In the sixth of a series of profiles of designers taking part in the Local Designer Showcase, Bernews today spotlights Regina Simmons. The Local Designer Showcase is set to be held on July 10, 2014.

When asked about her reasons for participating in the Local Designer Showcase, Ms. Simmons said, “The biggest thing that attracted me to this show was the opportunity to be mentored by someone already in the fashion industry. When I first learned of the local designers show in 2013, I was disappointed because by the time I heard about it, the deadline had already passed.

“However, I firmly believe that things happened that way for a reason. It was actually a blessing in disguise because I probably would not have entered and won the Miss Bermuda Design Competition, an experience which has truly helped to boost my confidence and visibility as a designer. There were so many lessons learned and experiences that I truly feel I needed to go through before taking on this challenge. Looking back, I can say that I wasn’t ready for this in 2013.

“Having come through the Miss Bermuda experience, I welcomed the challenge of the 2014 Evolution Local Designer’s experience. I made it a point to watch the newspapers so that I wouldn’t miss the announcement this year. I never did see the announcement in the paper, but I had several people forward the details to me by email and via Facebook encouraging me to participate. Of course, I did not hesitate to apply.”

When asked what she hoped to get out of the experience, Ms. Simmons said, “I have already gained a wealth of hands-on experience from this opportunity. It’s one thing to understand the concept of creating a cohesive collection from start to finish, creating an ad campaign, and organizing hair and make-up all at the same time, and another thing to actually do it.

“You find out what you are really made of and whether you truly have what it takes to meet deadlines and also the expectations of those who are investing in you financially and otherwise. There are a lot of designers in Bermuda, most of whom have studied fashion and been working in the background for many years now; I learned early on that to be accepted by them, you must really prove your talent and that you have what it takes.

“People don’t always welcome you into their space with open arms when you have not followed the path that they themselves have taken, or when your client list is not quite as long as theirs. I feel that this experience will further solidify my talent as a Bermuda designer.”

“The designers involved all have varying degrees of skill and experience, but there is room for us all. No one should feel that anything is being taken away from them; if anything, events like these help to carve a path and give credence to what we do. I realize that I have a long road ahead of me, but it is these experiences which help me to grow and sharpen my talent.”

When asked what progress had been made so far on the completion of her line, Ms. Simmons said, “I’m supposed to be 100% complete and I am not there yet. However, I will be there soon. I still have some finishing touches to make to the garments and I am a bit of a perfectionist so this is taking a bit longer than I had hoped.

“I’ve been working crazy hours at the bank and come home to work on my designs with often no more than three hours of sleep within a 24 hour period. It’s very easy to make mistakes under those conditions, so there are times when I will unstitch my work and redo it again. My goal is for the quality of my work to speak for itself. But as they say, practice makes perfect.”

When asked what her favorite piece in her new line was, Ms. Simmons said, “My favorite piece from this collection is called the “Adriana”. I named some of my pieces after the models. This is the dress which debuted in my ad campaign which we shot on Warwick Long Bay with the model and a horse. The dress is fun and flirty but very sophisticated and classy at the same time. I love how the silver mesh over the citrus woven cotton created a luminescence that seemed to glow at sunset. \

“I feel like this dress pretty much sums up my collection; the model, in my opinion, truly looks like she has been “Kissed by Class”. I shortened the name of the collection to “Pucker” simply because I didn’t think a sentence or phrase was an appropriate name for a collection. However, “Pucker” doesn’t quite capture the essence of the brand by itself.”

When asked what her experience with her mentor was like, Ms. Simmons, “My mentor is Julia Gall, and she is absolutely phenomenal. I truly question whether I would have been able to manage this all without her guidance and encouragement. She has been very involved and supportive, offering feedback, but leaving the final decision up to me. She has given the best advice and her eye for fashion I feel helped to guide me in taking things to another level. She helped me to consider detail and nuances that truly added cohesion.”

When asked how she knew that design was her passion, Ms. Simmons said, “I started designing clothing for my baby dolls at age five and then would jazz up my clothing in high school by adding sequins, hand painted designs, and appliqués. I had even contemplated studying fashion illustration and design in college, but chose Political Science and Psychology instead, for the same reason that most people choose business or law over art or acting, and I honestly have no regrets.”

“Fashion was a theme that always seemed to be present in my life, I just chose to focus on other things, until one day I told myself that it was okay to do what I enjoy. I am very thankful for my education and professional career. These things have helped me to become who I am today. I have gained so much experience and wisdom on what it takes to be a successful business owner that I wouldn’t trade my professional experience for the world.

“I have always had a desire to make my own clothing, but never really had the time to do so – or at least I didn’t realize I did. I’ve learned that you must make time for your passion. One day I started making sketches of shoes and there were so many times when I would sketch a shoe from off the top of my head and then months later see an almost identical design in a magazine or in the store; I would run back to my sketch book and check the date and the date would be before the trend ever surfaced.

“This happened so much that I began to wonder if there was more to it. It seemed as if I had my finger on the pulse of fashion. This began to fuel a passion which I allowed to lay dormant for quite some time and the more I nurtured it, the more it grew.”

When asked what the future holds for her as a designer, Ms. Simmons said, “It is my desire and goal to be able to create a collection which can be sourced in bulk and sold to local and international companies for retail sales. It simply is too time consuming and costly to try and piece-meal garments for individual clients. People simply cannot appreciate the amount of time that it takes to produce one garment, and if you were to truly charge for your time, people would never want to pay you for it.

“So for now, I’m making the sacrifice of my time and money to help build the brand. But eventually, the goal is to have enough orders where purchases exceed the cost of production, making it a profitable and worthwhile experience.”

When asked how she would describe her sense of style, Ms. Simmons said, “My designs tend to lean toward clothing which can be worn on a night out with the girls, a dinner party, or even a date night with someone special. I like to call it, “A Hint of Sass with the Kiss of Class.”

The City of Hamilton will play host to the second edition of the Local Designer Showcase on Thursday, July 10, 2014 at Pier Six [upper level], with eight local designers to be showcased for their talent and unique work. Each designer has been peered with a mentor from within the fashion community to assist them with the development of a fashion line that will be showcased at the event.

 

From: Bernews.com