EMERGING TALENT: FASHION DESIGNER TRISTAN BLAKE

Posted January 22, 2014

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When someone knows their destiny it’s no stopping them. They will make sacrifices and face many challenges along the way, but that person never gives up. Fashion designer Tristan Blake is one of those people. Leaving his hometown of Washington, D.C., armed with talent for design and a suitcase full of dresses he made it happen in the city of Atlanta, GA.

1. With you being an emerging clothing designer what drew you to the city of Atlanta, instead of the usual L.A. or NYC?

” Atlanta was kind of a spur of the moment idea. I actually transferred with my job at MAC cosmetics. It wasn’t so much for the fashion industry, I just wanted a change of pace and a new challenge. I never did my research on the city, but I just thought why not. N.Y. has always been a place I loved especially for fashion. When I’m in N.Y., I feel like I’m at home and I never want to leave. It’s something about the roughness and fast pace life that gives me an adrenalin rush¬† I don’t get when I go to other cities. Believe it or not, I haven’t been to LA yet, when I go later this year for work, I’ll see what it has to offer.

2. ATL is filled with a lot of big fish in a very small pond. How to did you begin to start building you clientele?

“As a new resident of Atlanta, I did notice it was a very clique-ish city. My first impression was I didn’t like it, but I stuck it out and made it work. I will say it’s a great place for opportunities. My clientele came natural and by word of mouth my name began to peek interest. I think what made me stick out from everyone was my passion in anything I do. I feel that when you work with someone for the first time they sense when a person truly enjoys what the do and I just let my work speak for itself. Working at MAC, I met a lot of people so that did help catapult my clientele.”

3. Do you prefer working on full collection or made to order? Why?

“I love doing both. My personal clientele is what keeps me going as far a my brand and them being loyal to my brand. I would have to say I’m beyond blessed that majority of my clients are still working with from when I 1st started in 1999. What I love about doing my own collection is that it gives me the platform to showcase my artistic views and message on fashion. The runway is like my personal journal, I get to let all my thoughts out and tell my story through my collection.”

4. You’ve made outfits for Joseline Hernandez (Love & Hip-Hop Atlanta) on numerous occasions. How is she to work with?

“Working with Joseline Hernandez aka the Puerto rican princess is so much fun. She has so much energy and she keeps it 100. She knows what she likes, what she wants and knows how to get it and is definitely a go getter and hard worker. We are very similar in that area, we kind of just feed off each others energy. I met her working on set for Love&Hip Hop Atlanta as a makeup artist, that is how we initially started working together. I mentioned to her I can make clothes and the rest was history.”

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5. What celebrity would you love to dress?

“Well, I have a few but Rihanna, Naomi Campbell and Zoe Saldana. I think these women have and do continue to make a major impact within the fashion industry.¬†They just fucking own it and make no apologies for their freedom of expression through fashion.”

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6. Who’s red carpet style to do admire?

“Again, I would have to say Rihanna. I think what attracts to me her is you never know what to expect. Just like I was saying about my collection and telling a story, I think she gives you a different story every time, also I feel her looks are a true definition of her individuality. You know how some celebrities you can just tell they truly don’t have much personal style and they need a stylist to pull their look together. Rihanna has style and she is fashion!”

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7. Name your top 3 designers and why?

“I have four! Alexander McQueen, Dsquared, Jeremy Scott and Jean Paul Gaultier. These designers have very direct and crystal clear point of view on fashion. I look at there clothing as wearable art!”

8. You’ve audition for Project Runway before. How was that experience and would you do it again?

“I’ve actually auditioned for Project Runway quite a few times. My first experience was a disaster. I literally found out about it at the last minute. I threw my stuff in a bag printed out some pictures and hit it to N.Y.C.. I didn’t even make it in the door, I was so unprepared but yet so ambitious to just give it a shot. However, while I was in line for auditions they had a random competition (for who wanted to compete) to make a dress out of news paper and tape. N.Y. Times covered the competition and I won 3rd place, they wrote about in the newspaper. The second time I went to audition, I came prepared and ready to rock and roll. I made it to the judges and they loved my work, but Tim Gunn thought I needed to have a more cohesive collection. I didn’t make it on the show and they told me to come back. I did get a little discouraged cause I felt like I made sure I was prepared, however it made me stronger and better as a designer. Honestly, if I had made it then I’m not sure if I would have been mentally prepared or strong enough to handle the pressure. I think timing is everything and I will audition again. I know now that I’m ready”

9. What do you ultimately see your brand going?

“The Tristan Blake Collection/ Blakeofalltrades brand has endless possibilities. Fashion will always be the forefront of my brand. Tristan Blake will be a household name in the fashion industry, eventually I will venture off into other collections. I plan to have a lower priced collection called Blake which will be of a more resort ready to wear line, and also a men’s wear line (still working on the name). I have so much in store for the world to see, but I’m taking my time… not to much time, cause time waits for no one! As far my Blakeofalltrades brand, that will consist of my makeup and more awesome ideas that I’m working on. I’ll keep that as a surprise. I was once told by someone I met in the industry that I can’t do both makeup and clothing, I have to choose one. Well I plan to prove not anyone but to everyone that it can be done. Dedication, hard work and not taking no for an answer is all it takes”

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10. Do you have a support system?

“For the most part I am and have been my own support system from day one. I’ve never received sponsorship for any collection I’ve done or shown. I have put them on myself. I knew what I wanted to do and I did it. Once I put my mind to something that I want to achieve, I will definitely make it happen. I will say my clients , loyal friends and just people I may have inspired or that just believe in me have been a major support to me. As I said in one of the prior q&a’s, I can’t thank the people enough that have supported me since day one till now. It is truly a blessing to still have a people that support you no matter what. It’s extremely humbling and just makes me want to work even harder.”

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