC metropolitan area, eventually branching into theater costume design, working on such productions as Two Trains Running, Black Nativity, The Nutcracker and Ain’t Misbehavin with prominent theaters; Kennedy Center, Studio Theater and Howard University.
I returned to the Apple for three years where I branched further into entertainment segment, where I got the opportunity to work on my first music video; “What’s It Gonna Be” by Busta Rhymes featuring Janet Jackson. From that point on I worked non-stop for some of the biggest names in the Rap and R&B; P-Diddy, Missy Elliott, 112, Macy Gray, Mariah Carey and R. Kelly, in music video, concert tours, album covers, television and a feature film.
I now continue to work under my private label of my namesake, under my umbrella company CHROME EYE CREATIVE SERVICES, which is a full-service firm, providing fashion/costume design; wardrobe styling; beauty/grooming; photography and art direction.
What inspires you as a designer?
Anything and everything can inspire me. Like Isaac Mizrahi said in his documentary Unzipped, a movement, a gesture can inspire me.”
I agree, a color, a destination, animate or inanimate objects can give me an idea and collection can evolve from that.
My most recent collection, The Woodsman, was inspired by a single article of clothing, which really isn’t considered clothing, but more so an accessory. The 70’s dickie. I found one in a thrift stores years ago and have been subconsciously fascinated with reviving it. It was only last year that I decided to base a collection around it. It says winter, woods, lumberjack and that’s how the collection developed.
What are your dos and don’ts as a designer?
Do follow your heart and instincts, always, in any situation in life. Do perfect your craft, the craftsmanship of each garment should be better than the last. Do set yourself a part from the rest, somehow. In each collection, if you do pick up and follow a seasonal design trend, as in a color, a pattern or an innovative textile of the future.
Do all that you can to educate yourself about the business side of fashion, not just the design room techniques. Draping, pattern-making and garment construction isn’t the only thing that will help you to be successful. Knowing the ins and outs of the industry is priceless knowledge. It’s a very cut throat and competitive business and you have hundreds of thousands who aspire to and do work hard in the design field. If it isn’t your deep-rooted passion, you will be disheartened and lose your drive.
As for don’ts , don’t neglect to heed to my above do’s. LOL
Do you find yourself over thinking a design? How do you come to a final decision on a design?
I do all that I can to make sure that I complete each garment that is aesthetically appealing as functional and timeless. Once I feel that I have accomplished those check points, I hang the garment on the rack
How do you keep up to date with the new trends? Or do you create your own trend?
I do stay abreast of new and recurring trends, as fashion repeats itself. I do a lot of research and pay homage to major influences and ideas from the past. I couple those inspirations and bring them into my current collections and projects that I embark on.
What sets you apart from other designers?
It’s conscious and subconscious to the elements I put into each seasonal collection. I design what I like and what I would want to wear. Simultaneously, aesthetics and economics are run hand-in-hand. I want the runway appeal and I want the market appeal. I want the customer to want the piece, while feeling justified in spending the price point.
Where do you see Chrome Eye Creative Services in the next 5 years? How do you plan on achieving it?
I see Chrome Eye as a thriving, successful force in the field of fashion/entertainment with a range of creative services in fashion/costume design; wardrobe styling; product styling/branding; beauty/grooming; photography/video and art direction.
Coupled with my team’s incredible expertise and creativity, we plan to achieve this goal by taking on the best-fitted clients/projects and bring their visions and goals to fruition one job at a time. We have currently inked some exciting deals with artist and product line development, styling and branding. It will get better from this point on.
How can readers get in contact with you?
Readers can visit my website at: www.chromeeyecreative.com
I can be contacted through the following two email addresses: firstname.lastname@example.org