Having worked for big names such as Calvin Klein, Bill Blass, Perry Ellis, and Sean Combs, Richard Haines looked to set himself apart from the pack as he put to work his sketching talents. His approach to self-marketing his talents as a fashion designer (albeit with classic training in fine hart) has seen him replicate the styles of many of the people he comes in contact with on the daily in New York in hopes of showcasing his creative side. In an interview with The Malcom, Richard Haines touches on his work in addition to getting some insights into his reasoning behind the launch of WHAT I SAW TODAY, his online journal involving his interactions.
It has been stated that your “design eye” has been trained by working with such influential individual as Calvin Klein, Bill Blass, Perry Ellis and Sean Combs. What is one lesson you learned from each of these individuals that has had a profound effect on where your career stands today?
From Calvin Klein, I learned about the importance of branding. And Calvin knew how to make simplicity sexy-he never believed in tricking something up just for the sake of it. I loved that about him.
From Perry Ellis, I learned to never settle for second best. Perry always expected-demanded-the best, whether it was in people, fabric or quality. He never skimped, never settled.
From Sean John, I learned about keeping the focus on what’s important, and always getting 100% behind something. It’s a really valuable lesson that I use all the time.
From Bill Blass, I learned to be true to my American roots in terms of design. I’ll never forget when he put sweaters with ball gowns-the juxtaposition of casual and formal is what’s great about american design.
Your drawings have become synonymous with New York City street style. What does it take to catch your eye?
New York is filled with beautiful people, but it’s a person’s style I find eye-catching, rather than a pretty face. The way something is worn is just as important, even more important than the object itself. It can also be the way a person stands, or holds himself. Some of my favorite sketches are from people hanging out in front of clubs, talking, preening, smoking. They are so expressive and free.