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Designer Raul Penaranda featuring Justin Bellucci

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Sep. 5, 2019

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What's next for Raul? Expanding his brand into the global market while setting a standard for small business success stories.

Fashioning a Successful Small Business

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Raul Peñaranda, New York Fashion Week designer and entrepreneur.

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Ancient Muses of Creation 

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New York City designer Raul Peñaranda became one of the fastest growing fashion entrepreneurs to come out of the small business industry with his 100% USA manufactured ready to wear fashion line for women.

Dayana Mendoza, Miss Universe 2009 and Celebrity Apprentice Contestant wearing original Raul Penaranda designs.

Luxury Brand created with Kindness

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The perennial show stopper and creative mastermind, Raul Peñaranda once again amazed a packed house with his latest collection. Peñaranda, who was born in Colombia and raised in Venezuela, was one of the many talented Latino designers showing at New York Fashion Week. The designer lives by the mantra ' Dream, Vision, Reality '.


This season's Spring/Summer 2013 Women's Ready-to-Wear Collection was inspired by the ancient muses of creation. An instant classic, Peñaranda's designs transcend time and evoke the drama, refinement and creative brilliance of the muses.


In addition to Peñaranda's classic yet modern designs, Peñaranda orchestrated a captivating runway show where the models became the muses. It is the designer's attention to detail that alludes to his past work. Before launching his own line, Peñaranda worked for some of the industry's top fashion houses such as Oscar de la Renta, DKNY and Tommy Hilfiger, along with industry giants Liz Claiborne and Kellwood. Aditionally, it is important to note that the line is manufactured domestically in New York.


It is through one-of-a-kind craftsmanship, Peñaranda employs unique and lavish fabrics such as silk chiffon, refined laces, delicate sequins, metallic brocade and metallic-coated tulle along with sheer illusions, hand-beaded technique and luxurious embroidery  appliqué.


See more of Peñaranda's work at raulpenaranda.com 

Raul Penaranda is a child of the world. Having humble beginnings that stretch from Columbia to Miami and finally to New York City, Penaranda made his way as a designer by his skill, vision, and the drive to thrive. Invariably accustomed to fashion and construction through his mother's influence as a seamstress, Penaranda moved to NYC in 2000 to pursue his dreams of being a fashion designer. Finding success at many major fashion houses as well as an assistant designer position at DKNY, the designer found the courage to launch his own self-titled designer label in 2010. Now as Creative Director of the Raul Penaranda label, he oversees the inception and creation of luxurious seasonal collections. Raul Penaranda shares with Re: Magazine some important insight into his journey, process, inspirations, and accomplishments. 


RE: Tell us a little about yourself and your background. Where are you from? What brought you to New York City? 


RP: I was born in Cali, Colombia. At age four I moved to Caracas, Venezuela where I grew up and moved to Miami, Florida with my entire family as a young adult. In 2000, I relocated to New York City where I was offered a freelance design position at DKNY. I was simultaneously enrolled at FIT and Parsons. I come from a very humble family super rich in values; my parents are the foundation of who I am today, especially my mother who cultivated the 3 words I  live my life by: Dream, Vision, Reality. "Dream because it's free. Make sure to transform that into a vision and if you want to succeed in life, make sure it becomes a reality." 


RE: Did you study fashion in college or are you self-taught? How did you find yourself having a career in the fashion



RP: I'm not a fashion designer by school. I learned the basics from my mother who used to be a seamstress and used to dress my sisters and myself when we were kids. I only took the classes I needed at Parsons and FIT to level myself with other fashion designers. I found myself as an assistant designer for DKNY when a position was available and I applied even though I wasn't a fashion designer graduate, but because of my sketches and color abilities I was given an opportunity I will be always grateful for. 


RE: Have you always known you wanted to be a fashion designer? 


RP: Since I was very young, I knew I was going to be a fashion designer. It was just a matter of making that dream into a vision and finally a reality. I choose not to have a second option in my life; it was imminent. 


RE: How long have you been working as a designer? 


RP: I had been in the fashion industry since 2000 when I started as an assistant designer for DKNY. Over the next ten years, I quickly made leaps throughout the industry. My portfolio includes work from some of the industry's top fashion houses such as Oscar de la Renta, DKNY, Zac Posen and Tommy Hilfiger, along with industry giants Liz Claiborne and Kellwood. I held key positions as Creative Director of Merchandise and Trend Services, Senior Designer and CAD  Textile/Print Designer. In 2010, I decided to make one of my long time dreams a reality and opened Raul Penaranda LLC to house my self-titled Raul Penaranda. (www.raulpenaranda.com) 


RE: What is your creative process like? Where do you get your inspiration? 


RP: My creative process is very simple. I take my feelings and transform those feelings into my designs. I consider myself an artist that creates emotions through my garments. I believe that fashion is an extension of people's personalities and you must express that in anything you do. In this case, empowering women with my product is what I enjoy the most. I get my inspiration from every experience of my life, from different elements that create emotions. I am inspired by anything from a kind gesture such as somebody giving a seat to an old lady at the subway, or a morning run with my dogs at Central Park. In other words, I draw from my surroundings that constantly are giving us all kinds of information. 


Interview by Sarah Humphries

Photograph by Pat Bombard


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