People: Richard Haines

Usually I have an idea of what I will say when introducing someone we interview. However with Richard Haines, I don’t think words will do justice. If you do not know who is he get familiar as we talk to Richard on an array of subjects.

Did your upbringing have anything to do with your career path?
I think one’s upbringing has everything to do with how every one’s career, and life play out. the biggest influence for me was my father being in the Navy. Traveling and moving that gave me the perspective that there was a big world out there to explore, and I knew from a really early age that i wanted to see it and engage in it.

How did you get started in your career?
I moved to NYC originally to illustrate, because I had never formally studied it, I wasn’t prepared for how to put a portfolio together and find jobs, so I gravitated toward fashion design, and spent most of my career designing for companies such as bill Blass, Calvin Klein and Perry Ellis.

How did you get involved with Sean Combs? How was your time there?
I knew the people who produced his fashion shows, and he was looking for someone to one to come in and work with the design team and get samples made for the show. So it was freelance-only for about 6 weeks-super intense but I had so much fun. Puff hires really talented, good people. It was one of my best experiences in the fashion business.

How is illustration different from design?
They’re very, very different. Illustration is about the gesture, the line, and capturing a moment and giving as much information with as little effort as possible. Design is really, truly in the details. Every stitch, every button has to be mapped out very clearly. I’m not much of a detail person, which is why illustration is such a natural expression for me. I love clothes and designing clothes, but drawing is where it’s at for me.

If you had to live with one designers life work who would it be and why?
Wow, that’s like asking a parent who their favorite child is! I mean, growing up I was really learned about fashion through Yves St Laurent-he modernized the idea of how a woman should look-made it more in sync with the era,, and took elements of the street like boots and pea coats and knit hats (which is how we all dress now!) and remade them in a new way. There are so many amazing designers-but overall and for what he did for the time, I would go with Yves.

Describe how fashion week is for you.
Well this fashion week was a dream. I covered the men’s’ collection in new York with Bruce Pask, who is the men’s’ editor of T magazine and blog-the style magazine of the New York Times. To have access to all the shows, and a good seat, and work with someone as professional as Bruce-it was awesome. Then getting my drawings in the times was a whole other amazing experience.

Has your dream day or dream experience within fashion come to be yet if so what was it?
I used to think that there would be one incident or event or ‘dream’ that would define all my goals, and all my work. ‘If only I could…’, or ‘when I…’-that kind of thing. But that’s changed over the years. I really love what I do, and I am so grateful that people respond as favorably as they do, so I would have to say that every day is kind of a dream come true-every day is some part of a dream realized, or a dream to work towards. Of course there are disappointments and let downs too, but overall the good stuff outweighs that. Covering the men’s collections for the New York Times was a singular major thing for me, because i remember looking at the fashion illustrations in the paper as a kid-the symbolism of that was huge!

If you could go back in time and give a young Richard one piece of advice pertaining to the industry what would you say?I’d give 2 pieces of advice-difficult to give just one because they are so related. 1) it’s ok to be who you are-you’re just as lovable and worthy of love, even though you’re ‘different’, and 2) do your work for yourself, not to please other people. Find your voice-your authentic, true voice and don’t be afraid of it, or apologize for it. Of course work hard and be respectful of other people.

What’s coming up next?
I just opened 2 shows of my work, one in bushwick at norte maar, and one in LA at ‘Fuller + Roberts co.’-they were pretty much back to back, and both amazing openings, so that’s been incredibly exciting. I’m working on a monthly feature for the new site grazia. It’s a series for the online catalogue for the San Francisco store ‘unionmade,’ as well as other projects. I have some deals in the work-they’re not finalized so I don’t want to get specific, but they would involve Europe, which would be incredibly exciting, and one of my goals is a book in 2012, so there’s a lot to keep me busy!

Follow Richard on Twitter and his site What I saw Today

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Corey Knight

Founder of A&H Group.