Friday, February 2, 2007

Red Carter Swimwear

Red Carter Swimwear
Shaping styles one button at a time

Red Carter calls his company “the garage band of the fashion business.” After only five years in business this former competitive swimmer turned actor turned designer from Cali has transformed his SOBE apartment-based business into a national success.

Red Carter showcases his swimwear today in department stores nationwide and his business is very hands-on. He tackles everything from the minutest details of the overall look of the line to even simply tagging the clothes to prepare them for shipment. This is not his first try at the fashion world. He spent years under the tutelage of other designers in the fast-paced flow of Los Angeles, working with Guess Jeans, the Marciano Brotehrs, Rampage, Mossimo, Victoria’s Secret, Linda Wachner and even Oscar de la Renta. He worked with swimwear for eight years prior to finding his home in South Beach.

“I had heard that there was a strong fashion presence here but when I came here, I noticed that big names would come and put their name on a building and then leave. I decided to stay,” said Carter, who chose to make a formidable presence on SOBE shores to create a product that would embody the attitude here. “South Beach is all about Art Deco colors, non-stop energy and wearing a bikini from day to night. You can see someone pumping gas here with a bikini and a cover-up. It’s great,” he laughed, adding that it is important that swimwear can be worn both at the beach and in the nightclub.

Carter’s style is a melting pot of cultures but each of his signature items has his distinct imprint—a red button on the back. When asked why, he commented, “In school, I thought Patrick Kelly [1954-1990] was a genius. He was an American who moved to France and developed products with buttons. I identified with that idea because I like the idea of handicraft. Our pieces have a lot of sequins, beading, appliqués…I like to rediscover trends from the past and bring it forward and I hope that the button will help people to identify with that idea. It also became a brand signature.”

His Spring collection brought that idea of everything old is new again to the forefront. Titled “Rockabilly Debutante,” his collection includes handkerchief patterns, Gingham checks and items reminiscent of the fifties. His style lately has shown an interesting duality—a good girl versus bad girl imagery. His bad girl includes chain link and studs on one-piece numbers.

His summer collection will be an extension of this two-fold approach but will bring a bit of Palm Beach into the mix. “I take the nail head solids and soften them into a cream color to lighten it up but I also have a white with electric blue piece, which is very Mykonos/ Greek and in the last group, a black and paisley. It is very sexy,” explained Carter.

As far as overall swimwear trends, he sees a slant toward the one-piece cut out. “A solid suit with cut outs and studs has been our most popular seller,” he added, “Also popular is our halter hipster [a halter top with shorts bottoms], triangle tie-sides [a regular halter with bikini that ties on the sides] and we have seen a call for more of a banded bottom on a halter top to give more control for women. We are working on that.”

The biggest color trend he sees is electric blue. “The color is showing up everywhere. I think on an award’s show recently two stars showed up in the same electric blue gown. You also see it a lot in sportswear. I think we will see it a lot more,” said Carter.

What’s next for this self-starter? Expansion. He plans to stretch his ideas into sportswear. “We will be putting our prints on silk jerseys and branch into sportswear. We also plan to go into handbags and beach bags,” he added. He is getting a hi-tech edge by further updating his already cool looking Web site and by adding a blog [an online journal] to show Red Carter fans his whereabouts.

To find out more about this designer and where you can find his trendy pieces, visit

Reprinted from CitySmart Magazine Feb/ Mar issue--- not even on the stands yet! Just for Lets Talk Fashion Fans! Plus, you have just seen bonus photographs. To see the article with more pics, visit www.citysmartmagazine on Wednesday, February 7th. Questions? Ask me.

1 comment:

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