Bk fashion weekend brings out some of the most talented designers from right here in New York State I caught up with designer Lawrence Pizzi after the show and here's what he had to say.
Tammy B. Tell me a little about yourself. Where are you from? What's your educational background? What are your general professional and non-professional interests?
Lawrence Pizzi : I was born in Toronto, Canada but I have always been a New Yorker at heart. I finished the Art Institute of Philadelphia in Merchandising - Specialty Fashion. After which I went to Milan, Italy and became a certified Tailor at L'Istituto Artistico dell'Abigliamento Marangoni. I love fashion and feel lucky to be doing what I love... I also love to forecast trends, sew, make patterns, and travel. I also love to read (when ever I have the time), cook and eat, and I love to play Sudoku on my ipod touch and mac mini.
Tammy B. What does bk fashion weekend mean to you?
Lawrence Pizzi: This was a new venue with a different crowd for me to present my garments to. Bk Fashion Week(end) was a nice break for me... I showed to a different city without actually leaving NYC.
Tammy B: How would you define your city's fashion?
Lawrence Pizzi : NYC is the crossroads of the world. I feel my garments reflect many different influences, but always with my Italian tailoring and sexiness.
Tammy B: When did you realize you wanted to become a fashion designer?
Lawrence Pizzi : I realized I wanted to become a fashion designer when I was a teenager. Having moved to Cherry Hill, in south jersey in the early 80's I realized I wanted faster fashion (like the one I was seeing on MTV). I started playing with my garments and making my own.
Tammy B: What was the first article of clothing you ever designed?
Lawrence Pizzi : The first real garment I designed was a project for a teacher at the Art Institute of Philadelphia. I don't remember the class name, but the teacher was a wonderful Russian lady named Bella Vekzlor. I made myself a suit made from a heavy linen, line the one worn by Duran Duran in the video "View To A Kill". She was impressed because I made the whole thing by hand.
Tammy B: Describe the general process you go through to design and realize a piece of clothing.
Lawrence Pizzi; OK, you asked for it. I start at PV (french fabric show). I buy the colour palette for the new season. I also walk around and visit a few mills and order sample yardage in the colors I like. After which, I start designing my line. First with the fabrics I just ordered. Then I fill in with fabrics I need to find. After the initial line is complete, I visit other fabric shows, and then call mills and get my fabrics all settled. As I wait for the fabrics to arrive I start my patterns. If I need to, I will cut a muslin in a sub fabric to work out any kinks. As the fabrics arrive I cut my samples... (go and buy any zips, or other sewing notions I will need) and start sewing once all is cut. While sewing, some times the fabric talks to me and I end up changing the design.
After all is sewn and finished, I collect my swatches and run for buttons. I have a great place where they can get me Italian buttons made to order with in a week. After my buttons are sewn on, I have my buttonholes made and cut. Finally I do my last costing, with everything included that is in the garment. (I always do a quick costing at the beginning before I even order my fabrics so that I don't waist time and money designing garments that cost too much).
Tammy B: What are some of your accomplishments as a designer?
Lawrence Pizzi: As a designer, I have working in this industry for over 27 years... I have dressed Royalty, First Ladies and Head of States, had garments in several movies, on singers for stage and videos, and even gifted garments in the Oscars' Grab Bag. I helped other young designers win CFDA awards, helped re-launch several retro labels, and even ghost design for large labels.
Tammy B. : Who are some of your favorite designers?
Lawrence Pizzi : I love the garment construction of Armani Collezioni, old Gian Franco Ferre, McQueen, Lanvin, Balenciaga, Dior, YSL.
Tammy B: Where can readers buy your clothes?
Lawrence Pizzi: At the moment I am looking for boutiques to sell my collections to. If you love my garments, walk in and ask your local boutique owner why they haven't purchased from me yet.
Tammy B: What do you believe makes a quality article of clothing?
Lawrence Pizzi: Quality, starts at the beginning. It all starts with your materials - fabric, zippers, buttons, linings, fusings, and even shoulder pads. Then it's complimented with skilled sewers who make the garment correctly and know how to press it so that the finished product is beyond expectations.
Tammy B: Do you consider yourself an artist?
Lawrence Pizzi: I like to think of myself as a business man - but I understand why others see me as an artist.
Tammy B: What matters to you most as a fashion designer?
Lawrence Pizzi: I want my garments to make a difference in peoples' lives. Weather the person wearing it feels better, or gets compliments on their looks. I also feel that when people see a well dressed person, they themselves share in the energy of that wonderful viewing. Beauty is a positive emotion we all need to add and share with as many people as possible.
Tammy B: What's your favorite part about conceptualizing a design?
Lawrence Pizzi : I love the part when I need to figure a problem out... how to make the fabric do what I want and not what it's doing????
Tammy B: What advice do you have for aspiring fashion designers?
Lawrence Pizzi : When you finish school, go to work for someone you love and want to compete with. Learn using their money. Yes you might not make a lot of money, but the mistakes you make are considered in your salary. Also, you will learn where to buy your fabrics, and even which buyers to sell too!!!
Tammy B: What do you like best about designing clothes?
Lawrence Pizzi : I love that designing clothing is never the same. Each season trends change and colors change. Yes, the client is always the same, but I need to figure out what they want 6 to 9 months before they know they want it.
Tammy B: What do you dislike about designing clothes?
Lawrence Pizzi : Most people in the fashion industry are not honest and only out for themselves...
Tammy B: How would you define your personal style?
Lawrence Pizzi : My personal style is... well lately confortable fat man. But I always have a "happy to be alive" style to myself and my garments.
Tammy B : How would you define the style your line exemplifies?
Lawrence Pizzi: My line is one for fun life loving people that love to dress up and be fashionable with out following all the main stream trends. Quality and good taste if present in even the most wild of my designs.
Tammy B: What are some of your fashion goals?
Lawrence Pizzi : I want to dress someone for the Oscar - Red Carpet.
Tammy B: Where do you get your inspiration?
Lawrence Pizzi : My inspiration hits me like a snowflake hits the street... Inspiration is everywhere. I try to edit it for my client and interpret it for their life style.... and make it right for them to understand, want, and wear.
Tammy B: What other experience do you have in the fashion industry (stylist, retail, marketing, etc.)?
Lawrence Pizzi: I sold lady's gloves at Saks Fifth Ave one holiday season (for the discount), and children's garments at Barneys NY... again for the discount.
Tammy B: What are your favorite patterns [prints] to work with and why?
Lawrence Pizzi: Right now, I love the mirror prints happening. I love how by changing the layout, I can change the entire feel of a garment.
Tammy B. Where can readers find out more about you and your work?
Lawrence Pizzi : Readers can google me and find my Bio on other site... my web site has been stripped to look more like Gucci and Prada's web site. But you can see some pics at www.LawrencePizzi.com You can see pics of my garments on Face Book, Pinterest, Twitter, see.me and more sites.