Mark Bumgarner is setting up his brand to be your one-stop shop for all your fashion needs. From ball gowns to ready-to-wear clothes and shoes, the local designer also recently launched a line of fine jewelry and exotic-skin handbags that are fit for the tastemakers of the local fashion scene. Below, we got the chance to talk with the man of the hour and he shared with us the details about his latest business venture.
How would you describe your design aesthetic and philosophy?
"My aesthetic has always been about femininity and romance. I like to design clothes that are classic and elegant, [specifically] dresses that will last a while and not just heed to a fleeting trend."
Do you have a signature design or key element evident through your collections?
"A Mark Bumgarner collection is not complete without giant bows and big ball gowns."
Where do you usually draw inspiration from?
"I always look at archival pieces of the great designers, as well as classic movies—these are my sources of inspiration. Nowadays, it’s mostly inspiration from my past collections; it's a derivative of what I have previously made."
Can you walk us through your creative process as you design clothes?
"When I design a collection, I mostly start with a few sketches. It then goes to the sampling process. Sometimes, a small idea or a detail of a design becomes an inspiration which completes the collection. But my design process is always different everytime I make a collection. There is no specific process, it is constantly changing."
What makes a Mark Bumgarner muse?
"She is someone who knows what she wants, and does not always follow trends. She has her own style, and appreciates clothes that are well-made."
Who do you dream of wearing your designs?
"I have been lucky to have dressed up some of the most beautiful and graceful women that I adore. But there’s a few more that I dream of dressing up namely Deepika Padukone, Queen Rania of Jordan, Cate Blanchett, and Lady Gaga."
How has your brand evolved since you started?
"I think my brand has changed a lot through the years because I got to know more who my real clientele is. For designers to move forward and grow as a brand, knowing who your target consumer is key."
Have you ever felt uninspired? How do you overcome this?
"Every artist or creative person has a stumbling block. I try to give my self a break to recharge, be it just staying at home not doing anything, to maybe spending a weekend in the beach. Rest to me is as important as work."
Can you tell us the inspiration behind this specific collection?
"My ready-to-wear collection for Bumgarner Studios consists mostly of easy to wear pieces that you can take from work to evening affairs. You will also find semi-formal dresses at very good price points that are inspired by some of my signature looks. I also created shoes in exotic leather materials, and leather bags and jewelry."
Do you have a favorite piece from the collection?
"I like a lot of pieces from ths collection. From the bags, my favorite is the Harlow mini handbag in croc leather. I also like a lot of dresses from this collection that consist of my signature seasonal print."
You decided to branch out from clothes to accessories and shoes. What made you pursue this direction for the brand?
"I think it’s a natural progression as a designer to venture into other businesses other than just clothes. To me shoes, bags, and jewelry complement my clothes so I look at it as holistic approach to being a brand."
How long did you work on your Spring collection and first line of jewelry and accessories? How was the experience like?
"It’s been almost a year. The bags and accessories are imported so I had to travel many times out of the country while developing the products. I wanted to make everything perfect quality, and it is worth it."
We noticed that you used exotic skin for your shoes and bags. Why did you decide to use these materials? How about for your jewelry?
"I chose to use exotic leather in my shoes and bags because there [aren't] many brands that offer these kinds of materials at fairly affordable prices. Apart from its beauty, exotic leather is also challenging to work with but it was all worth it. For my jewelry, I used high grade natural gemstones set in 18 karat gold plated silver."
What else can we expect from your brand soon?
"Maybe adding another store this year? I don’t have any immediate plans as of yet, I just wanted to focus on Bumgarner Studios and my atelier."