IMG_20141022_223837

IMG_20141022_223941

OMI Fashion House – Vision & Spirit

“Every piece of clothing has a story to it” – Angel Rodriguez

I had the honor and pleasure of viewing Angel Rodriguez’s OMI SS2015 collection at Brooklyn Fashion week, October 2014. The masks, huge logo sunglasses, and choker halter dresses had everyone blown away, including myself. Once the show ended that night, I was scanning the room like a video game sniper hoping I could interview this great talent and discover the message behind his line.

Once I finally found him, he was of course huddled by adoring fans all congratulating him on his show- stopping line. I impatiently wait aside while he warmly thanked and spoke to everyone, once a second was clear, I gently grabbed his arm and introduced myself to ask for a feature article for Detoxaholic. He instantly obliged my offer and handed me his business card so we could schedule a time to talk more. I skipped out of Industry City in delight, and couldn’t wait to unveil the man behind the masks.

IMG_20141022_223438

Angel was born in the Bronx, New York, and raised by his middle-class Puerto Rican family in Kew Gardens, Queens. As a young boy, his father and godfather trained and supported his natural skill of sewing. His father was the first person to teach him how to sew with a needle and thread. His adoring godfather taught him this beginning logic in order for Angel to grasp the technique, “the needle is the parent and the thread is the child; wherever the needle goes the thread follows.” From then on, sewing came as natural as breathing to Angel, but he was still naïve to the discovery of how this innate talent would unleash his striking creative expression in fashion.

During the 1980’s, Angel was in high school during the rage of the punk rock scene in New York City. He was an instant slave to this rebellious fashion movement, and was a teenage trendsetter at his predominately African American high school rocking a Mohawk hairstyle. He was heavy into the voguing scene and loved to party out in The Village in downtown Manhattan. At sixteen, he joined a voguing house called the Iconic House of Ninja—where he loved meeting and bonding with diverse cultures of people. This creatively free environment provided Angel with the confidence to express his individual style by experimenting through fashion and makeup.

In his early twenties, Angel held a normal blue-collar job to make his family proud, especially his father, but was spiritually unsettled due to the lack of creative expression. Next, he worked at a flower shop for a little while which did provide creativity, but left him financially lost. Due to his lack of funds he was blessed to stay with his best friend Alex and crashed on his couch. At this time, he began to have dreams where he envisioned himself sewing. He had a dream about making a clutch purse, and three days later he actually made his first clutch bag. It was simplistic in design, but this vision sparked a new creative regimen that eventually extended to making beauty products such as body soap, lotion, etc. Alex believed in his talent and consistently urged him to keep creating more fashion. Today, Alex is his business partner for the OMI collection. Angel compares their yin and yang business relationship to the infamous Dolce & Gabbana. Angel handles the creative, visual aspect of the line and Alex compliments by handling the financial and marketing aspects.

His OMI collection inspirations are infused with spirit and fabric. He can’t draw so he constructs pieces he envisions in his mind. He never attended fashion school, and is a visual designer that picks up inspiration from his environment—people, city life, nature, religious and cultural references. He never looks at or refers to other fashion houses or designers, and allows his spirituality to guide him through the stories he tells in his collections. Angel’s current 2015 Spring/Summer collection reflects his signature style of playing on culture and social innuendos. He experiments with the cultural and religious garbs of Hinduism and adds an urban, modern flair to the canvas. He successfully achieved his goal of displaying the beautiful curves of a woman with sexy, body hugging silhouettes such as his one-piece white bathing suit. The masks in his collection, made by Justin Howard, reflected the veils and masks women wear in Hindu culture, and he paired with free-flowing caftan, somewhat Grecian-like, dresses that breathed femininity and strength.

Angel’s spiritual and socially-conscious designs are a physical representation of living his life as a Buddhist. His daily ritual of praying and chanting allows him to remain spiritually centered and eases stress, especially in times of preparing his collections and runway shows. He is truly humbled and appreciative of all the wonderful creative people that respond to his work—including models, stylists, and fans. He believes that all of these people equally contribute to sustaining his dreams and passions as a designer. He designs for the OMI collection to cater to both men and women. He loves to make unisex pieces that can be worn in different ways and also heightens production value. He caters to all body types of women, and believes that he designs for women that are confident and versatile. Angel loves to challenge the world and himself with his socially provoking designs, and serve as a library of knowledge for young, aspiring designers.

For all exciting updates and to cop the exclusive fashions of Angel Rodriguez’s OMI collection follow via Instagram or Twitter. And click the link to catch a glimpse of the OMI Collection’s Spring/Summer 2015 premiere at Brooklyn Fashion Week: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zlfB1YtzarI

 

-YJ