Showing his second collection on Essex/Delancey subway station in downtown NY, Alabama-raised designer Patric DiCaprio represents the new generation of underground kids of the city. After interning DIS Magazine and VFiles, Patric started creating homemade pieces in his studio/apartment in Crown Heights. Named VAQUERA, the Spanish word for a cowgirl, the label embraces the young spirit and careless attitude of the generation Z. In his studio, Patric shows us a laced sleeve from his upcoming collection, saying he’s more interested in things with multiple purposes and prefers repulsive clothes.
What inspired you to start your label?
I started as a stylist, so I had these fantasies for photo shoots, particular garments in my head which I couldn't find. So I bought a sewing machine and started making pieces I wanted to use. I always loved CDG, Jean Paul Gaultier or Junya Watanabe but never could afford it. I made my budget versions of the designers I liked. I've spent hours on Youtube watching sewing tutorials and all these ‘how to’ videos, it’s quite easy. If you want to do something well and new, you have to teach yourself to do it. When I was studying photography in Georgia I had a feeling, like going to school was messing me up and ruining my creativity.
I know you went to a Christian school. How did it impact your aesthetics?
It did a bit. What impacted me the most was wearing the same uniform for fourteen years. It was crazy, the same style from kindergarden till the time I graduated it. All these school restrictions made me notice the little things girls at school were wearing: bracelets, rings, keychains. I was so obsessed with holidays like Valentine's Day or Halloween, when you can wear whatever you want. I was really into goth subculture when I was younger. I listened to Kurt Cobain, painted my nails black. So on these ‘no uniform’ days I was trying to freak people out, like wearing a T-shirt with Cobain's suicide letter on the back.
How did you start your internship at DIS Magazine?
I felt bored at school and was more focusing in doing my own weird conceptual things. I was always into working with new media, being inspired by photography, making gifs which were kind of cool back in the days, especially in Georgia. I was uploading everything on my Tumblr, which I had for years, and later on I found DIS through it. That makes me so thankful for the internet and social media. If I didn't have it I would still be in Alabama and never could reach someone out.
How long did you intern at DIS?
I came up for summer, then I went back to finish my school and later on returned again. At that time I was also interning VFiles. At some point I realized I couldn't do free work anymore, so my internship was over. Then I met and started working with Avena Gallagher, my fashion Mama. She taught me a lot and introduced to a lot of people, like designers of Eckhaus Latta and others. I've worked with her for 3 years already. At some point I thought maybe styling wasn't the end of the road for me and I would rather make my own clothes that people can use... Here I am now, a year later.
So basically, that was your ‘fashion school’.
I've learned a lot from them: how to be professional, how the industry works, history. They influenced my aesthetic inspiration as well. I was so inspired by the way they worked with others. They were the first who told me I don't have to be solitary. I've always been doing everything by myself: styling, casting, and worked really close with photographers. I'm always in charge of everything and afraid to take interns. I remember when I first came to DIS, the first thing they taught me was to find people I can work with.
Your latest February show on Essex/Delancey subway station got much response from press. How did the idea come out?
I couldn’t afford any space to rent but wanted to show my work. I was super interested in people that normally wouldn’t come to a show, wouldn’t have an access to it. In general I’m super inspired by ‘real people’, Tumblr fashion. I like being in subway and just people watching or going to stores in SoHo, seeing tourists wearing weird stuff. I’m also inspired by people in Crown Heights, their style is crazy and absolutely amazing. I think I wanted to get back a little and make a regular community a part of the show.
What are your plans for the next year?
I’m struggling a bit. It’s difficult for me to make clothes that would sell well in stores. I met Opening Ceremony and couple of other stores in NY. They told me they loved the show, but the clothes looked crazy for them. For someone who’s never seen my look book it’s hard to figure out the meaning of the piece, in some cases you couldn’t even tell what it is. So I’m trying to make a compromise without loosing my identity. I don’t feel a need to make simple versions of the same clothes. I’m looking into making pieces you can tell what they are on the hanger, but still very unique. I like them to be a bit weird and bizarre. I hope in a year to be doing the same thing, actually.
What stores are you selling at now?
Just Radd Lounge in Tokyo.Thank God for them! I’ve always been inspired by Japanese designers and was a big fan of anime, so it makes sense to me they were the first people who got it.
What is your definition of modern luxury?
I know it might sound crazy but the luxury of being repulsive is something that looks quite appealing to me. I’ve always been interested in uniqueness and something that doesn’t belong to any particular subculture. For me, bringing the future means doing something that is going to repulse everyone right now.