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Q&A with designer Parker Trumble

By: Amanda Ray Filed under: Fashion

February 1, 2015

Parker Trumble profile

Parker Trumble
2014, Bachelor of Fine Arts, Fashion Design, Miami International University of Art & Design

"With the help of [my instructors], I was able to see my vision come to life. This is why I got into fashion—to create wearable art."

Parker Trumble is a U.S Navy veteran who spent much of his service time in Italy. His time there influenced his decision to join the fashion industry. Parker's love for the arts lead him to work with the finest leathers and metals while he was in Italy, gaining fine craftsmanship skills at Dora Shoe Company.

A collection that Parker created while still a student gained the attention of the Perry Ellis Company—which not only provided him with a scholarship but also offered him an internship at the company. He was able to work in different departments, on presentations utilized by company executives. Before the end of his internship—and only two weeks before his graduation—Parker was offered a full-time job as a designer for the Perry Ellis Company.

The Art Institutes: What is your point of view when it comes to your collection?

Parker: The [thought] I had when I designed my collection was all about texture. When I design any collection, I like to use fabrics that have texture—or alter fabrics to create my own textured look. When looking at ancient Greek artwork and sculptures, the viewer has to walk all the way around in order to [completely understand the piece's story]. I like to be able to tell a story with my garments in the same way—you have to walk all the way around the garment to appreciate it. I went for a more futuristic look, mixing an organic then industrial geometric feel to the piece. In other words—mixing nature with the more urban look. Being able to use materials that are not necessarily made for fashion [excites and pushes] me as an artist and fashion designer.

The Art Institutes: Describe your design process for this collection.

Parker: I like to look at other artists and architects and what they are doing. [I believe that] being into many things and genuinely showing interest in the world around you aids in the design process. I was intrigued by an artist in Japan, Seung Mo Park, [who] created sculptures of people. I was so impressed by his technique I wanted to translate it to fashion. Tessellation origami was also something that intrigued me—[I had to figure out how] to translate the origami into fashion. I bought books, researched origami, and made many paper samples before I tried it on the real thing. My girlfriend calls me a fashion scientist because I am always testing and figuring out ways to achieve what is in my head. The fact that I do not run from a challenge is key to creating my pieces. If there [isn't] a challenge, where is the creativity?

The Art Institutes: Describe how your education prepared you for this opportunity. Talk about a particular time in school when you pushed yourself creatively.

Parker: To be quite honest, [all of my coursework] helped me. The one key to [a successful] student is the will or desire to succeed—or at least push themselves to an almost uncomfortable place. In every piece I made in school, I did not have a clue how I was going to accomplish what I set out to do. Each design was complicated and was something that was not even typical fashion. With the help of [my instructors], I was able to see my vision come to life. Many times [they] went above and beyond to help me with this.

The first moment I realized what type of designs I prefer to [create- was in an advanced construction and pattern-making [class]. I [told] my teacher that I did not want to do something safe. I wanted to challenge and push myself. This was my "ah ha" moment. I learned quickly that if you show you are a hard worker and you love what you do, the rest will follow. To go to school for fashion design was the best choice I have ever made and [my education] is what made it possible.

The Art Institutes: Which designers inspire you?

Parker: Designers who inspire me are designers who take risks and have the same philosophy that I do—to show dimension and detail at all angles. Roberto Cavalli is one of my favorites. After living in Italy and seeing his designs, I knew I wanted to be a designer. The amount of detail in every piece was like looking at a piece of artwork. Other designers who inspire me are Alexander McQueen and Jean Paul Gaultier. As you can see, I like designers who might be a little bit more theatrical. Armani, on the other hand, is very inspirational as well—especially Armani Prive. The fabrics he uses amaze me every time I see them.

The Art Institutes: What design blogs or publications do you read?

Parker: I do not use a lot of references. The one I do use for trend research is WGSN (Worth Global Style Network). Other than that, I like to see what people are wearing in the world around me and try to use my own judgment as to what to design. There are times that I like to look at the editorial magazines from Europe. The way they capture fashion makes it look more like art. This is why I got into fashion—to create wearable art.

The Art Institutes: How are you preparing for the runway event? What challenges are you experiencing?

Parker: I am working full time at Perry Ellis International as an assistant designer. To find the time to do all that is needed [to prepare for the runway show] has been a challenge but I don't ever seem to back down from a challenge. I have learned, and am still learning, that social media is a huge player in the world today. It is a great marketing tool. I do not use social media all that often so this is my biggest challenge.

Stream the show live at 8PM on Tuesday, February 17. Find out how—and get the date on your calendar!

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