The “Information Age” gets a lot of flack for saturating our brains with fleeting trends and our newsfeeds with needless tweets and incessant selfies. Nevertheless, 21st century success stories, like the one that belongs to Quebec City-based designer Rudy Bois, remind us that hyperspace is still a magical place where dreams really can and do come true.
After launching his first high-end ready-to-wear collection, RUDYBOIS, exclusively online in 2012, Bois became an “overnight success” in modern-day terms — one tweet, Facebook post, and online order at a time. Soon after, Elle Canada, Elle Québec, Dress To Kill, LOULOU Magazine, and Clin D’Oeil Magazine featured the designer in their national publications, and celebrities like actress Karine Vanasse, singer Marie-Maie, and model Pamela Bernier became early fans of the emerging Canadian handmade brand. If that’s not a real-life social media era fairy tale, we don’t know what is. We caught up with Bois backstage before his World MasterCard Fashion Week runway show in Toronto to find out more about his unique story, the influence of social media on his career, and all about his Spring/Summer 2015 collection…
Tell us a bit about yourself. What should people know?
I’m from Trois-Pistoles in Quebec, a little town of about 3,000 people. I moved out after high school to Quebec City, which is a bit bigger, where I did my studies in fashion marketing. In my last semester, I did an internship in Paris with an accessories designer. My studies were more in the business/marketing side of things, but I had to make some creations for her because she was so busy. It brought back the passion I had since I was a kid to create. When you are from a little city like I am, it isn’t really cool to say that you love fashion and want to design women’s wear. After my studies, I decided to incorporate my own business with my partner and husband, Michael. We launched our first collection in August 2012 for Spring/Summer 2013. Everything has gone so fast since then.
What was your inspiration for this collection, Spring/Summer 2015?
For this collection, I was inspired by drama and romanticism. Concretely, you can see it in the colours: there’s a lot of white, a lot of black, and two tones of red – one darker, one brighter. I used a rough, wrinkled silk and juxtaposed it with a sleek, fabulous chiffon.
Where do you take your inspiration from that isn’t fashion?
Travel brings me a lot of inspiration, but not concretely – not from seeing people wearing different things on the street, necessarily. It brings me inspiration in the way that it takes fear out of me. We all have an inner fear, and traveling pushes back that fear.
What are the biggest challenges or benefits to being Canadian as a designer?
To be honest with you, I’m a dreamer, so I don’t even think about that. Maybe I’m naïve. When you’re passionate, you don’t even choose; you just do, and it’s inexplicable. I don’t think being Canadian is a bigger challenge – being in fashion itself is a challenge. If I wanted to make a lot of money, I’d be working in pharmaceuticals or something like that. I do what I do because I love it, and it’s not a job for me.
As a designer, what’s it like to work in the “Information Age”?
Everything goes so fast. I’m young, so I’ve grown up this way; it’s just the way it is.
Do you think you have a bigger audience because of social media?
Definitely. Right now, I’m only sold online. My biggest weapon is definitely social media. I’m on everything, but I think my favourite is Twitter. People are so easy to reach, and open to talk to. I have met a lot of friends on Twitter just by talking about fashion.
Has the social media era made it more possible for young designers to rise to prominence, do you think?
Definitely. In Quebec City, for instance, fashion isn’t taken very seriously. It wasn’t possible for us to get a loan from the bank because we’re so young, and we didn’t have a house or car to help get a loan. Social media helped us to market our label and is what got us to fashion week.