Each week we will be highlighting one of the fabulous emerging designers from Phoenix Fashion Week 2016. This week, meet Amanda Casarez-Ramirez, a fashion designer in Washington DC who’s brand Amanda Casarez is all about reinvented classics with an androgynous edge.
What is your brand message: Gender Bending classics for the avant-garde professional.
Hometown: Livingston, CA
First fashion job: My first fashion job was in Honolulu, HI, during my senior year at UH Manoa for a local designer. I interned at Allison Izu LLC, a womenswear brand for petite women, and Love and Aloha, a Hawaii-based brand manufactured for the Japanese market. One of my main tasks was pattern making, followed by grading, cutting, and sample making. While working for Allison I was introduced to every aspect of the fashion business, which is the advantage of working with a self owned fashion business vs a large company. I was also introduced to specialty markets and an the importance of local production. As I gained industry experience I learned to appreciate the importance of specialty/niche markets and saw the positive economic impact of local production, experiences that still influence my work today.
When did you know you had a passion for fashion: I come from a family of women seamstresses. I have been designing my own creations since my mother introduced me to sewing and pattern-making as a young girl. I alway knew I wanted to be a fashion designer, but not everything happens the way you plan it. I earned my first bachelor’s degree in Biology and worked in the pharmacy industry for several years, I felt compelled to pursue my passion and left the pharmaceutical world to study fashion design when I relocated to Hawaii due to my husband’s military career.
Person who has impacted your life the most: The women in my life have and are very important to me, my mother being the most influential. She showed me how to be independent and be resilient, and alway know that anything worth having in life takes hard work.
Your biggest fashion accomplishment in your eyes: Up to date, my biggest accomplishment was being asked to participate in an event, Hispanicize, in Miami, with Latina Magazine Creative Director, Ebby Antigua, and Harlem Fashion Row founder Brandice Henderson. I was part of a panel being interviewed about my work and the struggles faced as a Latina woman in the fashion industry, and presented my A/W’16 fashion line.
The biggest obstacle you have overcome: My life is filled with obstacles, but I try to make the best out of every situation. My biggest obstacle is having to move every 3 to 4 years because of my husband’s career. He is active military, therefore he gets new orders every 3 to 4 years. It’s difficult because as soon as I get settled I have to move, the positive is that it forces me to continue to grow, it forces me to reestablish myself in a new area, which in reality helps to expand my client base.
A Designer who inspires you: Del Pozo with Josep Font is a favorite, I love the use of structure and architectural lines. But I also love Carla Fernandez, a Mexican designer whose fashion label is inspired by the geometrics and textile richness of Mexico, she works directly with artisans all over Mexico in efforts to keep traditional indigenous textiles from dying off. She truly is inspiring!
Favorite quote: “…in certain human undertakings, there can be a fine line between madness and innovation.” – Sean Braswell. To that I say, let me be mad!
“La locura es el placer que solo los locos conocemos, esconde tu locura detrás de una sonrisa.” – Paulo Coelho
Advice to someone pursuing a career in fashion as a designer: Work for someone who knows what they are doing before you take on the huge task of launching your own line, learn, gain experience and confidence, as well as hone and develop your own style/aesthetic. Learn from other peoples mistakes!
Favorite piece you have ever designed: One of my favorite pieces is a boiled wool cropped jacked with pleated silk organza sleeves. I loved the structure and the combination of fabric textures. It was also one of the most time consuming pieces I have created up to date, it took hours to pleat the fabric before cutting the sleeves out, which included measuring, pining, and ironing each individual pleat.
For more information about Amanda Casarez, visit amandacasarez.com.
If you would like to attend Phoenix Fashion Week 2016, you can purchase tickets here: bit.ly/PHXFWFABAZ. Use promo code FABAZ for $20 gift card good towards any seat (not applicable towards standing room tickets).