New Orleans born and bred fashion designer Alfred Tumblin describes his line as haunting, Nostalgic, Dark, Bohemian, and Jazzy as he brings a taste of New Orleans fashion to Brookyln for Bk fashion weekend f/w 2013. I caught up with the Designer at the show for a interview 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?
Alfred Tumblin: I was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana but traveled extensively around the country and abroad. I graduated from the “Project Runway” featured ‘Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising’ also known as FIDM in Los Angeles, California. Before that I went to L. E. Rabouin Vocational High school in New Orleans studying Commercial Art, Photography, Lithography, and Upholstery. My professional Interests include continuing to excel in the art of couture as well branding me and my mother’s label “Reinments of Power” which was the theme title of this collection. We also launched our textile branch with the light blue and pink dress seen on the runway this season. I enjoy singing in the church choir of two parishes and have been involved deeply in gospel since early childhood.
Tammy B: What does BK Fashion Weekend mean to you?
Alfred Tumblin It means that designers like me get a chance to honor their favorite designers and idols. I cannot tell you what it means to pay tribute to someone who paved the way for the unique expression of Avante Garde Couture. It also leaves room for people like us to resurrect couture. It has been considered a dying art for years because “ready to wear” has become the norm. Couture is alive and well because of prestigious venues such as BKFW.
*How would you define your city's fashion?
Alfred Tumblin “Haunting, Nostalgic, Dark, Bohemian, and Jazzy. New Orleans has always been an eccentric Mistress.
Tammy B: When did you realize you wanted to become a fashion designer?
Alfred Tumblin I guess I’d have to say as soon as I could form a thought. I was drawing original detailed sketches of wedding dresses from the age of 4 years old. This evolved into preta-porter showing a sense of style far too evolved for one my age.
*What was the first article of clothing you ever designed? Well, my first sketches resembled belted dresses from the medieval era. The first garment I ever constructed was a baby dress in sewing class made of muslin.
Tammy B: Describe the general process you go through to design and realize a piece of clothing.
Alfred Tumblin I am an artist by nature so I start with a sketch. When I’m with a client I grab a sketchpad and ask them their astrological sign, take note of their personality as they speak and turn the drawing to them as they exclaim “Voila.” I also deal strictly with themes in collections and use it in every faction including color scheme, cut, mood, and the design as a whole.
Tammy B: What are some of your accomplishments as a designer?
Alfred Tumblin I have had school projects put on display in showcases. I debut my first collection at the tip of the historic Eifel Tower, which was relocated to New Orleans at St. Charles Avenue when it was a glass restaurant called the “Red Room.” I own my own Trademark “Reinments of Power” and have worked with celebrities to raise funds to fight diseases with couture under its title.” I use my skills as a Computer Aided Design course driven graphic designer to create textiles for the company which my mother “Empress Beesigye and I own and run.
Tammy B: Who are some of your favorite designers?
Alfred Tumblin Jean Paul Gaultier, Prada, Alexander McQueen, John Galliano and Vivienne Westwood.
Tammy B: Where can readers buy your clothes?
Alfred Tumblin www.reinmentsofpower.com
Tammy B: What do you believe makes a quality article of clothing?
Alfred Tumblin Stabilizing industrial ingredients to give the garment foundation, unique aspects, and unprecedented style. A gown needs a skeleton just a body.
Tammy B: Do you consider yourself an artist?
Alfred Tumblin Yes, I do. I love to sculpt dungaree denim and other moldable fabrics to build garments that tell a story.
Tammy B: What matters to you most as a fashion designer?
Alfred Tumblin Prestige. I go for the gold aiming to be the best and most sought after because I bring my client’s dreams to life in fabric, beads, and any other medium required to achieve it
Tammy B: What's your favorite part about conceptualizing a design?
Alfred Tumblin Dreaming up challenging themes to share with my Mother/ Partner/ and our team and brainstorming on what methods, no matter how unconventional, it might take to bring it to life.
Tammy B: What advice do you have for aspiring fashion designers?
Alfred Tumblin Know your market. Design sensibly so you can capture the adoration of the critics and also sell your work. Pray, focus, and never stop moving.
Tammy B: What do you like best about designing clothes?
Alfred Tumblin Conceiving a character and bringing her to life with my best friend/ Tailor/ and Mother Empress Beesigye.
Tammy B: What do you dislike about designing clothes?
Alfred Tumblin I make patterns, drape garments, Grade sizes, you name it, but don’t ask me to sew.
Tammy B: How would you define your personal style?
Alfred Tumblin Classic, Whimsical, Dark, Elegant, and Elaborate.
Tammy B: How would you define the style your line exemplifies?
Alfred Tumblin Dangerous, the Femme fatale, Amphibious, The black dress symbolizes a shark. These women are not to be trifled with and that’s what these looks exude. Although some are more like a Venus fly-trap. They seduce their prey.
Tammy B: What are some of your fashion goals?
Alfred Tumblin I’d like to create a shoe-line, a fragrance, and to start a Fashion College.
Tammy B: Where do you get your inspiration?
Alfred Tumblin I draw inspiration from everything around me, every memory that I have, and the right songs.
Tammy B: What other experience do you have in the fashion industry (stylist, retail, marketing, etc.)?
Alfred Tumblin: I have experience in film wardrobe consulting, Stylist experience, Marketing experience, Computer Aided Design experience, Textile and logo design experience.
Tammy B: What are your favorite patterns [prints] to work with and why?
Alfred Tumblin I love embossed prints like tapestry because I find them inspiring when it comes to invoking the epitome of elegance in a design scheme.
If I weren’t a designer I would be an Opera Singer.
Tammy B: Where can readers find out more about you and your work?
Alfred Tumblin www.reinmentsofpower.com