Raphael Tomaszewski, Senior Designer for the Dynamite Brand Interview

Honesty, ownership, passion, excellence, and teamwork are words that guide the Dynamite Brand’s success. Raphael Tomaszewski, Senior Designer for the Dynamite Brand kindly took the time to answer a couple questions.

Sarah Velasco: As Senior Designer for Dynamite, what types of things do you have to do?
Raphael Tomaszewski: Multitask! Creation of collections and mood boards; style, color and print research. Sketching and fitting of garments. Managing the team of junior and technical designers and maintaining a close collaboration with the buying team in order to meet our deadlines so the collection hits the stores on time.

Sarah Velasco: Could you tell us where you're from and how you got started? Have you always wanted to be a designer? Raphael Tomaszewski: I spent my childhood in Poland and I graduated later on from LaSalle College, in Montreal. I grew up spending a lot of time in my grandmother’s fabric store and my mom had a small fashion company that she ran straight out of our house. I was fascinated with fashion from early on and always wanted to be part of this particular world.

Sarah Velasco: From your experience, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer? Raphael Tomaskewski: It is always thrilling to see someone wearing a piece that I designed and worked on. What I find difficult, sometimes, is to compromise my vision and ideas.

Sarah Velasco: What would you say is the most important lesson you have learned in your life as a designer, and how do you apply it to this art form? Raphael Tomaszewski: Thinking of the clients/women I design for. What are their needs and desires; what do they want to look like. It helped me to stay focused and to adapt my design aesthetic, especially when creating for a big scale retailer such as Dynamite.

Sarah Velasco: This is a broad question, but who or what inspires you when you design? Raphael Tomaszewski: As much as we have a chance to travel the world, work with wonderful research tools, such as trend books and specialized websites, sometimes the best inspiration can come from our immediate environment, such as great work colleagues who are passionate about fashion.

Sarah Velasco: What makes Dynamite different from other companies? Raphael Tomaskewski: Firstly, Dynamite, as a fashion company, recognizes the importance of designers. Our designs are always trend aligned yet adapted to our loyal client to fit her lifestyle which includes work, casual weekends and nights out. We create basics all the way to fashion pieces, at affordable prices. Through our marketing and visual, we always project a positive, approachable and naturally sexy aura.

Sarah Velasco: What happens behind the scenes (things that shoppers do not know from going in a Dynamite store)? What goes into each collection every season? Raphael Tomaszewski: A lot! Each collection and season is a group effort and a collaboration between various departments, such as planning, merchandising, pattern and fit, import, graphic design, marketing and visual.

Sarah Velasco: Are there any particular trends for summer? What will we see for Fall 2011? Raphael Tomaszewski: For summer, every girl should own a chiffon buttoned up blouse in solid color or printed motif. It is a great versatile piece to wear to work with pants, or out on town with shorts or a mini skirt and jewellery. A long dress is a must! For fall, look into a great long blazer to layer over dresses and pants. Look into getting a new PU jacket with a shearling collar. A touch of animal print in your wardrobe is also a must; try a snake skin or cheetah print dress/blouse or simply a bag.

Sarah Velasco: What advice would you give people who want to be a fashion designer?

Raphael Tomaszewski: Roll up your sleeves to work hard! I think being passionate about fashion is the key to being successful.