One of Westborough’s own, Brian Pu Ruiz, has already dove full force into chasing his dreams. As a senior, it’s quite impressive that Brian knows exactly what he wants and how to accomplish it. Not many people have the courage to break out into the world of design. Even though I’m interested in a fashion public relations career, I don’t know much about the design world. But fortunately, I was able to interview Brian on his journey thus far.
When did you know you wanted to start designing? What inspired you?
I realized I wanted to design ever since I was a little kid, but life always got in the way. I returned to the idea two summers ago when I shadowed a cobbler in Westborough. At first, I wanted to learn how to make a shoe, but prior to that I had acquired some fabric that I didn’t know what to do with. As I looked around the cobbler’s, I wondered if I could do something more than just a shoe. That night, I stayed up sketching and came to the conclusion to make a handbag of elements that parallel the Longchamp bags. The next day, I presented my idea to the cobbler and he was willing to let me use the machines and leather supply. Looking back, the idea seemed almost spontaneous, even though I had always loved designing. I’d never found the courage to actually create an item that can be enjoyed by many.
What always inspires me is the relaxed and tranquil atmosphere of Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket. Whenever I go to Martha’s Vineyard, I see the stripes, signal flags that just scream preppy and the ocean’s care free, elegant feel.
How you get ideas for new designs?
I love going to the Cape to think about new ideas; that’s how I came up with my two bags in circulation. For the 2014 summer season, I was inspired to design a bag for tennis players. I had always noticed my sister’s love for tennis, but she didn’t have a bag that was functional and stylish at the same time. I wanted her to enjoy a great game in style. In conclusion, the atmosphere and my family are what often give me inspiration and ideas for new material.
Tell me about the process: Materials, Production, Advertising, etc.
The process for making the bags is long and tiring, but whenever I finish one, the feeling is priceless. The “Cape Cod Classic” is one of my easiest bags to make. The process for this bag is, first, cutting up the striped fabric and lining and then measuring the fabric to the correct dimensions. Next, I sew it all together. Then I would make holes for the grommets, which allow for the Turks head knot hands to go through. After the straps are made and woven through, the next task is to measure the damsons for the leather piece in the front and then sew it to the bag. Finally, once it’s all sewed together, I make a hole for the button and then sew it in, which concludes the “Classic Cape Cod”. It seems like a long process, but I can make two bags in one day, keeping in mind that I do everything alone. The “Nantucket” bag takes much more longer because I created my own pattern and have to cut up each individual flag. Sewing the minor details together, which are not actually so minor because they make the flag, takes one day and then sewing forty-eight individual flags together takes another day. After the pattern is done, I sew the lining and then cut the leather for the straps. Once the straps are cut, I sew them to the bag and that’s the final step. The material that I use for my bags is canvas fabric. For advertising, I ask my friends to model my bags, though for the first bag, I used my sister. When taking the picture for advertising, I choose the girls’ clothes, jewelry, shoes and how their hair and make-up is applied. I’ve also been blessed to find historic homes that scream me to as the perfect places to shoot. Because of my limited resources, I shoot with my own camera phone, and then add shadows and light to the photo on my computer. It’s a long process, but in the end, the hard work is worth seeing someone wear my bag, it just brings me such joy.
What are your plans and goals for the future?
My plans for the future are to continue with designing and selling my bags in college. My big dream for the future is to open up my own store, somewhere in Massachusetts, and advocate for girls’ rights to an education world-wide with the organization “Girls Rising.”
If someone wants to buy one of you bags, how can they do this?
Right now, I’ve been meaning to add my bags on Amazon, though there are some marketing kinks I need work out before putting them on Amazon for the world. Instead, I’ve just been telling people to Facebook message me if they want a bag and I’ll get you one. Though that’s not the best marketing strategy, this month I plan to put my bags for sale on Amazon. On Amazon the bags will be selling for $75, but through me it will be only $50, 10% of which will go to the organization “Girls Rising.”
How would you describe your personal style?
I would describe my personal style as preppy; sometimes I just want to dress like I’m at the beach at Oak’s Bluff, just relaxing and thinking about the future.
What are your must-have clothing items for your own wardrobe?
I would definitely say that tan loafers, blue cut blazers, oxford shirts, and fitted jeans are my must have items for my wardrobe. I also love my rugby hat, which I wear with everything and everywhere, as well as a Cape Cod bracelet.
Unique for people his age, Brian has really taken the initiative to chase his dream. I can’t wait to see where his hard work will take him.