Gino Velardi: Connoisseur of Couture
Coollivin.com was honored to sit down with Denver Fashion legend, Gino Velardi to discuss his style, fashion, and more. Here is our conversation with Fashion Icon Gino Velardi.
Coollivin: When did Gino Velardi fashion brand start?
Gino Velardi: I really had to think about this question. I started as a stylist, hair, and make-up artist… [I] then, applied that talent to clothing design and imaging. In the beginning it was all about themes, decade inspiration, and dramatic interpretation. I started [as a designer] showing in galleries around town and the collection was inspired by the theme of the exhibit showcasing at the time. I only had about 6-8 looks, of which I was just learning how to sew, I had to learn how to create a “show”! It was a great springboard into creativity, mixing drama, and reality into clothing design. There were women wanting to purchase a piece of clothing here or there and I began to think I should focus more on the fashion side, rather than costumes only. However, there were so many milestones of evolution so it’s hard to pin point an exact “time” when it all started. That said, I can confirm a solid 15 years in the industry.
Coollivin: What interested you about designing dresses?
Gino Velardi: My interest and inspiration has always been “The Woman!”, I would observe how women dress, how they walked, what body parts they considered attributes, how the clothing looks on them, how they styled and use accessories… from there, I create!
Coollivin: Do you re-invent yourself after each line, or do you try to keep something specific to your brand and style?
Gino Velardi: I like to think I do both! With creativity, comes with the expectation of the next best thing, so I always push myself into creating something new and exciting, but keeping with my own personal definition of style!
Coollivin: What do you consider your design demographic?
I like to think my clothing lines reach and inspire all women. I always say that I design for my sister, mother, and grandmother…Each generation inspires me and that has been my creative force. My designs are for the woman that owns her own personal success, confidence and sexuality.
Coollivin: How would you describe your style of design?
Gino Velardi: Sophisticated silhouettes, classic, but innovative cuts, I utilize sensual fabrics and always, unapologetically create sexy!
Coollivin: What was the first clothing item you made and sold?
Gino Velardi: If I remember that far back…it was a pink faux fur jacket and a pink sequin mini skirt. It was a fun look! I was compared in written articles to a young Gianni Versace… it was such an honor because at that time, he was my fashion icon God!
Coollivin: What advice would you give to someone who wants to get in the fashion game and doesn’t know how to start?
Gino Velardi: Just, simply…GO FOR IT!!! I’m a self taught designer and while teaching myself how to sew, it was a long, long road, but if you attend a school or take a fashion course…well, you have one up on me! But feed your passion and trust your instincts. Try to establish a defined look for yourself. It takes time, but with perseverance and good old-fashion hard work…you can achieve anything!
Coollivin: You are definitely one of Denver’s Brightest Stars in Fashion, What makes you stay in Denver versus go to LA or NY? This city loves you and we can tell you love it back.
Gino Velardi: I’m a Colorado native and I love it! I travel to both coasts, but it’s nice to be considered a STAR in Denver (or that’s how I heard it! LOL!), to be honest, but humble…I feel like I launched the fashion scene here in Denver. No one was doing, what I was doing at the time. I had a few designer friends and they always considered me a “Showman”!, I love fashion shows and presentations. I felt that’s what a “designer” is all about. Trying to hide my shyness, while inflating this character of a confident personality…it was what I had to do to advance and push myself forward.
Coollivin: What makes Gino Velardi different from other brands?
Gino Velardi: When a designer used his or her name…that creates a level of personal vulnerability and expectation. When designing under a label you can, somewhat, hide behind that persona. I use to hate my name because no one could pronounce it correctly, but now…many say, it’s the perfect designer name to create a global brand. I do Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter collections, I introduced a Resort wear line, and started a handbag line. Someday, I hope to design shoes and dare I say it…a fragrance! Why not…shoot for the stars and do it all!!!
Coollivin: What are some of the biggest obstacles you have faced as a clothing
Gino Velardi: Not too many obstacles…again, I was doing my own thing and establishing a name for myself from day one. Some obstacles would be personal, like crippling shyness, self-doubt, and acceptance from the observers. This is an industry that is constantly judging and making [one] vulnerable to criticisms. You have to take that negativity and improve yourself then move forward. If something isn’t working…I want to hear about it, but allow me to sell you on my vision.
Coollivin: What are your strengths as a designer?
Gino Velardi: As of this point in time…I’ve developed tremendous self-confidence, direction, and fearless creative expression. It all comes with time and awareness. I started in the industry in my early twenties and now, I’m 44, so I like to think I’ve advanced personally and creatively!
Coollivin: Where do you get your clothing design inspirations from?
Gino Velardi: My inspiration comes from music! I can listen to everything from Patsy Cline to Led Zeppelin…and create a collection. I also get my inspiration from my mother. She was always expressing herself through clothing, coloring her hair to go with the seasons, she jogged in heels and just simple fearlessness! She’s my energy. She passed away right before I started, but I know she’s with me in spirit and I hope she’s proud of me!
Coollivin: Do you pay attention to the trends or do you try to innovate new trends?
Gino Velardi: I don’t like to predict trends. I actually design for myself and the mood I’m in at the moment. I’m constantly researching what’s out there for a season, then build a collection on inspiration, not trends. Trends come and go, but elegant, well-made clothing is always in style!
Coollivin: Where can people find your designs?
Gino Velardi: As of now…Facebook is very helpful, but I have a dated website, www.ginovelardi.com, that I need to work on. But I’m at a level where I created a solid name for myself in fashion and they find me through word-of-mouth or from a fashion show. It’s all about marketing and selling a confident self!
Coollivin Cool Credits ::
Lissa Leticia De Gonzales
Makeup Artists |
Faces by Harleen
Lissa Letcia De Gonzales
Concept Coordination + Creative Direction|
Dorne Adams & Tennisia Littleton