Interview conducted & written by

Victor Simmons

The Coachella Valley Art Scene’s Beauty & Fashion Contributor

Amid the hum-drum of this tumble-weed town, two fashion designing desperados try to raise the bar. Rigo Vasquez and Courtney Doucette came together out of a mutual love of  research and inspiration. Putting together resources, talent, and determination, they set out on their newest venture… co-branding. They are currently in creative bliss deciding on their new name and  other particulars. I was lucky enough to sit in the middle and pow-pow with them.

Victor Simmons of the CVAS: Before starting on your solo ventures, what made you take the leap into fashion?
Courtney:  I took sewing lessons when I was 7 years old. I’ve always been into music, arts, design and went back and forth between writing poems and music. Four years ago I  jumped back into sewing and thought it could be something good.
Rigo: I got into fashion through my Journalism major. I liked the attention to detail that went into clothing design and that clothes are character driven. Ive spent the last 4 years investigating and a couple months ago decided to make the switch into it.
Who are your style and beauty icons?
Rigo: Edie Sedgwick, her story was so tragic.  Also Betty Page,  I love the darker  aspect of beauty. And the  awkwardness of Twiggy.
Courtney:  Jenny Lewis, and other musical artists. I went to Coachella this year which was a big source of inspiration. I’m  into trend researching things that are up and coming.
How did you guys happen to bump into each other?
Courtney: We had a public speaking class together, we knew who each other was, but we hadn’t yet met until recently.
Rigo: I was having a film done, and reached out to Louisa from Fine Art of Design in Palm Desert, who is a mutual friend. Coincidentally, she was also in our public speaking class.
What was one of your first surprises in working together? How do you compliment each other’s work?
Courtney: I was surprised by how upscale Rodrigo’s designs are in comparison to how casual mine are. Reminds me of Marc Jacob’s new line. I think our two design aesthetics work well together.
Rigo: I think they are a perfect compliment to each other. I have a long process in putting pieces together, whereas Courtney is able to whip her designs out. It’s the best of both worlds.
Describe this upcoming collection a little bit in regards to what inspires you.
Rigo: Bright fabrics, mini-dresses. I’m inspired by the combination of two different designers like Marc Jacobs and Valentino.
Courtney: I’m focusing on using one fabric universally, like making a long dress that’s shorter in the front from the others, or maybe playing a little with the trim. I’ll use one certain fabric in many different colors so there is a cohesive feel, yet adding variation.
What are some styles you’d like to see back in action?
Rigo: I’d like to see us go back to when people were taking more time to put an outfit together. I love Mad Men and Pan-Am.
Courtney: Time and art repeat themselves. I think now we’ve re-winded to the point of the 90’s. I love the 1940’s and also the 1920’s where pieces were covered up but still detailed with fringe and sequins.
What’s your style staple in heading out to a night on the town? Where would you be going?
Courtney: If I go out, it has to be for a reason. I don’t really do the club or  bar scene. If anything, I’m going out to a show. I’ll switch a couple pieces or throw a belt on. I also like to dress for where I’m going. For instance, going to a punk show, I’ll throw on leopard print leggings.
Rigo: I go dressed to the theme and also like to put my own spin on it.When I would go to 80’s concerts like Flock of Seagulls in Anaheim I’d go all out. That’s what I love that about Halloween.
You’re both local artists, do you think this helps or hinders you?
Rigo: You can really get your voice out in a small town community because everything is so inter-connected. I found Courtney that way.  Its easier to get people involved, where In LA you might have an event and people say “who cares?” because there are 5 other shows going on that night.
Courtney: I agree. With the Internet and other resources we now have, you can look at outside things and don’t necessarily need to be in New York to talk or make connections with someone in New York, you can just email.
What kind of setting do you create in? Is there allot going on, or do you like a simple space to focus?
Courtney: I love to design at home in my room listening to my favorite album at the time. Right now it’s Portugal The Man. I have to have good lighting and music.
Rigo: I like designing when I’m out and about instead of in a studio setting. Music is a big thing for me too.I’m listening to a band called Metronomy.
How do you want people to feel when they’re wearing your clothing?
Courtney: Amazing and beautiful wherever they’re going to. An outfit can change a person’s mood, and I want them to feel great no matter what is going on.
 Rigo: I agree, I want to inspire them to create a moment.
I know you’re planning a soft-launch soon. What can we expect to see that sets your show apart from the rest?
Courtney: Originality. It’s not fresh from India or China, The clothes are straight from people’s back yard and the fabrics are hand-picked. I want our clothes to set people apart, where they are unique and stand out.
Rigo: I want everyone to be blown away. Our clothes are made to order. We didn’t go to a design school, so we’re able to show that a creative place doesn’t have to be from a regimented system. I want them to feel proud of the desert.
What are some words that sum up the future of your brand?
Rigo: Head turning and fresh.
  Whether we are stitched  to our sewing machines or plugged into our tunes, these kids show us that we live in a world of endless inspiration and there is no limit to what we can do when we tap into it.There’s nothing more refreshing and re-assuring then seeing our generation expand and realize it’s own potential. The fabric of art is unfolding right in front of us. We just have to keep our eyes and ears open to what’s coming next.
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To make a clothing order from Courtney Doucette,
To reach Rigo Vasquez, click here.