T-shirts and jeans; skirts and trendy logos–the fashion sense of designer Ronald Speed-Bey is central to the Carpe brand. Every piece of clothing is meticulously created and composed by Ronald with a close eye to detail. He pulls inspiration from all parts of his life, past and present. Creativity has always been a part of his life, with an early interest in fashion and music. Before completely focusing on Carpe designs, Ronald created a line of hats for a musical group. Also during that time, he was involved in organizing fashion shows.
Additionally, Ronald created and executively produced an award winning educational CD–a multiplication themed Hip-Hop album titled “Sing2School”–that appeared on the hit ABC talk show “The View”.
When he is not working on clothing designs for Carpe, he is dedicating his time as an educator to specials needs children in New York City. Recently, Ronald spoke to the Examiner about his experiences as a designer:
Meagan Meehan (M.M.): What inspired you to become an artist?
Ronald Speed-Bey (R.S.): I feel I’ve been an artist since I was a kid. When I got my first drum machine I remember how incredible it felt to create something from scratch. Ever since then I’ve been focused on creating things. So, you can say my creative nature started with my first love, music, and now it’s transcended into fashion.
M.M.: Growing up, which artists and styles interested you?
R.S.: Growing up one of the first designers I was interested in was Ralph Lauren. I was drawn to the sophistication and the simplicity of his apparel. Polo was and still is the premier brand. In my opinion no matter what event you attend you can wear a Ralph Lauren piece and look fashionable and appropriate. Other designers that I was influenced by were Rene Lacoste, Calvin Klein and Yves Saint Laurent.
M.M.: How would you describe your work and what inspires it?
R.S.: I would describe Carpe as stylish and timeless. Music, creative people and entrepreneurs are constant sources of inspiration. Brand wise I am inspired by Ralph Lauren’s brand expansion and the quality of J. Crew manufacturing. I also have to admit the Ugmonk brand has been an influence ever since I discovered them several years ago. Seeing his brand’s growth has inspired me to keep pushing and given me the faith to believe that there is an audience for my designs as well.
M.M.: How did you go about getting your work shown publicly?
R.S.: At the present moment we are using word of mouth to get publicity. Also, we have aligned ourselves with a few companies and we are working jointly on creative art events to showcase our talents. Social media also plays a big part in Carpe getting noticed. We use Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Pinterest to interact with people and gain attention to our brand.
M.M.: Do you have a favorite piece? If so, which one and why?
R.S.: My favorite piece to date is Lady on the Boards. In the piece you have the face of the Statue of Liberty infused in a mixing board. It was an idea I kicked around for months; a piece I did for myself because I love to group different genres together. I was pleasantly surprised that people took a liking to the design. It’s my favorite because it combines a few things I love, art, music and New York.
M.M.: Are there any mediums and/or styles that you haven’t worked with yet but hope to soon?
R.S.: Carpe the brand will soon expand into a full line of apparel and accessories. As for Ron the artist, I would love to expand into other mediums like painting and sculpting. I have such a respect for people who can illustrate their ideas.
M.M.: How did you get involved with RAW?
R.S.: I was approached by Taryn Newton-Gill, the Showcase Director for Raw Artists. She saw my shirts on Etsy and emailed me. After reviewing Raw Artists website and seeing what it stood for I was honored to get involved and exhibit my apparel their BOLD showcase.
M.M.: To date, what has been the most rewarding experience involving being an artist?
R.S.: My reward is having someone appreciate my efforts in design for my brand. This provides me with a definite sense of accomplishment. It also confirms, for me that there is a place for Carpe in the fashion industry.
M.M.: What advice would you give to someone who is aspiring to become an artist?
R.S.: First, is to try finding your voice and be yourself. My second piece of advice would be consistent and work hard on your craft.
M.M.: Are there any upcoming projects and/or events that you would like to mention?
R.S.: Besides the upcoming RAW artist Brooklyn showcase is the Dherde East Final Friday Live Recording Series where we present our Brand and network with other artists.
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To learn more about Ronald Speed-Bey’s Carpe fashion line visit the official website, Etsy, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr.