Interview With New York Fashion Week Designer David De La Cruz

One of the foremost stylists talks Aailyah, fashion, and designers of color

david de la cruz
Photograph by Gail Hadani Maxine Tall agency; Beauty by Paul Innis Maxine Tall agency; Model Madisin Bradley Omit Management; David De La Cruz

Designer David De La Cruz and his models will hit the runway at New York Fashion Week (September 11) at Le Parker Meridien Hotel. The New York native is known for his refined and sophisticated eye for style. He is one of the foremost fashion stylists in the industry today, who began his journey styling for such music celebrities as the late Aaaliyah, Backstreet boys, and Mary J. Blige.

Love Of Fashion and Fabrication

De La Cruz has shaped numerous advertising campaigns including ones for Cole Haan featuring rapper Theophilus London. What’s more, he has become an brand expert for multicultural beauty and hair care lines L’Oreal’s Matrix-Soft Sheen Carson’s Dark and Lovely, Optimum Care, and Revlon- Crème of Nature.

His meticulous eye and love of fashion, fabrication, and tailoring were put to use in creating a capsule line worn by the likes of Andra Day, Kendall Jenner, Wendy Williams, Tariji P Henson and Gabrielle Union. In creating the line, he pulled from his years as a fashion stylist and art director to create what he describes as a flawlessly  constructed work of art.

“I have always been a purveyor of fantasy but as a creative for my line DELACRUZ New York, I aim for something that’s even harder to deliver: clothes that real women want to wear,” he wrote of his Facebook page.

Tastemaker, Style Master

As he heads into New York Fashion Week, De La Cruz sat down with fashion show producer Tai Chunn on behalf of BlackEnteprise.com to discuss style.

What was your first job in the fashion industry?

One of my first jobs was with iconic pop artist Aaliyah. I had the opportunity to work closely with her One In A Million project where we defined her signature tomboy style.

How did you achieve success in that career?

I am still on that path. Success is not an easy road; there is a constant evolution to keep up with how quickly trends change. So there is a reinvention of sorts to keep oneself fresh and still stay true to who you are as designer.

How did you transition from styling to designing?

My creative transition from styling into designing was seamless since it was always part of the equation. From the beginning of my career, designing clothes for music videos and red carpet events was necessary. I had clients with specific needs for a stage performance, red carpet event or video that the market didn’t necessarily offer and my job was to make it happen. Designing was in my DNA. My mom worked in the fashion industry. The sounds of Singer sewing machines have always been present. I use the same sewing machine my mother used from the 1970’s.

How do you get prepared to create your designs?

My design process starts with what story I want to tell.  I do a lot of research and mood board my findings combined with sketches to see if to see if they move me spiritually and emotionally.

Where do you find inspiration to create a collection?

My collections are a love letter to New York. Growing up in the city in an era that had so much grit, texture and color, my inspiration comes from the streetstyle of my neighborhood and nightlife of the 80’s.

Do you find it difficult to get support as a designer?

At the end of the day this is a business that requires a lot of moving parts. You cannot do it alone.  It requires a well-oiled machine and a team of people to pull off a collection every season. You have to hire real support. But I have supportive friends and family and clients that keep me moving forward.

What advice would you give to a young aspiring designer of color?

It’s not enough to have talent. In order to sustain a viable brand you have to understand that’s it’s a business that requires an operational plan. It’s not enough to have pretty clothes, you need a proof concept. Determine who your client is. Learn the business from the bottom up. Do not scale too quickly!



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