The World of Glamor Created by Robin Ray Dempsey
Today's consumer market forces many fashion designers to focus on ready-to-wear items which has caused the bespoke designer market to slowly dwindle. This beautiful art takes time, skill, creativity and patience and can only be made by exceptional individuals. Robin Ray Dempsey is a self taught designer that has a specialty for intricate gowns and glamour. See how Robin broke into this world of fashion, his designing process, and fun facts about his career thus far.
Full Name: Robin Ray Dempsey
Brand’s Name: TZN Tuazon
Current City: New York
Short brand description: Women’s Couture clothing inspired by Japanese watercolor and worldwide architecture.
What is your favorite part about being a fashion designer?
For me, it's being able to create art and express my point of view as an artist. I love finding two things like watercolor which is soft and flowing and architecture which is hard and structured, and melding the two of them together to create a cohesive piece. I love the thrill of turning a sketch on paper and making it a reality on a mannequin. The design process is my favorite part, testing ideas out and seeing what works and what doesn’t.
How do you select your materials?
My process for selecting material is based on what I want out of the piece I am designing, if I am looking for something more structured and moldable, then I try to find fabric that will hold shape better and I can sculpt into something. If I am looking for something that flows more then I look for much less dense materials which I know will look beautiful when they walk. My personal favorite for flowing gowns is using silk chiffon as it billows beautifully. Overall though the fabric has to speak to me and stay true to my aesthetic.
Do current events such as politics, global warming, terrorist attacks, etc., have an impact on your designing inspirations?
I try to stay away from connecting my designs with current events and things like that as the world is always changing. I am however very interested in doing a “Green” design line by using completely green materials.
Advice you’d give your younger self…
I would tell myself to think less and do more. I am the type of person that over thinks things and always worries about what people’s opinions will be, but the beautiful thing about the fashion world is that people will love your designs and people will hate them. Also being self taught I would have told myself to go to school.
What was your first job out of college and how did you land it?
Being self taught I majored in something other than fashion so there was not a catalyst in my career for design, but my first job utilizing my skills as a designer were at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy (AMDA) in New York. I was hired there initially as a supervisor for their musical productions and ended up being a designer for the shows before I left. I got the job as I actually trained in Musical Theater there so I had connections with the costume department.
Best moment of your career so far?
I recently created a gown for Lucy St Louis who is currently playing “Diana Ross” in Motown the Musical in London’s West End. She wore my gown to the premier of Aladdin in the West End and was featured in numerous UK Newspapers and online. Seeing the amazing feedback and all of the pictures of my dress walking a red carpet, purple for Aladdin, haha, has got to be the highlight of my career so far.
What’s the first step in your design process?
I am a draper. I swear by it. I always let the fabric speak to me and let it tell me what it wants to do. I think that there is such a beauty in just letting it fall and see what happens. That is how Lucy’s dress came to be so I think that is generally my first step.
Where do you see your brand in 5 years?
In 5 years I want to have a solid name for myself in the industry. I want to have a couple of collections under my belt and to have done some fashion weeks around the world. The ultimate goal of course is to have a small store front where I can showcase my designs and also help create custom couture for a client's every wish.
Your favorite thing to do in NYC and why?
I am a big foodie. So I would say eating, hahaha. I think New York is one of the best cities in the world and has a plethora of incredible and hidden restaurants to eat at. You can eat any food from anywhere in the world in NYC so its amazing to taste and experience all these different cultures in one place. The reason I love it so much is because I love food and food is the key to the heart so if my belly is happy, then so am I.