Design Splat | Interviews with Awesome Designers and Creatives

RALPH PINK – FASHION DESIGNER

Posted May 12th by Design Splat in Corsetry Designer, Fashion, Fashion Brand, Fashion Designers

Today we have the third feature of fashion designer week! Ralph Pink is a fashion designer from London. Ralph gave up his job in 2010 to pursue his dream of becoming one of the UK’s leading couture designers!

Ralph regularly video blogs on his website and this is how I came across his work. I found them extremely interesting and addictive and after watching them all I decided to contact Ralph about becoming a feature on Design Splat! His dedication and commitment is inspiring and admirable!

Enjoy!

– Interview

Hello and Welcome to Design Splat Ralph!


Tell us a bit about what you do and your brand:

I am fashion designer, in conceptual couture women’s wear, specialising in 17th century vintage corsetry and print design.
In October 2010 I quit my and decided to set up a fashion brand: Ralph Pink.

I also produced a website to document the progress of this brand, via blogging and HD video. Not only was the site launched to publicize my work but also to give a detailed insight to those wishing to do the same thing.
Six months on and the site is now an online resource for students, hobbyists, and professional designers alike with a total of 60,000 IP hits to date and climbing. The site includes Tutorials in design process, corsetry construction, print design, digital pattern cutting, garment CADing and a selection of free full size downloadable PDF Patterns for both men’s and womenswear.

For more details please view: http://www.ralphpink.com

Where did the idea for your site come from?

I was up late browsing you tube and I stumbled across a video diary of a male transsexual, a very down to earth sensitive person that was explaining all the issues he faces on a daily basis; family, friends, stereotyping, etc.
I thought what an amazing thing to do! It was very real, unlike some of the things you see on TV. I thought what a great idea. I then spent a considerable amount of time searching for a similar style of video on Fashion design. I found none and decided to start my own. It is one of the best things I have ever done.

What type of clothing?

The brand is highly conceptual luxury wear that aspires to absolute decoration of the female form. Embodying the classic hourglass silhouette and feminine quos, based on 1940’-50’s lingerie, pretty vintage burlesque. Modern cuts including 17th-18th century corsetry with a ridiculous amount of embellishment in the form of beading and embroidery, teamed with a series of art-nouveau style prints and detailing. Quite a random mix!

Who is your target audience?

25-35yr old women who buy fashion as an art form or a collector’s item… Or possibly whoever enjoys or appreciates my work.

Do you have your clothes in any stores yet?

No not as yet! This is my first profession collection and I am only half way through it. Hopefully I will find some buyers in March 2012, after my show at LFW.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I hope to be doing exactly what I am doing now, but with a sustainable, larger budget to really showcase my work. I would ideally like to be regarded as one of the UK’s best couture conceptual designers.

Anything big planned for your collection of clothes?

The collection itself is quite “big” when it comes to the concept and execution. The pieces for the couture line up are intensely complicated and will all be show pieces in their own right.

I hope to hold two shows in 2012 for the same collection; the first being in the limelight of LFW, which has its limitations concerning the set, production and mood of the show itself.

The second much smaller show will be true to the original concept of the collection. I have found a beautiful derelict dance hall from the 1930’s, with all the original features, this will be for a select few people and will showcase the collection in a dark, seductive, moody atmosphere that will hopefully add to the depth of the collection! It’s purely for the video and photography side of things.

How do you rate yourself as a fashion designer?

Very tough question to answer truthfully! I would like to be humble but you must believe in yourself to achieve anything, so I’m going to regret what I’m about to say. I truly believe this!

I am aspiring to be the best conceptual fashion designer the UK has to offer in the next five years. I would eventually like to think of myself in the realms of the super brands such as JPG and John Galliano. I have no idea if this is achievable, but if they’ve done it why can’t I. I believe I have what it takes to achieve this goal!

In your eyes what makes a good fashion designer?

Determined/ self motivated;
Ambitious in concept, design and construction;
Absolute self belief in your own abilities;
A solidified knowledge of what you want to do or achieve in life;
Humble;
Willing to see the best in all types of criticism;

Do you think the Fashion industry is difficult to break into?

Yes, it’s all who you know and not what you know, but generally I have found that if you are talented, work hard, determined to succeed and have realistic goals then people will start to see you and believe in your work, which eventually gets you the contacts you need to succeed.

Do you think qualifications in Fashion are essential to succeeding in the fashion industry?

Absolutely not! This is a creative industry and anything goes, as long as you have an eye for design.

I barely passed my Fashion BA HONS and I lost the HONS title, it didn’t stop me finding a well paid job. People in this industry are more interested in your ability and the quality of your work. The qualifications are merely a formality. But then I would say that, wouldn’t I!

What do you think it takes to become successful in the design industry?

I have an idea but no experience to give you a clear answer, all I can do is list things:
Absolute determination;
The ability to see things through to the bitter end regardless of any problem;
Professional experience (not a necessity but it helps);
A lot of personal financial backing, unless you’re sponsored;
A truly niche market, product or idea;
The right Contacts;
Some luck;
Humility
A business mind (all designers now a days are budding entrepreneurs)
Talent;
The list is endless!

What obstacles – if any, have you encountered along the way?

There are always obstacles some more difficult than the rest but the main three:

Software: HTML, Web design, video production and encoding have been a serious learning curve and I’m not sure I would do it all again I spent 1 year learning the ropes after work and most of the time getting nowhere, but the great thing about these obstacles was the sense of satisfaction and pleasure I got from finally getting past them. Now it’s a pleasure to do it.

Fashion: Toiling is a daily battle, but one I really enjoy, so I wouldn’t call them obstacles, you’re taught to get on with it.

Finance: I have been extremely lucky with my funding so I can’t complain at all!

Networking: The biggest bane of my life… I am a useless networker, and in this industry you really need to be on it night and day, this is a full time job and very exhausting especially if you’re not a natural. The fact there are now umpteen social sites and apps (Twitter, facebook, model mayhem, Linked London, etc.) – makes it very intense and I’m far too lazy! But like any job it’ something I must do!

What to you is the most important aspect of creating a garment, the planning, design or implementation and why?

Well I believe it’s all three, but not on such a structured commercial level. For me… and I’m sure it’s a personal thing with most designers…. It’s the Design and Creation.

Essentially I am recreating a dream, as tacky as that sounds. I don’t really care if someone will like it or even wear it, or if it will sell or be applauded! I’m making it because; in mind at that particular time I believe it’s beautiful and I want to see if I can create an idea in my mind; both in design concept, construction detail, and implementation in the form of styling, venue, mood atmosphere. Selling the item is more of an afterthought.

It is ultimately the most ambitious way for me to express myself and my ideas through a particular medium.

What drives you/give you the ‘go’ to keep at it and do everything?

Nothing I have ever experienced comes close to the feeling of excitement and joy of the whole design process from start to finish. However, the main driving force, the thing I focus on when things get tough; seeing my creations walk down that catwalk and the expressions on people’s faces. For thirty minutes everything in my life is perfect. There is so much happiness in those moments!

Does fame attract you?

I believe we are all exhibitionists and desire some form of attention whatever it might be. I won’t sit here and say that I’m not in it for the glory, but it’s not the driving force, it’s a nice bi-product (if it all works to plan of course… I am by no means famous).

Where does your inspiration come from for your designs?

Whilst I’m creating one collection, I will come across various images, items and ideas that don’t fit into the current collection so I put them to one side for the next project.

Also I love lying in bed with my headphones, imagining what might walk down my imaginary catwalk, it’s like a first rough sketch that’s very vague… but it gives me a starting point. You can take inspiration from literally anything, it just depends what is rolling around your mind at that particular point in time.

Where can we buy your clothes?

You can’t! Well not yet, but hopefully that will change in March 2012, when the collection is complete and shown at LFW.

Three words to describe yourself?

Happy, Skater, Focused!

Hobbies and other interests?

Me and my lovely girlfriend Skate every Saturday in Hyde Park and play Street Hockey, whilst drinking and smoking…There’s a huge and amazing community of skaters in London and I’m proud to be a part of it! Plus it keeps me healthy.

Favourite Fashion Designer?

Alexander Mc Queen
Thierry Mugler (corsetry)

Favourite trend this season?

I hate trend… I always get it wrong! I don’t follow trend for my work and I look ridiculous in trendy clothes, so I try and stick to what I know! Jumpers and jeans.

Tools of the trade?

Equipment:

Singer Industrial sewing machine
Pfaff Industrial overlocker
Bosch B25L Pro steam iron
Atwell HP500 –industrial eyelet setter
Dell Latitude E5400-fully loaded
Proxistar Set Daylight 450/450 –Video lighting
Full length dress manaquin
Morplan matt white shop mannequin
JVC Everio HD camcorder– Filming

Software:

Adobe Photoshop CS5 –Print Design, web design & Fashion Illustration
Adobe Illustrator CS5 –Digital Pattern cutting & Fashion Illustration
Adobe InDesign CS5 –Design & presentation Layouts
Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 –Video production
Adobe Dreamweaver CS5 –HTML & web design
TMPGenc 4.0 Xpress –video encoding
Camtasia studio 6 –Screen Capture tutorials
Vimeo- Video host site
Wordpress- Website platform
Artisteer- Creates templates for WordPress
WIX –online portfolio host

Any Tips or advice to share with aspiring designers?

Model Mayhem:

A great site not only for contacts (search hard for the good stuff) but also it’s an amazing online resource of photo’s and inspirational work especially if you can’t get out and about whilst researching. I always check out their list pages amazing!

Wix.com:

Great for building a quick simple Flash portfolio for your work that looks amazing. It has a very simple drag and drop interface.

Adobe:

The whole Adobe Suite is a massive creative tool… You should experiment with all the software it contains. I understand it expensive! But there are always ways you can acquire the software they even give you a 30 day free trial.
This is the future of all digital creativity and you should know these programs well. Realise the potential you can give your work using this software. (Search for online tutorials for these programs).

WWW:

There are millions of online forums and video tutorials out there… Literally anything you can think of. You can teach yourself anything I a relatively quick space of time.

Realise that your role models are human and they too started off in a similar position to yourself! The only difference between you and them is work, experience and time. Know your goals and commit to them. All you have to do is start. Solve each problem one at a time, until you reach your goal.

Contact Details:

Website: http://www.ralphpink.com

Email: contact@ralphpink.com

Other links: http://www.wix.com/ralphpink03/curiculum-vitae

Some of the fabulous creations by Ralph:



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