For his spring 2012 collection, shown this fall at Bryant Park, designer Anthony Ryan Auld sent vibrant monarch butterflies reworked as bow ties down the catwalk. The models donned blue arms, the color fading upward as a tribute to Hurricane Katrina’s remaining water lines. There were sunflower seeds turned into one-of-a-kind jewelry, and vintage watches set in resin. Auld’s style can be called most anything but conventional, and his whirlwind experience since graduating from Louisiana State University with a B.S. in apparel design just a year and a half ago follows suit.
Originally from Texas, Auld moved to Baton Rouge over ten years ago with his family and now calls the city home. The designer has always been creative, painting and drawing as a child. “I needed to work with my hands,” he remembers. “I would take apart old electronics and figure out how to put them back together when I was young.” After beginning his education in graphic design, Auld realized that though it was a creative field, he wasn’t cut out to sit in front of a computer all day, so he took a couple of years off from school to figure things out. While working in retail, he began to realize that he had a real knack for working with clothing and putting things together. “I had made a quilt with my grandmother, so I had sewn some. I figured I could do fashion design.” Auld settled on the acclaimed yet little-known school of design at LSU. “Who knew we had such a great program right here?” he mused.
Auld tested the curricular limits from day one. “A lot of my stuff was unconventional. The first dress I ever made, the professor who taught pattern-making did not agree,” he smiles. “You come up against that, though; she was very technical and I was more outside the box, so we sort of clashed, but came to a good middle ground.” Every piece he made for school was black and white, partly because the designer is color blind (yes, color blind), and partly because of his genius forethought.
“We present a huge collection at the end of our senior year. I used black and white throughout school because I wanted to be able to go back and use pieces I’d already made for that. In the beginning I made a lot of things that weren’t really wearable, for example, a dress made of boning. But I moved toward separates my senior year. I admire marc Jacobs a lot. He does a lot of separates. They look great on the model, and you can sell them.” Auld’s collections are now predominately separates.
What separates Auld himself from other fresh designers, besides his raw talent, is his undeniable drive. “I entered every competition I could,” he states—and he won most of them. “I got my hands into everything. I helped produce fashion shows and competitions for Hemline (LSU’s design club). I did production, setup, got sponsors, found models, and showed my collections.” Just a few of his accolades include winning “Crowd Favorite” at the rock n wear competition, “most likely to show at Bryant Park” (an accomplishment already checked off his list), first in sketching, and second in fabric swatching, among others.
The competition that launched Auld’s career was the Fashion group international Competition, held in Dallas during his senior year. With over 60 schools competing, a huge percentage of entries are weeded out. Auld submitted four garments, winning first place in the Career wear category. This entry won him Best in show for the whole competition, and the young designer was awarded a $20,000 scholarship to attend the Paris American Academy in Paris, France the summer after his graduation. “I worked with Vivienne Westwood, John-Paul Gaultier, and studied with Jean-Louis Pinabel, who does a lot of feather work for royalty. I worked on Elie Saab’s show. This really launched me into being more than just a ‘Baton Rouge’ designer.”
Immediately after returning home from Paris, Auld showed a collection for Fashion week new Orleans, inspired by the “whole idea of a Parisian bag lady.” He won a local competition sponsored by Vitamin water, helped with the Cinderella Project, and began preparations for a little show called Project runway, to which he’d submitted garments before leaving for Paris. “I headed to Dallas for the callback, then we started shooting in June.” The rest is history.
Because of his extraordinary talent and gracious true southern attitude, Auld quickly became a favorite of Project runway’s judges, competitors and fans. Diagnosed with cancer in 2008 while still in school, Auld credits his ability to handle the “panicked” experience of the show with such grace to his experience with the disease. “Once you’ve been diagnosed with cancer, nothing else will piss you off as badly. I learned to take the positive from the negative. So I did that on the show. I’d just channel the energy into what I was doing. It was crazy, but I’d do the show again in a heartbeat. It really confirmed who I wanted to be as a designer. I want to make pieces for the 75% of women who can’t afford a $3,000 coat. I want to design clothing that you can wear every day, and afford.”
Since returning home from the show, Auld has shifted his energies to developing his non-profit organization, the Rock One Movement, which strives to bring awareness to those affected by cancer, and offers a platform for people to tell their stories. His blog, rock One Voice (rockone1voice.tumblr.com), is a place where people can share their stories, anonymously if desired, about any hardships they are dealing with. “It’s not only about cancer now, but kids being bullied, people dealing with mental illness, whatever.” Auld is passionate about giving a voice to people suffering any affliction. “It’s a huge undertaking, but I’m being contacted by some bigger organizations and getting help.”
As far as fashion goes, we haven’t seen the last from this gifted designer. He, like many young designers, is figuring out where he wants to take his next step. “I really want to stay here [in Louisiana] and develop a line. But if that doesn’t happen, I’d love to move and work under an established designer for a while and really learn, then branch out on my own.” Here at Amelie G, we’ll wait in anticipation for his next move.
For more information on the Rock one Movement, follow rockone1voice.Tumblr.com, @rockonevoice and @rockonemovement on Twitter.
The history of the necktie is as rich and colorful as the patterns that adorn them. Designers, actors and royalty in the 1920s and 1930s left a distinctive stamp on the tie that gives the modern man the opportunity