“Fashion to me is like a playground—a sandbox. You can do whatever you feel. There’s no rules.” Creative director, fashion designer, and owner of ‘Vague,’ Richmond Kingsford see’s no limit when it comes to creating.
The 20-year-old from Houston, Texas has made his mark in the underground fashion industry. From design execution to overall presentation, the creative doesn’t hold back when it comes to making his visions a reality.
Earlier this week, we discussed about his upcoming collection ‘Industrial’, inspirations and what fashion means to the Houston native. Check out the interview below.
swidlife: For starters, can you introduce yourself & what you do?
Richmond Kingsford: My name is Richmond Kingsford. I am a creative, and I make clothing for now, but that might change in the future.
swidlife: Being from Houston, is there any local inspiration? Or any inspiration in general?
Richmond Kingsford: There’s a lot of talent here, I have a lot of friends here that do the same thing that I do. Doing whatever they’re great in, and seeing them follow their passions and dreams inspires me, there’s even a lot of people I don’t know who are great at; whether it’s making clothes or photography, etc. Just being around that energy, you feed off of it and it inspires me.
swidlife: What gave you the idea to design & start ‘Vague’?
Richmond Kingsford: Really just watching people over the past 5 or 6 years like Ye, Jerry Lorenzo and Virgil do what they do, kind of made me curious to start or do something similar, or do it on a higher level. It had me wondering how can I execute a clothing brand, how can I be a “designer”. Asking myself all those questions made me jump into it.
swidlife: Were you always intrigued with clothing growing up as a kid?
Richmond Kingsford: Nah, I didn’t grow a passion for fashion till freshman year of high school. Which was in 2012, because I was really into Obey and the Hundreds, and all these other streetwear brands.
swidlife: Last time I checked in you were attending school at the University of Texas State. Are there any challenges when it comes to being a full-time student & running a business?
Richmond Kingsford: Yes, I’m still there, and I wanna say it’s not as challenging as it used to be because I got used to it. It can be hard to manage being a student and having a business, but really it’s all time management. Being focused on school and putting 100 (%) into that, and being focused on the business and putting 100 (%) into that as well. Everything works out if you manage your time wisely.
swidlife: What advice would you give to a student aspiring to become an entrepreneur while in school?
Richmond Kingsford: You gotta have a lot of gut, you have to be willing to take some L’s and keep going. As an entrepreneur, you’re going to hit obstacles, it’s not a smooth road and it’s definitely not easy. It’s very challenging. Be passionate about whatever you’re doing, whatever your business is, or whatever entrepreneur you are. Be very passionate about it. That’s the only way you’ll not only keep going, but be great at what you do.
swidlife: With the brand having a distinctive aesthetic, can you describe the purpose of ‘Vague’?
Richmond Kingsford: So practically, ‘Vague’ has no vision or stand for anything. I wanted to use the brand as an experiment, because when I started it I was in high school, and I didn’t know how to put concepts together or just thinking that deep into things. But every collection I put out has a meaning, a backstory to it. Essentially the brand is personal to me, and it’s the beginning of my journey into this whole creative world.
swidlife: Earlier this year, you released a visual short film titled “BOUND TOGETHER” for your s/s collection ‘Interconnected.’ What was the intention of capturing & presenting that specific collection through video?
Richmond Kingsford: That collection, me and my friend Braylon had collaborated on it and the thing with the video-that how it ties into the collection. We were focusing on showing a whole but multiple parts of that whole that makes it what it is. So in the video there was a guy and a girl, we were trying to focus on their relationship. In the video you can’t tell if they’re friends or boyfriend/girlfriend, you just see them interacting with each other. Regardless there’s a connection between them, whatever the viewers took from it, that’s up to them.
swidlife: Do you have a creative team you work with who helps your visions come to life?
Richmond Kingsford: I have no team… yet. I have friends who I consult with, they’re really good with what they do, and I always go to them for opinions on certain things that I’m working on. But an official team, nah I don’t have one yet.
swidlife: Can you explain, what goes through the creative process of working on a new collection or project?
Richmond Kingsford: I always start off with maybe a few graphics, however the design is, I’ll pick if I want this to be on a t-shirt, hoodie or some pants. When I reach that stage of the process, I’ll decide the silhouettes of the garments; like a boxy tee or whatever I feel like making. After that I go into production, but there are points within the process where I go back and refine things I’ve done. Because I design off of feeling, if something feels right it’s a go. If it doesn’t feel right I’ll just keep working on it. After I finish production of a collection, that’s when I shoot and get all the content, once all that’s done, that’s when I release it.
swidlife: Looking back at your previous collections, which was your personal favorite & why?
Richmond Kingsford: I wanna say interconnected was probably my favorite, to shoot that video we had to drive 12 hours to New Mexico White Sands to do it. That was pretty cool, because I never had a reason to go to White Sands until that collection.
swidlife: If you could work with any designer in the world, who would it be & why?
Richmond Kingsford: I wanna say Kanye West. I’ve been a fan of Kanye since I was like 7. Growing up, not only listening to his music, but watching what he’s been doing cultural wise. So I’d definitely like to work with him, and see how he works as a creative in general.
swidlife: Being a creative, I’m sure there’s times of doubt in ideas or when you question yourself. Is there anybody along the lines of a support group, who you go to in those times?
Richmond Kingsford: Nah I don’t, I don’t know if that’s a bad thing.
swidlife: Some may see fashion as just really expensive, overpriced clothes. What does fashion mean to Richmond Kingsford?
Richmond Kingsford: Fashion to me is like a playground, like a sandbox. You do whatever you feel, because there’s no rules really, no book you have to go by. Nah, you just come in and do whatever, and hopefully you’re great at it.
swidlife: You are releasing your f/w collection ‘Industrial’ this week (August 10th), how was this idea brought about & what inspired this installment?
Richmond Kingsford: So basically I pulled references from my childhood, watching my dad work in a warehouse for his business. The place felt really industrial, he had all these machines that did certain things for him and it looked like a legit factory. I wanted to bring that into the clothing, and also make it tangible. Aside from the clothing, there were objects and things that brought back those emotions and memories for me. That’s why I did the installation (presentation), I had clothes hang from the ceiling with chains, I had this prop that was wooden. Me and my dad spray painted it silver, he helped me build it but I designed it. That was me paying homage to the way he had his warehouse setup when I was a kid, because he had it sectioned with wood, he built these wooden walls to section everything. I thought that was pretty interesting. I had this old school tv spray painted silver, to represent the apartment I grew up in as a kid. It was pretty small, and having it silver is another reference from the whole factory feeling. I just wanted to fuse a living space, and what I saw my dad doing in his warehouse.
swidlife: How is this collection different from the rest?
Richmond Kingsford: The concept for sure, with this specific collection it’s really just the concept and the way I executed it. In terms of doing an event, because the installation was an event, I’ve never ever done an event before. Everything else is pretty much the same, hoodies, tees, shorts; just the same stuff I always make, but done in different ways. Also the way I produced the collection is way different, I’ve never done screen print. This was my first time, and it’s just a dope method of production when it comes to clothing, I figured that out with this collection. There’s so much quality in terms of that.
swidlife: With the brand & yourself growing as a creative, where do you see yourself in the next 5 years & will ‘Vague’ still exist?
Richmond Kingsford: I think in the next 5 years, I’ll probably see myself maybe… I don’t even know. Not in a bad way, but things are always changing. But I’d probably say in a studio working on the brand, if it still exists. Because I do want to start either a sister or branch off brand, or another brand itself. But ‘Vague’ will most likely exist and I see myself working in-home studio so I don’t have to wake up and drive.
swidlife: If budget was not an issue, would you present the brand differently?
Richmond Kingsford: Yes, yes, yes. If I was financially free on Bill Gates level, I would do so much. But also, I wouldn’t go crazy and sell a t-shirt for $1000. I’d still be doing it the way I’m doing it now, but just a lot will be different. A lot of minor things will be different, like the details and I guess the way I do an installation will be crazier. There’d be a ton of pieces, I’d most likely have the brand running year-round, because right now ‘Vague’ is seasonal, so whenever stuff is sold-out. It’s gone until the next season.
swidlife: Hypothetically speaking, if ‘Vague’ were to come to an end tonight. How would you want people to remember it?
Richmond Kingsford: Whatever they feel about it. Whatever they think about the brand, whatever they think about the work, the pieces. That’s their own opinion and thoughts about it, so whatever they feel about it is how I want them to.
swidlife: If someone could only take one thing from this interview, what would it be?
Richmond Kingsford: Don’t listen to the nay sayers, keep going. That’s it.
swidlife: Aside from your next collection, what’s next for Richmond? What’s next for Vague?
Richmond Kingsford: For me, a college degree. That’s a few years away but that’s the next BIG thing for me personally. But for ‘Vague’ I don’t even know, I haven’t even thought of it yet honestly. Maybe a shoe or something. Something crazy, something big.