In ten minutes the past few months of working on something is presented to the world. – Brendan M Combs, designer.
The following interview is part 1 of a 3 part interview series with Brendan who shares his design preparation, BTS [behind the scenes], his experience at SCAD, and his vision for his brand and the future of fashion to the EDGE network and viewers.
In this interview, Brendan tells his story about his preparation leading up to the final catwalk and in his words, post show, “The show itself is over so fast, and for myself, I only see it on a playback video after it’s over.”
Brendan, what a great beginning to your fashion career to show at New York Fashion Week [NYFW], Art Hearts Fashion. What was the process for getting in the show, how did you get connected?
Thank you! It was definitely a wonderful way to introduce myself to the industry. The process was interesting to say the least. It began with one of the models I used for the presentation happening upon a connection. My business manager, Leigh Moose, began to work with them on the prepping for the show, and regularly discussed with me creative decisions for my presentation like which venue would fit my collection best, etc. It was really a chance moment that happened, and I’m very happy it did.
I can imagine your excitement in presenting your work. What was involved in getting ready for this big runway event, from designing the collection to the final catwalk?
Excitement is only a small portion of what I was feeling throughout the process. I love what I do, and I’ll do it until the day I die because it excites me, I love it, I hate it, it causes me to think in ways I’ve never thought before, and constantly opens up new avenues for me in the form of research and inspiration. This particular collection was very different from the past two because it was so heavily about silhouette, and cut, and my initial interest in tailoring. I typically use a lot of synthetic processed fabrics, and leather, and this time I didn’t use anything like that.
The process in a general sense is pretty standard for me; I try my best to be extremely organized to the best of my abilities so that efficiency is on my side. It begins with a lot of researching, sometimes it begins with something tangible like a photograph or a film, other times it’s completely intangible and begins with a mood or emotion, this move into me essentially causing a chaos of researching, pulling photos, sourcing fabric swatches based on the inspiration, starting muslin detail mock-ups for the techniques I’m considering in the collection, and once all of this is somewhat set I sketch out some initial ideas. Then, I’ll begin patternmaking, or draping all the pattern pieces for the garments.
I tend to think very grandiose during all of this, and I usually have an initial idea of how I want the runway show to look, I’ll also cycle through a thousand different songs that I separate into a playlist to think of the soundtrack, I may also start thinking of styling ideas like shoes etc., as well. This all happens while the prototypes are being produced to test out the fit of the patterns before moving into the sample production in the fabrics.
The crazy thing about this was that I had been working on this collection, and had initially set a different presentation date for later on, but when Leigh was contacted, she basically asked me if I could have the collection ready to walk in two and a half weeks. I produced most of the thirteen looks in that period of time, which for a brand is easy because there’s a team; however it’s still just me at this stage doing everything. I’d also recently had surgery during all of this.
The days before the show were spent fitting the models in their looks and making sure everything was how it needed to be. While all of this happened, I was also given the opportunity to book Bello Sanchez, of America’s Next Top Model, and to have him walk in my show. This was amazing and completely spur of the moment. I love his look and am excited to be working with him in the near future.
The show itself is an adrenaline rush. You are making sure the collection is presentable on the racks while you’re talking with people and making sure you’re coordinating with assistants and dressers so that the models are there in their looks before call time. You’re making sure that makeup and hair is exactly the way it was supposed to be, etc. The show itself is over so fast, and for myself, I only see it on a playback video after it’s over.
In ten minutes the past few months of working on something is presented to the world.
EDGE congratulates Brendan M Combs on his journey so far and extends continued success for the future!
Part 2 and part 3 interviews with Brendan M Combs:
- Part 2 – The Business of Fashion | Do Fashion Institutions Really Prepare You?
- Part 3 – Gender Neutrality and The Future | EDGE interviews Brendan M Combs
All NYFW photo credit: Danny Chin. All other Images Courtesy of Brendan M Combs.