Despite being a fashion designer, Rusly Tjohnardi works like a true architect because he is able to build dreams gowns from fabrics of his choice that turns his clients into the belle of the ball. He recently presented his latest prêt-à-couture collection at the Jeweluxe Singapore 2017, an exhibit featuring jewelry, timepieces, and sophisticated living. In between his busy schedule, he took time to share with us about his design inspirations and charity works.
Can you tell us more about your new collection and the inspiration behind it?
My latest collection, presented at the Jeweluxe Singapore 2017, was all coloured gold. There were a lot of prêt-à-couture, which are couture pieces that you can just get off the rack. The current trend in fabric was my inspiration. However, I give these easily accessible fabrics my own twist and touch to make it a style of my own. I then create designs that I think will make a woman look and feel good. Making a woman look and feel good while remaining comfortable, I think, should be the main goal of a designer.
How did you decide to become a designer?
I think it is in me. I like all beautiful and luxurious things, like art. A lot of people think that being a designer is only about making clothes, but a designer is actually an architect for the body’s figure, although unlike a doctor or aesthetician. Whatever your body shape, we work with to let it shine by supporting or concealing parts that are not proportionate. It is not easy and therefore, a designer must be excellent in three-dimensional perception and possess a good understanding of the anatomy. Then a designer has to more or less have knowledge about health and lifestyle so that he or she can give the right suggestions to the clients. Of course, each designer has his or her own personal sense.
So, do you put more emphasis on comfort rather than aesthetic?
No, it has to go both ways. But sometimes, finding the right balance depends on the the decision of the client. After a few fittings, I will usually ask the client on whether they prefer comfortability or appearance with a bit of uncomfortability. Tighter or looser, it all depends on their preferences. That is why it is really important to listen to the clients.
You have mentioned trends several times. How far do you take note of current trends when designing?
Let’s put it this way, the masses will dictate our basic cuttings and the trend will dictate what fills up those basic cuttings. To use an analogy, let’s say I’m making a cupcake. The basic dough is universally the same, but the decorations and icings will be different.
Who influences and what inspires your designs?
I see and learn a lot from personalities on social media and TV. I observe how people dress and behave when they go to functions. If the style is too complicated, then I will take the essence of the style to create something that people will feel more comfortable wearing. I am also influenced by the available material. When I see a fabric, an image will appear in my mind because I start to dream of the kinds of colors and textures that I can weave to make a beautiful creation. I am inspired by real people. That is why I like to bring my clients to the place where the materials and fabrics place are so that they can see and feel the materials fall on their bodies. This will give us better ideas afterwards.
What’s your proudest moment as a designer?
I feel proud of my little, daily successes that most people do not know about. My proudest moment is not when I am on stage receiving an applause, but it is when I am doing things right and making people happy through my designs.
What’s next for your label?
I actually don’t plan too much. I usually go with the flow in terms of career and everything else. After being a designer for several years, I have realized that planning doesn’t help that much.
What I know for sure is that I want to do this for a very long time. In order to do that, I have to stay healthy as this will allow me to keep on creating and designing. I believe that if you do your job whole-heartedly, the rest will follow.
You do a lot of charity work. What is the reason behind this?
I guess it is a calling. Some people have the wrong approach towards charity work. They do charity because they want to be seen and thanked. I do charity with my friends because we feel so blessed that we want to give back. That is why when we do charity works, we call it as giving from the heart because we do not simply hand money to charitable institutions. We form a relationship with the institutions that we help, and we will frequently follow up on their situation and needs.
My friends and I share our charity work on social media because we want to reach out to people and introduce them to charitable institutions. Certain people have money but do not know how to do charity work so they ask me to arrange it. Thus, it is more that jusn portraying a certain image. I think that’s the main purpose of charity work - to raise awareness on those that need our attention.