22-year-old fashion and graphic designer René Mejia made his first appearance in New York Fashion Week last year to showcase his Spring/Summer 2017 capsule collection of evening wear at The Art Institute fashion show.
The collection was inspired Edgar Degas’ painting The Rehearsal. The collection featured an edgy and androgynous look with a soft and feminine pallet of colors and silhouettes.
“The whole experience at New York Fashion Week was weird,” René laughs. “I don’t know how to explain it, it’s like you’re so nervous, but you’re excited, but you also feel like you’re about to reach something big, and it’s a bunch of mixed feelings. It’s a lot to take in, but once I saw that last girl walk out on the runway, I felt very accomplished,” René says.
René added, “I remember getting out of the show and walking to my hotel like, “What just happened!” and I remember getting to my hotel room and looking out the window to the Madison Square Garden thinking, “I just did New York Fashion Week!” and I cried!”
René’s collections gained both national and international recognition. He was featured in The New York Magazine, The Cut, Women’s Wear Daily (WWD), Harper’s Bazaar China, along with other publications, and he was named one of the five most promising Latino Designers by People en Espanol.
René said his love for fashion came at an early age while living in El Salvador.
“My love for fashion came from my childhood because I grew up around so many women, and they all had a different style and because my mother was a seamstress, and she used to sew, and I helped her at an early age and that’s how I got involved in everything,” René said.
“It was to the point where my mom, every time she goes out she will ask me if she’s matching everything correctly,” Mejia added, laughing.
According to René Mejia’s website, after graduating as a graphic design student at the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, René decided to invest another two years as a graphic designer for a sporty line of mass-produced t-shirts.
René said he is also working on a new collection for 2017.
Q & A Interview Session
Jar: What does fashion mean to you?
Mejia: Fashion. There are so many aspects of it, but over all I think fashion is the gateway in which I convey my creative thinking. It’s applied art, and me being an artist, I am looking to combine all my skills and bring something new.
“I like to look at art and get inspiration from it.”
Jar: Who influences your work? Who are some designers you look up to?
Mejia: The thing that influences my work the most is art. I like to look at art and get inspiration from it. I try not to look up to designers, but unfortunately it’s hard not to, and my favorite are the ones that still have the Haute Couture in their fashion houses because that’s what one day I’m hoping to achieve, and the only two fashion houses that are doing that is Christian Dior and Chanel. One that I look up to because of his beautiful and impeccable craftsmanship is Alexander McQueen.
Jar: Tell me about your experience as a design student.
Mejia: So far the experience is ok, and the reason being just ok is because I feel like the school is not challenging me enough for me to grow as much as I want to grow.
Jar: What do you love most about designing? What is the most challenging part?
Mejia: What I love most is the challenge, especially working with fabric and the human body. We have such complex movement, and I actually just bought an anatomy book to see how I can make everything more comfortable and have a better fitting.
Jar: What are you working on right now?
Mejia: Right now, I am working on patterns and details for my next collection. I’m trying to bring something more commercial because I want to start my own online custom to order store. I am also working on a dress for my mom for New Years Eve.
Jar: What type of women do you envision when you design your collections?
Mejia: The Mejia woman is always classy and elegant. Confident and modern. A woman who is feminine.
Jar: What advice would you give to someone who wants to work in the fashion industry?
Mejia: My advice would be to stay true to yourself and be happy with the type of work that you do because everything else is just secondary. For young designers like me, the advice is to do your research and learn from other designers. Learn as much as you can because in this industry you can never know enough.