To dress CRAVE Magazine’s September ITgirl, we partnered with Troe Williams of Vandalism Designs. His aesthetic and eye for detail and design brought a flair that we have yet to see with our ITgirl series. We thought it would be great to learn more about fashion design and to get to know the face behind the Vandalism. Please enjoy this exclusive interview.
CRAVE: How long have you been a fashion designer?
Troe Williams: I have been a fashion designer since 1985, or should I say people have been paying me to make clothing since then. I think I have been a designer since my first sketches in 3rd grade.
CRAVE: Tell us about your start. Was there a defining moment?
TW: I started Vandalism Designs in 1986, when I choose the name of the company. That I would have to say was my defining moment. I heard the name as I rehearsed for a play. I heard the name and it stuck. Thirty years later it is the same so I would say that was the moment.
CRAVE: How long have you been designing in Colorado?
TW: I have been in Colorado since 2008 but I traveled from 2008-2011. Then I really started to focus on the Colorado market.
CRAVE: How has living in Colorado influenced your design aesthetic?
TW: I don’t know if I can say Colorado has influenced my aesthetic. I have lived all over the nation over the years. Born in the Midwest and southern raised. Six states and eleven cities so far to live and do fashion. I am sure though that I take something from each. I never really think about it like that. If I am honest I would say most any and everything influence me in some way. I am always open to learning.
CRAVE: With such a long career you’ve definitely had some highs and lows. Will you talk about them?
TW: I think the biggest struggle for any artist is that people think if you are not a household name or working with famous
My career highs number many. Knowing that I have made more than 65,000 garments, trained more than 9000 models, done more than 1000 fashion shows. I’ve done movies and music video. I think my highest has been to put 5 generations of my family on working postage stamps. That was a most proud moment.
CRAVE: You mentioned some celebrity connections to your clothing. How did you foster those relationships?
TW: I fostered those relationships by reaching out to them directly in most cases. Some have come from friendship connections. I do try not to do that however it is what sometimes is needed. As an artist I think it very important to foster relationships with other artists no matter if you are the big one or they are. People know when you are being genuine or not and will deal with you accordingly.
CRAVE: While you have multiple design talents, what is your favorite piece to create and why?
TW: All of fashion is my favorite. I love the great challenge of doing something different on each project. It keeps you on your toes and stops you from being a lazy designer. I think that fuels innovation and creativity. Far too many designers get comfortable doing the same thing or same look. We should all have a signature in our looks however I think it is wrong to put the same look on several people especially if they are in the entertainment industry. I hate seeing the ‘who wore it better’ thing. I just think it should be done like that. Lastly I believe high fashion demands exclusivity.
CRAVE: Previously, you mentioned Times Square being a dream fashion show. Till that happens, tell us about the biggest fashion event you’ve participated to date.
TW: Oh my I have had so many big shows over the years. The Out Auction in L.A. The Gathering in Minneapolis, Red Ball in Denver. Also I did a series of shows at the world famous First Avenue in Minneapolis and the famed Tangerine Room in Detroit. My 10thanniversary show, The Magic 8Ball in Minneapolis, my 18th anniversary show as well as my very first company show with Sir Charles Originals. I could go on and on. Shows for various causes I believe in- The Make a Wish Foundation, WuWa AIDS Prevention and Research, The Cancer Society, The Aliveness Project on and on.
CRAVE: What advice would you give to someone starting out as a young designer?
TW: The advice I give any and all young designers is to know your worth as an artist and stay true to your design aesthetic. It is so very hard to make it out there. To always hear from others or even family or friends you should be doing what so and so is doing because they are making big money, or ‘it is really hot right now so you should be doing whatever the trend or fad is’, is not sound advice. Those kind of things turns you into a copycat or a knock off artist and that is not ever acceptable in my book.
CRAVE: Think for a moment about when you where twenty. If you could go back there what advice would you give to your twenty-year-old self?
TW: The advice I would give twenty-year-old Troe, would be stay strong in the belief of what u do and have great pride. In other words, nothing. The journey makes us who we are and I would not change a thing because I am happiest with the artist and man I have become. That is not easy to do in any era of time. People always have to compare or box you in if they can. I say blow the walls down and be free!
CRAVE: What kind of legacy do you want to leave? How would you like to be remembered?
TW: The legacy I want to leave is that seven hundred years from now people will still be wearing Vandalism Designs. Yeah, I know how big an endeavor that is trust me, but I am working on it everyday. I would most like to be remembered for making the people I dress look alluring and beautiful male or female. There is nothing greater to an artist than to know they have touched a soul with the art they create and yes- Fashion is art!
Check out more of Troe’s work with our September ITgirl- Bethany Johnson!