6Qs with Fashion Designer Rami Kashou //
His designs have hugged the silhouettes of some of the world’s most recognizable women, including Her Majesty Queen Rania of Jordan. From red carpets, to the hottest Hollywood events — Rami Kashou isn’t just a designer, he’s one of the most sought after brands. And with all the success, he is still as humble and gracious in person as he appeared to be on Bravo‘s hit reality-television show “Project Runway.” Despite being a finalist on that show, he was often criticized for his draping. But in an ironic turn of events, it was this very talent that attracted Queen Rania to request a custom gown from the young designer.
With an emphasis on fit and bringing out a woman’s natural beauty, it’s no wonder his designs are adored by trendsetters and celebrities alike. Besides Queen Rania, his designs have adorned Penelope Cruz, Heidi Klum, Jennifer Lopez, and most recently Kim Kardashian and Keri Hilson (see gallery).
Rami’s story is fascinating. After arriving in the U.S. in 1996, he worked in retail, which eventually led to a buying and merchandising position at a boutique in Los Angeles. After a stint of traveling to Europe as a buyer, he purchased two sewing machines and vigorously studied pattern making. “I would buy a piece, take it apart and inspect it, then I would learn,” he says. After three years of this self-education, he began creating the “One of a Kind” collection, which was picked up by various Los Angeles boutiques. The rest is history…
Hero: Coco Chanel and Alexander McQueen
Favorite Material: Silk
Song/Singer: Elissa “Tesaddaq Bi Meen”
1. What is the difference between style and fashion?
Fashion is a trend of the moment and it expires the minute the season is over. Whereas style does not have to be fashionable, it’s someone’s self-expression, it’s the way they dress, the way they present themselves — often the two merge.
2. If you could create an outfit for any model or actress, who would it be and why?
Angelina Jolie. I admire her purpose beyond being a huge Hollywood celebrity. She’s obviously beautiful, but what I appreciate is her sense of simplicity and I respect that she does not fall victim to every trend out there. She always shines in what she wears, and
it’s all about the person wearing the dress not the dress wearing the person.
3. What is the funniest or scariest thing that has happened to you during a fashion show?
In my Fall 2004 show, we were getting ready for the finale. In any venue things are likely to be dirty at times — rolling racks and things like that…anyway, the models were all lined up and as the show is about to start, I look at a model in one of the gowns and she has two huge rust stains on the front of the gown. I mean, it’s only a dress but at the time it was a really big deal — if you had dug me a hole and buried me, that would have been fine. I had to have my publicist do a therapy session on me and then we tried to save the dress — we tried to clean it with a wet wipe, blow-dried it — all within a matter of minutes. There was a tie in the front of the dress, so I ended up tying it strategically to fall where the stain was and we pinned it, so it stayed put. That same dress ended up on the front of the calendar for the Los Angeles Times a few days later.
4. What are the best attributes of a designer?
Creativity. A sixth sense — you’re always living in the future as a designer because you have to predict what’s to come. Understanding the psychology of the female (if you’re designing for women) — mind, body, spirit, everything because
fashion is not about making dresses, it’s about making people feel good.
Technicality: to be able to sew, make patterns, speak the language and communicate with the people who do that work, if you’re not. And finally, you have to be adventurous.
5. Where do you get your inspiration?
It could be anything, my last collection (see gallery) was inspired by Frank Gehry’s architecture in the Los Angeles Disney Concert Hall — there were sharp lines, curved lines and I just saw the draping. It could be an old movie or Grecian sculptures, once it was [Mehmet] Erté sketches, there’s really no limit, it’s just what speaks to me, what I respond to, and what I feel.
Some of Rami’s inspirations
6. How did you make the transition from being a designer to becoming a brand?
That’s all about constantly pushing and marketing, putting the work out there. You can be a designer, you can be very talented, very creative but if you don’t have the left-brain, business mind or don’t exercise that, it’s almost impossible to be a brand. It’s a very challenging thing to do — a brand needs a large sum of money, a clear point of view that makes it unique and distinct from other things in the market, and it needs to remain focused and find the balance between creativity and consistency. Because when you identify with a certain brand there needs to be that certain element that remains familiar — the thing that makes it memorable. And it’s important to stay true to yourself and not completely change every season.
For more on Rami’s work, visit www.ramikashou.com