Q&A with designer Sebastian Cubides

By: Amanda Ray Filed under: Fashion

February 2, 2015

Sebastian Cubides profile

Sebastian Cubides: 
Current Student pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts, Fashion Design, Miami International University of Art & Design

"[My education] helped me realize the endless possibilities for my designs, I feel like I can now experiment even more, and do so with more ease."

Sebastian Cubides is intrigued by conceptual expression—he combines luxurious textiles with unexpected materials to translate unique ideas into wearable art. His collection, "Architectural," was inspired by renderings of a research lab in the Ukraine, and a commercial center in China. Sebastian’s design explores how the exaggeration of shapes from the built environment could lead to new silhouettes and what he calls "wearable architecture."

Sebastian has volunteered his time at fashion industry events for Oscar de la Renta, Roberto Cavalli, Carolina Herrera, Perry Ellis, and Funkshion Fashion Week. He’s also designed a 20 piece collection for The Pasarela Punta del Este in Uruguay. Sebastian was born in Manchester, New Hampshire and grew up in Miami, Florida. He envisions a professional design career in which he can create unique garments for individualistic, creative consumers.

The Art Institutes: What vision does this collection express?

Sebastian: I am expressing my love of understated drama when it comes to clothing, as well as pushing against tradition and conformity. As a designer, I believe that it is important to be fearless when expressing ideas. I really wanted to experiment with shape and silhouette, and think of ways to push myself creatively.

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

Sebastian: My design process changes with every collection, but one thing that never seems to change is that I have to think of a story in order have a cohesive collection. I only had the design of one dress in mind at the beginning, and then the challenge was to think [of] other looks that could walk alongside the dress I had already designed. I noticed my dress was very minimal, dramatic, and exaggerated so I began to think of minimalist design. As I was researching minimalist designs, a lot of images of conceptual architecture came up. Then I realized I had found a theme. Many of these projects used material that [was] not traditionally used in constructing buildings. Some only used very few materials. I noticed concepts using materials that did not have a practical purpose but others were very innovative and earth-conscious.

When I was deciding on which materials I was going to use in this collection, I really wanted it to be as seasonless as possible. I think fashion has become increasingly global and I wouldn’t want people living in tropical climates to feel excluded in any way. The outerwear in the collection is very wide so it can be layered with warmer clothing underneath if needed. I also fell in love with a plastic screen mesh I found at a hardware store—and thought of different ways to use it. At the end, I decided to use denim, utility mesh, and silk gazar. Each of these material have the properties needed to help my designs to work [as I’d] envisioned them, without compromising the seasonless aspect of the collection. These materials also help to hold up the shape I need to make my designs come to life.

The Art Institutes: Describe how your education prepared you for this opportunity.

Sebastian: Without [my] education, I would not have had the ability to create patterns that work on actual garments. I prefer draping a pattern over a dress form. This way I can play with the fabric until I get the exact shape or silhouette I want for my garments. The class that really helped me round out all of my previous education was my couture techniques class. This was where I realized [I] could control how much work [I put into] garment construction. Sewing, although I can do it well, it not something I really enjoy doing. [The] class provided me with the tools and techniques [I needed] to simplify the garment construction process. [It made it] more enjoyable for me and helped me realize the endless possibilities for my designs, I feel like I can now experiment even more, and do so with more ease.

The Art Institutes: Which designers inspire you?

Sebastian: Albert Elbaz, Yohji Yamamoto, Issey Miyake, Vera Wang, Alexander McQueen, and Thom Browne all inspire me in similar ways. They all seem to have fun designing and all have very strong, unique, and specific types of artistic sensibilities and successfully developed concepts. I am a frequent follower of all of their work.

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

Sebastian: Honestly there aren’t really any blogs or publications I really follow aside from WWD and Vogue. I find artists or other interesting people on Instagram and study them. I collect images on my Pinterest account, creating my own sources of inspiration. As I am growing as an artist and a designer, I find that I am becoming more specific when it comes to the type of images I collect. Most tend inspire me in different ways. I collect [some] because I like the way [they] make my feel, or because [they] help me think of a concept for a collection or an illustration.

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

Sebastian: For this runway show I am working on quality of construction and balance amongst all of garments—making sure the proportion stays true to my illustrations. I am also learning to pace myself in order to work in a way that is quick and smooth in order to not exhaust my energy levels too quickly.

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

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