First-Class Clouds Lounge: An Interview with Designer Rolando Santana
The New York City fashion scene has been quite eclectic as each year brings fashion designers that represent the beauty of the Big Apple- a melange of nationalities whose creativity has taken root and built the foundation of such a grand metropolis. And with excitement, one of these talented individuals is Rolando Santana, who was born and raised in Mexico and has come to add his own touch to the fashion world. Recently, fashion + class & jet lag sat down with the ultra-busy designer in his airy & expansive showroom to ask a few questions about the gentleman behind the brand.
FC&JL| What are 3 things that you always pack in your carry-on luggage?
RS: A self-made cashmere blanket with a miniature pillow, iPod, sketch pad
FC&JL| Describe to me what is “Rolando Santana” the brand. Who is “Rolando Santana” the designer?
RS: The brand– I wanted to create something original of great quality where my clients could use the garments for all occasions- work, events, daily routine. Where a woman could feel beautiful throughout the entire day rather than just for a special night out or an important gathering. The brand is not mass production or a trend follower. They’re pieces to experience and for longevity. On the runway, the collections are never made for shock value and attention. I want my clients to immediately identify with what they see, and think where and for what occasion they could wear the pieces.
The designer– What to say about myself… I’m simple, passionate, and uncomplicated. I love to be in my showroom, my second home, and gather creativity and ideas. I always see this showroom like a raw canvas where I get to create. This is where the best of me comes out.
FC&JL| What is your favorite fabric?
RS: Wool jersey. I use it a lot for Fall/Winter 2011 and it’s made in the USA, which I think is very important.
FC&JL| If we looked through your closet, what would we see?
RS: Very organized (laughs) but it happens naturally, not because I’m obsessed. I have a minimum number of pieces, but of great quality- I make sure to wear everything. You would also see a lot of Navy Blue, my favorite color, and classic pieces. I’m really into bags. You can never have enough of those.
FC&JL| If you could choose anywhere in NYC without any restrictions whatsoever, where would you host your next runway show?
RS: The possibilities are endless… I think Grand Central Terminal would be great. Even somewhere outdoors like Central Park, but with an artificial setting. But that would be weather permitting and during Fashion Week you never know what to expect.
FC&JL| True. But that’s with anything to do with New York City… So throughout your fashion career, what was one lesson that you learned that you will never forget?
RS: An important lesson that I learned was how invaluable it is to work for a small company, especially your own. I’ve been able to learn all true aspects of fashion- from the business side to design to sourcing, everything. Being self-involved has been tremendous and it has given me so much understanding. These are lessons that are hard to come by unless you’re in it.
FC&JL| What does Rolando Santana do to decompress, have fun + step away from the public world?
RS: This is why you choose a career that you’re passionate about. As a designer, there’s never really much down time. You’re always promoting the collection, traveling, having meetings, and so on. Although it can be demanding at times, it’s an enjoyment. I take trips to go see my family + friends in Mexico, but my mind and fingers always wander back to sketching.
FC&JL| From all your designs, what is your most favorite that you want Rolando Santana to be known for?
RS: Definitely dresses. That’s the idea that the brand was started on and the direction I would like to solidify it as.
FC&JL| What will be the inspiration for your Spring/Summer 2012 collection?
RS: Florentine architecture. On a trip to Florence last year, I was suddenly mesmerized by such antique beauty- all of the pieces of art and old buildings were breathtaking. I took endless pictures, but I think I should go back sometime within the next few weeks. Just to refresh my memory and gather more inspiration…
FC&JL| Sounds like the perfect excuse to me. Can I use the same excuse and come, too? (Laughter) So once womenswear has taken firm ground, what is the next venture?
RS: The sky is the limit, but wedding dresses seem to be my strongest desire. I would love to create pieces for women for their most memorable day. That, to me, would be amazing.
Looks from Fall|Winter 2011
(pictures via Rolando Santana)