Fashion in the Queen City is growing by leaps and bounds. Even the vitaminwater brand is getting in on the action. Recently, one of the biggest outdoor fashion shows took place with Lotus Boutique and vitaminwater inspired designs. The beverage company gave the winner of the competition a $1,000 prize for their creative design efforts, and Creative Loafing was there to see it all. I was able to catch up with the winner of the competition, Cigi Guzman. Here's what she had to say.
Creative Loafing: Congratulation on your win! With so much of what we've seen that night, can you tell me what fashion means to you?
Cigi Guzman: Simply put, art.
How would you describe Charlotte's fashion scene/industry?
(Laughs.) That's an understatement, but I'm glad to see it happening. How long have you been designing and when did you know you wanted to be a designer?
8+ years. I didn't really realize until my early twenties that I wanted to design professionally. Before that, I just wanted to be good at being an adult. So far, so good.
I know the feeling. So I've heard you are a self taught designer. Is that correct?
How long did it take you to create the competition piece?
Three and a half weeks or so. This include : developing creative concept / story boarding / resourcing materials / fitting and construction / final execution.
Is that usually the length of time it takes you to create a garment?
Nah. The blue dress I wore the evening [of the competition] took less than an hour to create.
Wow. That's pretty fast. So, what's your main design focus? (i.e. womenswear, personal clientele, main market, etc)
Currently, it's sustainable fashion. I'm currently teaming up with Value Village Thrift to develop a new local brand. Stay tuned.
I'll definitely keep that on my fashion radar! What do you feel, from an experience or creative perspective, has prepared you for the world of fashion design?
As the daughter of two brilliant New Yoricans — Puerto Ricans from New York — and a former bartender, I certainly have a hustle to my style of work and a confidence needed in such a demanding industry. Not to mention, a huge love for God, who holds my world together.
How would you describe your design aesthetic?
Classic meets quirky.
For this challenge, your design inspiration was to be drawn from the vitaminwater flavor you chose. How simple/difficult was that?
My two favorite phrases that I use when designing: K.I.S.S.: Keep. it. simple. sweetheart. And: "When it doubt, leave it out." Follow those rules and you can't go wrong.
What other things, people, places or colors do you usually draw aspiration from?
The smallest things amuse me. So, just about anything really.
Who are your style/design icons?
Funny enough, she used to be one of mine as well. (Laughs) What is the most important thing you want readers to know about who you are as a designer?
If I can live out my dreams, so can you.
Great point! Last question: In the world of creative people, things are constantly changing. So, what's your current goal as a designer? (Where do you see yourself a year from now?)
Don't really care where God leads me, as long as I arrive smiling.
To read more about Cigi, check out this cover story we did on her last year.