Written by Nelson Han
Switching from fine arts to fashion design, Ruochun Ding is pleased to discover her passion after working in various roles across departments at brands of all sizes. Unlike the majority of new graduates that are still exploring their potential, Ding has precisely found her place in the fashion industry through her diverse experience.
Q: Would you briefly introduce yourself?
A: My name is Ruochun Ding. I joined Massachusetts College of Art and Design to study fine art in 2017.However, I soon discovered my passion in the fashion industry, so I transferred to Fashion Institute of Technology in 2018 to study fashion design and graduated in 2022. I’ve worked as both freelance and contract designer for several brands in New York City to figure out what suits me best. Right now I’m working in the development team at WARDROBE.NYC and planning to build my career here.
Q: What are some of the inspirations in your most recent collection EPITO.ME?
A: This collection reflects my journey over the past four years. I started creating during my transition to Peter Do after leaving my role at The Row. As a result, I got inspired by these two brands a lot. My design language is elegantly simple. I aim to provide minimalist daily wear with some subtle and intricate designs. Additionally, I incorporated two of my favorite elements, pleats and tailoring, into this collection. I found myself in these garments and hope that they can inspire others in the same way they have inspired me.
Q: What’s the design concept behind your illustration project DETACHMENT: VOLUME III?
A: VOLUME III is the last piece of my DETACHMENT collection as well as the dramatic one because my understanding of the word ‘detachment’ is an abstract and divine mental state. I used a veil and a gouache paint stimulator on my iPad to show the hidden divine side. The ink spilling on top of it was designed to make the piece more organic and thus elevate the quality of the painting. To better connect the concept of detachment with the design, I selected colors that are calming such as navy blue and dark green besides the typical black and white to create a sense of a clear state of mind.
Q: In your opinion, what makes you stand out from other designers?
A: I describe my own style as effortlessly chic. Unlike the designs that are either too minimalist or super avant garde, I aim to strike a balance between the two extremes and create something practical. Each of my pieces has their own subtly detailed design that’s different from each other but can fit most day-to-day wear without making people feel too extra or unnecessary. That’s the kind of connection that I want to build with my target audience. Once they can relate to my design concepts, they will naturally gravitate towards my brand so neither of us will need to try so hard.
Q: What are some of the difficulties that you have to get over to have a say in this industry?
A: The most serious struggle is that the industry is filled with too many talented people, making it unbelievably competitive. It’s very hard for beginner designers to establish themselves in the fashion world, even if they have some brilliant or revolutionary designs. Moreover, the ease of copying someone else’s ideas is only making it worse. In order to make a design recognized by people, we have to network with many celebrities and maintain a good relationship with their styling team. This is also one of the key insights to take for anyone that’s looking to become successful in the fashion industry.
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