Bits 'n' Pieces: Aspiring designer in fashion spotlight

By Ashley Swanson, Columbian features news coordinator

Published:

Updated: February 11, 2014, 11:28 AM

 

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Fall 2014

Catch Vancouver designer German Madrigal's debut at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. Madrigal and his design partner, Ryan Edmonds of Portland, will be part of the Art Institutes' runway show, which will be live streamed at 5 p.m.


Aspiring fashion designer German Madrigal, 25, will be showcasing his work on the fashion world's biggest stage. And it will be his second runway show.

Madrigal and his design partner, Ryan Edmonds of Portland, will show their designs Feb. 11 at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York City. The Art Institutes selected 13 designers from its system of schools as a showcase of up-and-coming talent. Edmonds and Madrigal are the only duo presenting a mini-collection, and they are also the only designers showing menswear.

Madrigal works and lives in Vancouver, while attending the Art Institute of Portland for Apparel Design. "I'm barely a junior. I'm still take class full time, still working at the Starbucks," he said

"Honestly, never in my wildest dreams did I think this would happen, as clichéd as it sounds."

The duo showed their first collection during Portland Fashion Week at the Art Institute of Portland's Future of Fashion Show in September. Madrigal describes their partnership as an "even 50-50," from input into the designs to the division of sewing. "We ended up meeting each other at school; (he and Edmonds) polar opposites in personality. I'm crazy in the good way, lots of positive energy, always laughing and making those around me laugh. I come from a funny family, a group of jokesters," Madrigal said.

"It's amazing how effortless (the partnership) is. We have a genuine connection with each other, share the same aesthetic, the same style. There's such a fluidity to the partnership."

It's rare for partnerships to happen in the design world. But Madrigal and Edmonds gravitated toward the same inspirations. They both consider the fashion line Duckie Brown — which is the work of designer team Steven Cox and Daniel Silver -- their fashion heroes. When the designers traveled to New York City in January for a Fashion Week "boot camp" and preview, the trip became even more inspiring to Madrigal.

"At the mixer of industry and judges, (Cox and Silver) personally came out to see our work. We got to meet our heroes, and they were so down to earth."

Madrigal describes their aesthetic as very modern, constructing pieces that highlight geometric and angled lines. The collection itself revolves around interchangeable looks. "Both of us are really drawn to monotone colors," Madrigal said, "but we can't just have another black collection." Their palette is mostly black, with hints of color in light grays and purple tones.

The key to their designs, Madrigal stresses, is keeping the customer's comfort in mind. The idea is that more customers would want to incorporate bolder clothing choices into their closets if the pieces were easy to wear.

"We didn't want to limit what the design could be," Madrigal said.

He credits the support of his friends, family and Sue Bonde of the Art Institute of Portland with giving him a grounded foundation to go after his dreams, something he hopes his journey will inspire in others.

"(His parents) didn't really understand how big (New York Fashion Week) was," he said. "My mom, she's a big fan of Michael Kors, and she was flipping out when I told her I was going to be on the same stage as him, and then she got it," Madrigal said with a laugh.


Bits 'n' Pieces appears Fridays and Saturdays. If you have a story you'd like to share, email bits@columbian.com.