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Q&A with designer Daniela Ramirez

By: Amanda Ray Filed under: Fashion

February 1, 2015

Daniela Ramirez profile

Daniela Ramirez
2014, Bachelor of Fine Arts, Fashion Design, The Art Institute of California—San Francisco, a campus of Argosy University

"[My instructors] pushed me because they knew I possessed the passion to absorb as much knowledge as I was given."

Daniela Ramirez’s design inspiration is bold—yet minimal. She’s influenced by her architect father, her mother’s strong connection to the family’s Mexican roots, and the cultural diversity of the San Francisco Bay Area. Daniela began dancing Ballet Folklorico professionally at the age of five and was also exposed to Latino art. These influences allow her to be widely varied in her fashion design—creating an elaborately detailed gown one day and a graphic-modern ready to wear garment the next. The common thread in her designs is attention to detail and dedication to elite artisanship.

The Art Institutes: How did your collection evolve from concept to reality?

Daniela: I was initially inspired by static shapes and the way in which they consumed and transformed the human body. This idea then evolved into the way static shapes transform once on the human form.

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

Daniela: My design process began with the thought of both static and shifting shapes. This idea led me to research several categories including geometric lines, minimalist architecture, and abstract sculpture. After this, my inspiration and mood boards developed effortlessly and I began imagining certain garments based on the shapes found in those images. Selecting fabrics is almost always easier than sourcing them. Leather and vinyl are my staples; any other fabric I choose after that has to either counterbalance with one of those two or add to a particular garment's overall mood.

The Art Institutes: How has your education prepared you for your debut at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week? What challenges did you face as a student?

Daniela: [I’d previously studied at a different school that] only required two patternmaking and construction classes in order to graduate. [When I transferred to The Art Institute of California—San Francisco], I was placed in two intermediate patternmaking and construction classes my first quarter. I had to become acclimated to a new teacher and teaching style while my peers had a year of patternmaking and construction classes under their belts. I struggled immensely, falling further and further behind with each passing class—until one day something suddenly clicked inside me and I understood the concepts of patternmaking and construction. Subsequently I went from the bottom to the top of my class.

I have always been a stickler for perfection and quality, and my mentors and teachers hold both of those qualities in high regards. Each of my major related classes demanded my absolute best effort and I always strove to go above and beyond what was expected and required of me. Without a doubt, this caught the attention of many of my [instructors], some of whom presented me with internship opportunities. Others pushed me because they knew I possessed the passion to absorb as much knowledge as I was given.

I believe all of these experiences helped me become the designer I am today—which aided me in creating the collection that was deemed worthy of presenting at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week.

The Art Institutes: Which designers inspire you?

Daniela: I particularly enjoy Japanese designers such as Yohji Yamamoto, Issey Miyake, and Rei Kawakubo. Other designers I find inspiring include Martin Margiela, Raf Simons, Rick Owens, Haider Ackermann, Zana Bayne, Mary Katrantzou, and Phoebe Philo.

The Art Institutes: What design blogs or publications do you use as inspiration and reference?

Daniela: I reference Style.com, Vogue, Elle, CR Fashion Book, W Magazine, and Harper’s Bazaar.

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

Daniela: I have a fantastic mentor, [fashion instructor] Michael Rosen, who has taken [me] under his wing. At our weekly meetings, we [discuss] the business aspect of the industry as well as proper marketing and brand development strategies.

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

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