Have you ever wondered, while watching your favorite celebrity perform, how in the world did they come up with such funky, sexy, and full of imagination outfits? Well, wonder no more, because you are about to meet the one who is responsible for making a star shine on any stage or on the red carpet. Please meet Joey Rolon of “Funky Sexy Couture” – the celebrity wardrobe stylist who has worked with such A-listers as Britney Spears, Pitbull, Lady Gaga, and many others.
Joey was born and raised in Long Island City, Queens in NYC. Since his early childhood Joey always had a creative side. At around the age of 6, when Joey’s imagination was at “its prime,” Joey started to express his unique, artistic interpretation of beauty, which later carried over into his career of today. Before becoming a professional fashion designer, Joey was also a successful recording artist. Now Joey Rolon lives and runs his designer studio called “Funky Sexy Couture” here in Miami.
As you can only imagine, being such a talented designer, Joey Rolon is always in demand and constantly working on a tight schedule, but despite all of that it was super awesome of him to let me borrow some time out of his busy schedule to ask him a few questions.
When did you move to Miami and why?
I moved to Miami after my tour as a recording artist in 2000 when I had the opportunity to first open my boutique in South Beach on Lincoln Road, and I knew that Miami Beach was a prime location for what I had to offer.
Were there people who have inspired you to become a designer, and how?
My own clients have inspired me to become a designer because I am able to recognize what they want, what they need, and what will make them shine.
When you first started in the fashion industry, what were your biggest challenges and obstacles?
I think the biggest obstacle I had to face was plagiarism, where a lot of major designers were taking ideas of mine and marketing them as their own. My boutique was like an art gallery, which allowed for free expression so overcoming how to build a larger clientele, I also needed to continue my ideas so I would be able to stay ahead of the trends.
Have there been moments in your career when you wanted to quit designing/creating?
I feel that creativity is a part of who I am and who I associate myself with within my own identity so, I think if I were to ever stop designing or creating, I would be also giving up on a piece of myself.
What sets you apart from other designers? What makes you unique?
As an artist I see a lot of other designers creating beautiful pieces for their collections but what I feel makes me stand out is I do not create for others and what the trends are and instead I create the things I love and would love to see for what my clients’ needs are based on. I stay true to my technique and style.
How would you describe your designs? Has your style changed over the years?
Almost all of the pieces I create are one-of-a-kind and, since I am always creating new pieces, my designs are unique in their own way. I consider my wardrobe designs to be more like wearable art than a fashion statement.
You have worked with A-list celebrities, such as Britney Spears, Pink, Mariah Carey, Lady Gaga, Pitbull, and the list goes on. Who was the easiest or most fun to work with? Have there been any celebrities who presented a challenge?
In my career I find a lot of the artists I work with to be easy to work with, although there are times that some do become overwhelmed and stressed because of deadlines, etc. It would be unprofessional to say one artist or another was not as appealing to work for, but the ones that do tend to be more strict to their guidelines and the need to oversee everything are the artists who are just beginning and are insecure in a way with their own ability and position within the industry. I can say, however, Britney Spears and Lil’ Kim were very pleasant and content with our teams working together and collaborating our ideas.
Who is your biggest critic? Are you always satisfied with your work?
I am my biggest critic; I have the need to see every detail and an obsession to have my designs done to perfection so I check and double check and triple check everything that I do.
Who in the fashion industry do you admire the most; who is your idol (if you have one)?
That one’s easy: Galliano. I was even privileged enough to have designed pieces for him, which he still wears today.
Would you say that the city of Miami is on its way to becoming the fashion capitol of the world, or does it still have a ways to go compared to the legendary/iconic fashion cities such as Milan, Paris, New York?
I still feel that, though Miami has a lot to offer, it’s still in its nascency of fashion. I just think the culture of Miami hasn’t adjusted to the fickle world of fashion quite yet.
Name a few of your favorite places to eat in Miami? What do you like about them?
Smith & Wollensky’s, Gigi’s is a favorite of mine. There’s a small place called Primetime which has a lot of good choices.
Can “regular” people afford your designs?
Yes, I make my designs for everyone to wear, not just my A-List clients.
After reading this article, where can our readers check out your clothing designs? Where can they buy them?
As of right now, we are offering appointment only in our showroom. We no longer have a boutique shop in which we sell our pieces. We have a showroom in our photography studio.
What are your plans for the future? Do you have any interesting projects that you would give us a hint about?
I would love to but, unfortunately, I am bound by my motto that “To be silent is to gold and to speak is to lead.”
Knowing back when you started what you know now, what would you do differently?
I think in all of our careers, especially those who have been doing their career for as long as I have, we learn and grow from our mistakes and decisions we make. I feel that in some way I am happy with the way I choose to direct my career path because, without my mistakes, I would not be able to know and understand what I do today.
If some young reader is considering going into clothing designing, what advice would you give him or her?
I would say, “Follow your heart and believe in who you are and to stay consistent.”