The Pursuitist had the opportunity to do an exclusive interview with fashion designer Norisol Ferrari. The New York raised Ferrari draws from her Venezuelan roots to bring a world culture experience to all of her cutting edge designs.
Q. Give us some background about yourself.
N.F.: I was born and raised a New Yorker and when I was 13, I began interning at different fashion houses around the city. I guess you could say I took on the title of “fashion slave,” which is now a coveted position known as “fashion assistant” but back then, I did whatever I could to educate myself. Growing up, I was always making clothes for my friends so we would be wearing what no one else had. In the early 90’s, I moved to Italy where I started designing for Gas jeans and in 1999, I co-founded 2BNN with a friend I grew up with. Unfortunately, September 11th happened and the line didn’t survive its economic aftermath. Norisol Ferrari has been 2 years in the making and I’ve poured my heart and soul into it, drawing inspiration from late 18th century New York. This era is alive in the collection because I’ve always been so fascinated by the architecture.
Q. What are the trends in the industry for this fall and into 2011?
N.F.: I’ve never followed trends when designing, although the classic trench is always in style and can be found in my collection. If you want to know the trends, walk from my apartment up to 14th street and you’ll see everything you need to know and more.
Q, What are you doing special in your designs this fall?
N.F.: I believe in function, always have. In fact, each coat I make has menswear pockets inside. I build my designs around suiting my customer’s needs and being a New Yorker, most of my coats are constructed to survive a nuclear winter.
Q. What makes your collection different than other designers?
N.F.: My customer doesn’t need to come back to my showroom every season, unless they want to of course. I make heirlooms, meant to be cherished for years to come. Also, every design is handmade right here in New York’s Garment District. It’s so sad to me that this part of town is dying out and that’s why I support the few remaining skilled craftspeople in the district. The kind of leather work that is present in my designs is becoming a dying trade in New York.
Q. Is there any particular element that you enjoy working with most?
N.F.: I have a wanderlust for natural, organic skins which is why I am very excited about what I’m working on now.
Q. Are there any regional influences that are going to be emerging in the coming years in the fashion industry?
N.F.: The weather would be the great one I can think of.
Q. What would you offer as advice for someone interested in getting into the fashion industry?
N.F.: Choose a different industry! Kidding. In all seriousness, you’ve got to work hard and thicken your skin because this industry is full of rejection, but once you start accomplishing what you’ve set out to do, all the heartache will be worth it. I wouldn’t change anything I’ve gone through because it has made me who I am today. Someone once told me that my scars would never go away, they would simply stop hurting and as a child, this helped me move forward and be a good human being.
Q. Who are your favorite designers – current and past?
N.F.: Current- Rick Owens, Ann Demeulemeester & Alaia. Inspirations- Thierry Mugler, Edith Head the house of worth and all the greats that celebrated a women’s figure.
Q. What’s it like to see your designs as they appear on a runway for the first time?
N.F.: I would love to say it was amazing but it all goes by so fast. I am just thankful to say that I love what I do.
Learn more about Norisol Ferrari at www.norisolferrari.com.