It’s about that time again ladies, gents, and those in between! The fashion guru is back and I’ve got company. Born and raised in Southern New Jersey, I’ve personally been a fan of Pietra, who is uniquely talented, driven, and the designer and CEO of Retrochic. I’ve had the pleasure of initially meeting Pietra a few years back (lawd knows she doesn’t remember) at a fashion show where I was modeling and she was exhibiting her latest designs. I remember Pietra so vividly because she was the only designer that I’ve encountered who actually gave the models clothes from her collection! I still wear my shirt and receive compliments on it everywhere I go.
Pietra is a gifted woman with many talents that range from designing clothes and home decor to make-up artistry and even photography. She holds a degree from Drexel University in Photography and is currently in graduate school for Creative Writing. For over five years Pietra has provided us with stylish, colorful, and mood changing designs at prices that will even make my wallet happy.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Pietra exclusively for PhillyGayCalendar! Let’s see what she has to say…
DeAnn: What are some of the places you like to hang out?
Pietra: Hang out?! I wish I had time to hang out. If I did, I’d probably go to the movies, a play, or poetry reading.
DeAnn: What kind of music do you like?
Pietra: Jill Scott, John Legend, Floetry, Kayne West, Mos Def, Minnie Riperton, Res, Prince, Michael Jackson, Jimi Hendrix, Rolling Stones, Miles Davis…just to name a few.
DeAnn: What do you love abut designing?
Pietra: I’ve always altered my clothes in someway. When I was young I used to draw with puffy paint on my canvas shoes and tee-shirts. Later, I got into decorating my jeans with metal studs and rhinestones. I don’t know how or why I started, I just did.
DeAnn: How would you describe your passion for Retrochic?
Pietra: I believe that every artist creates from their ‘center’. My center is my love for the past decades of the 50’s through the 80’s. I believe that is evident in everything I do without trying. I have always liked bright colors and shiny, flashy fabrics and paints. It’s funny because in high school, you realize that everyone is trying so hard to fit in, to the point where everyone begins to look like a cardboard cutout. I wouldn’t have fit in even if I tried. Once I accepted that I just wasn’t like every body else, I ran with it. That freedom allows me to experiment. Its one thing to tell someone to be themselves, its another thing to actually try. That is what’s so special about the past, especially the eighties. We look at some of those outfits now and laugh, but when was the last time you put on something you actually liked?
DeAnn: Can you describe Retrochic’s meaning?
Pietra: I wanted to create a name that would describe me, my motivation, and my focus. I love the past and I am stylish. To break it down, Retrochic is two words – retro means reminiscent of things of the past and chic means setting current fashions and styles, sophisticated. Simply put, the state of being stylish. I believe these two words describe my line and the people that wear it well.
DeAnn: Just out of curiosity, what’s your workspace like?
Pietra: A HOT mess. There’s piles of shirts, studs, rhinestones, ribbons, paints, and glitter, but somehow out of that I create. It’s the life of an artist I suppose, out of chaos.
DeAnn: Have you had any high-profile or celebrity customers?
Pietra: I currently deal with some hip-hop and spoken word artists, providing them with tees for performances such as, Hicoup from the Fifth Column and Lady Madon. I also work with the R&B duo from Philly, Kindred the Family Soul. They own the Kulture Shop, one of the places I’m sold in. I am always willing to do work with performance artists, we all need each other. I wouldn’t be in stores now if people didn’t give me a chance.
DeAnn: What can we expect for the Winter 2008?
Pietra: Large 20" x 20" pillows, hoodies, and track suit sets.
Retrochic by Pietra has received numerous praise which includes, being touted as “Best of Philly” in the City Paper and “A-listed” in Philadelphia Weekly. Congratulations to Pietra who was invited to Phoenix, Arizona to showcase her designs in Phoenix Fashion Week! Check out Retrochic’s website at www.retrochicbypietra.com and join her on Myspace at www.myspace.com/retrochichbypietra. Buy something for yourself, family, or a friend by placing your order to: PO Box 824, Cherry Hill, New Jersey 08003.
Thanks for reading and if you know an established or up and coming designer, contact me at [email protected].
Peace and Love.