Fashion / Interviews / Voncel's Reflection

Interview with Designer and Stylist Chanique Quinones

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“Fashion is more them a word but a emotionally connection to my life experiences”

Tell me a little about yourself. Where are you from? 

I’m originally from the Bronx New York, raised by independent strong females; my mother whom passed last year, my grandmother, and my great aunt. I have two siblings my brother Victor and my little sister Brionna.

What’s your educational background? I went to F.L.A.G.S high school and it consisted of 250 students and i think i could probably name them all. Flags played a major part in my creative side because they focused on thinking outside of the box. I studied 6 foreign languages and my favorite was my Japanese class with Mr. Sokoloff. My high school offered many extra curriculum activities and my great aunt made sure I did them all, from upward bound program, to Lehman college for violin classes and the list goes on. After high school I really thought I would be an interpreter for the U.N but my path followed the animal field and I owe that to Mr.Potts. I graduated and was accepted to City College to major in zoology but life had a detour that I wasn’t ready for and wouldn’t believe I would be a victim of; DOMESTIC VIOLENCE. I was secretly dating a guy in New York and he lived across the street from City college and he was physically and mentally abusing me. He would constantly tell me, if I left him he would find me at my school and hurt me and that was enough to change my path and with a help of a good friend named Ana i was able to leave and never look back.

I still wanted to attend school for animal care and the only school in the Bronx that offered this subject was Bronx Community College which lead to my first official job at the Bronx Zoo which i  held for five years and it brought me such joy working there and all the fun times I had with my children zoo family.

What are your general professional and non-professional interests?

My general professional interest falls under being a judge for shows like the Voice, or American idol, just because I  feel I have a great music ear. My non professional interests would fall in the category of arts and craft, because I love making different forms of art and using unconventional materials that might normally be overlooked.

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What does fashion mean to you?

Fashion is more them a word but a emotionally connection to my life experiences, which gave me the need to want to learn so much. Like my love or obsession for scrabble started when I was younger and I was playing with my family and friends and I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t win a round. It bother me to the point I gained another obsession, which involved copying the words in the dictionary, remembering their meaning and using them in my poetry so if I ever got challenge in scrabble I would not only receive points I would help my opponent lose their turn. This was my connection to scrabble which was my first t-shirt I had produced and my emotional connection to my childhood which shows in my life experiences through both my clothing line, where I mix and match prints and Colors and this influencer came from many years of working In the Bronx Zoo and seeing the different types of animals and array of colors and my Geek Junky accessory line influencer started from a game of scrabble and that’s why I’m known for my scrabble earrings.

How would you define your city’s fashion?

I’m originally from the Bronx New York and our fashion is defined by our interpretation of a mood, hip hop, life experiences, income, and our need and want to be different and creative, and this is why I smile when someone ask me where I’m from because I love New York .

When did you realize you wanted to become a fashion designer?

Some people normally find out their passion early but I didn’t until I moved to Atlanta. I moved to Atlanta in September 2008 and after I settled in I started to look into furthering my education and I found the Art Institute. I picked a subject that looked interesting, which was fashion retail management but I still couldn’t figure out my path. Then I met a student named Ashley Burks that introduced me to a designer named Yadiyda and her assistant named Ariel Foxx and with their help, my love for creating clothing, accessories, mixing unconventional materials made me realize I had a love for fashion and what I could contribute to fashion world.

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What was the first article of clothing you ever designed?

My scrabble geek shirt and my scrabble round skirt.

How does designing jewelry differ from designing clothes?

They both have the same start process of me figuring out what materials to use but where they differ from each other is when I start sewing, since I’ve only have a good 8 months in without any formal school I get frustrated real quick and usually go to sleep dreaming about how to fix an item or how to put it together to get the look I am going for.

How long does it usually take you to construct a piece?

At first, it took me a full 7 days to construct a round skirt but now it takes me 5 hours to finish a full top and bottom look. I’m still working to improve my techniques but I am satisfied with the reactions i get when I wear my garments in public. Not all the reactions are good but I walk to my own beat.

Who is one of your favorite local models to work with?

I have the pleasure to work with a good friend from school named Krystal and she is such a great model. Even though I construct plus size clothing I will be doing a upcoming shot with her and I will adjust my clothing to fit her size.

Describe the general process you go through to design and realize a piece of clothing?

I’ve been sketching for a while now and I thought that would be my style but come to find out the fabric brings life to my vision not my sketches. I can spend hours touching and looking at different forms of fabrics, from a variety of places like Value Village, which is a thrift store and I love buying beautiful yet odd looking bed sheets, shower curtains and window curtains. These fabrics bring life to a garment and give a different outlook on the word fashion forward.

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What are some of your accomplishments as a designer?

I’ve been feature in videos, on television shows, blogs, magazines, and photo shoots for a couple of celebrities and people who just love Geek Junky and what it stands for ” geek junky is dedicated to bold geeks, who refuse to allow others to define who they are, artistically ferocious. So welcome to my world of no boundaries”.

Who are some of your favorite designers?

Alexander McQueen, Marc Jacobs and Ralph Lauren, because their use of color, prints, style and playfulness.

Where can readers buy your clothes/jewelry?

Readers can go to www.Geekjunky.com and look through my look book and place a purchase through my email.

How long have you worked as a designer?

I’ve been working as an accessory designer for 10 years and a fashion designer for 5 months.

What inspired you to come up with your Geek Junky Clothing Line?

Working with Yadiyda and Ariel, you are more then an intern but you become part of a family. As a family we use to go to fashion shows, lounges, photo shoots and I wanted to represent the Yadiyda team while keeping true to my personal style. So Ariel brought me my first piece of fabric and it was a scrabble print and I lost my mind. I made my first round skirt and the rest is history.

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What are some of your favorite clothing stores/catalogs/websites?

I love Cleaners Depot, value village, vogue, Be magazine, skorch magazine, and Instagram because people picture inspire me to create accessories.

Where do you buy your fabrics and other sewing materials?

Value village for my unconventional fabrics, cleaners depot for my threads, zippers, buttons, etc..,Hancock , discount fabrics for my stretch fabrics and I love finding fabrics online, sites like fabric worm, spoon flower, etsy and etc…

 Do you consider yourself an artist?

I feel every one is an artist in their own rights, so yes.

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What matters to you most as a fashion designer?

As a designer, I really love comfort and mixing of fabrics and prints and simplicity of a garment that can speak volumes.

Tell me about the process of sketching a design. What kind of paper and pencil/pen do you use?

My sketching is influenced by my surroundings and what I would love to place on people that i see when I’m on the Marta, bus, or out and about. I usually buy a sketch pad the have body forms already sketch out because my focus is the clothing and the colors I use. I don’t have a particular color pencil I love I buy them all from the less to the most expensive because they all serve a purpose and I love to sketch with a mechanical pencils because I can buy the refills anywhere.

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Where can readers find out more about you and your work?

For now you can find me on all social media under chanique quinones and  I have a few articles coming out that I will keep you updated on Instagram.

 

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