by Kassandra Steward
Rudy Dejesus is a 21-year-old man who grew up in Bushwick. Starting his own clothing line called Intellect Clothing at the age of 19, this young go getter has set standards for the average teen. After starring in an Atlantic City fashion show, I thought this would be the perfect time for him to get the exposure he deserves. Not only is fashion his passion, but when he’s not designing he makes music so his love for the arts is clearly shown. Check out this interview with the ambitious Rudy Dejesus.
Tell me a little about yourself. Where are you from? What’s your educational background? What are your general professional and non-professional interests?
I was born in the Bronx, raised in Bushwick. I graduated from Bushwick High school Academy of Urban Planning. I did some college at Kingsborough Community College and my major was fashion design and then I changed it to fashion merchandising to understand more of the business aspect of fashion designing. As a nonprofessional interest I like to skateboard.
Any plans on going back to school?
It’s all inevitable. Of course, if my business gets to where I want it to be where it can carry itself and I’m able to focus on my education while paying my bills, then absolutely. Especially now with how expensive Bushwick has become.
What does fashion mean to you?
Fashion is everything. Fashion is your costume, your emotions; Fashion is who you are and what you represent. Fashion can be something you can feel physically or emotionally. All your senses combined in one.
When did you realize you wanted to become a fashion designer?
I always wanted to be in charge. I changed what I wanted to be in life several times, but I always knew I wanted to have something of my own. So when I got into high school I started at Murry Bergtraum which was a business school and I used those skills and took them with me to Bushwick High School. And for my economics class I had to start printing shirts and that put everything into place.
Why the name Intellect Clothing?
Intellect is something that everybody has. It can be defined as creative thinking. Throughout generations anyone that’s felt cornered has found a way to be mentally satisfied. People in jail, college students only in school because their parents force them to, there’s an outlet a lot of them find whether it’s art, reading or just creative thinking in general. I just feel like everybody has intellect.
What was the first article of clothing you ever designed?
First piece of clothing was me doing a stunt on my skateboard at Knickerbocker Park. A really good friend of mine Anthony Castro took the picture and I was able to print it onto my shirt.
How do you usually decide which constructed piece you want to sell?
I usually start designing one and go into another so by the time I get to the computer I have multiple designs. So within that thought process it filters out on which one I think will sell more.
What are some of your accomplishments as a designer?
Wow. I would have to say being a man of my word. I wasn’t too educated in business and just doing my research and being committed, it all went through. I was in fashion shows. So establishing a brand is something I’ve accomplished. My designs came out on the NBC news during The Atlantic City fashion show.
Who are some of your favorite designers?
Ralph Lauren. I’m actually reading a book about him.
Where can readers buy your clothes?
How do you select your models?
Fashion shows always give me models, but I am looking for models in Bushwick. I just haven’t found people as dedicated. So for me it’s all about profession. Makeup artists in Bushwick are also something I’m looking for.
What are some of your favorite clothing stores/websites?
My favorite store would be Uniqlo. They have everything from casual to business.
What do you believe makes a quality article of clothing?
Content. Whatever you put in a product means value then drops down to comfort and how long it will last. Are you investing in the idea or the actual product?
Do you consider yourself an artist?
Definitely. I draw I skateboard, photograph, I also do music.
Do you have a favorite artist that you look up to and say wow, I want to be in his position?
Jay-Z definitely. Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, and Steve Jobs.
For a fashion show it’s about what you want your collection to be for the season, so I’ll do my research and figure out what’s going to be in style. For photo shoots you need your models and locations and budgeting.
Do you prefer sketching designs or actually constructing them?
My inspiration will come from anywhere. I would even add my photography into it. I also want to get into sewing a bit more.
What advice do you have for aspiring fashion designers?
Stay committed. People are always going to judge, but if you stay positive it will always come back to you.
What do you like best about designing clothes?
The idea of a blank page. I want my brand to represent motivation, striving, thinking outside the box. So if someone else sees you wearing a brand like that they will also feel inspired and so on. It’s the power of giving that’s going to be represented by my brand.
What do you dislike about designing clothes?
It’s expensive. [laughs]
How would you define your personal style?
It goes with my emotions, if I feel like I’m happy I’ll wear my best outfits.
How would you define the style your line exemplifies?
I believe my fashion line is a growth and I say that because I’m only 21 and I’m still growing. I mean at first I started off with hoodies and t- shirts and as I learn more about the business of fashion I want to broaden my horizons.
What are some of your fashion goals?
Surpass Polo Ralph Lauren… that’s a high goal but that’s what I want. I feel like I have surprised myself with the things that I have done with being only 21 years old so I want to keep striving.
I haven’t had the opportunity to style other people who aren’t wearing my clothes. I’ve done retail at Macy’s, so it helped me with a bit of merchandising.
What are your favorite patterns [prints] to work with?
Where can readers find out more about you and your work?
Check Soundcloud at rudboysick and my YouTube channel at rudboysick.
Since you live in Bushwick, I wanted your opinion on the gentrification that is happening in our community.
That’s a broad subject. I’m going to give you an example, which is Manifest Destiny, the Western expansion. So it’s more like the idea of moving forward is being enforced. Rather than change the mind of the people, they change the surroundings, and it will either motivate the people or give them the choice to give up.