Breaking into fashion design can be an arduous undertaking, especially for young artists. Considering all of the knowledge and creativity the job requires, it can be a daunting prospect to those new to the game. 17-year old Kameron Pitts of Oak Park, Illinois, though, is committed to defying the odds.
An aspiring menswear designer, Pitts is the quintessential example of marching to the beat of your own drum. While many fashionistas are still reflecting on the often elaborate outfits that graced the runways during the recent Paris Fashion Week, Pitts is creating clothes that provide a wearable bridge between form and function.
“My interest in fashion is very reserved, I don’t look at fashion trends or what people wear,” he says.
Pitts prefers to play it by ear. It starts with a raw thought or idea, which is eventually transformed into the final product. His approach is nonchalant in theory, but deliberate in vision.
“When I make something I never plan it out, I don’t really draw it out, it’s purely organic in thought and process,” he says.
In terms of inspiration and influences, Pitts pays no heed to conventional fashion culture, but instead turns to a myriad of other art forms to inform his own.
“My inspirations are found elsewhere, such as architecture and movies,” he says.
As for a real-life muse, though, Pitts specifically credits Japanese fashion designer and founder of the brand Undercover, Jun Takahashi, as one of his biggest influences. His personal connection with Takahashi is deeply rooted in their similar approach to designing: by themselves.
“I resonate with Jun personally because he as a designer works mostly alone. “I am always working in isolation, I’ve sacrificed so many social interactions to perfect my craft and I don’t regret any of it,” he says. “I would rather sew all night than go out on a Friday with people.”
This driven attitude, perhaps, is what helps him concentrate so deeply on his work. His indomitable spirit pushes him to work harder than ever; whatever it takes to hone his craft, he is willing to face head on.
“I believe it takes 10,000 hours of practice to master something,” he says.
Pitts’ practice-makes perfect attitude keeps him afloat, even in the wake of obstacles he is faced with. When asked how he keeps his vision at the front of his mind, he says self-discipline is the key to advancement.
“I made rules for myself that I follow and live by,” he says.
His resilience shines through in the midst of the creative struggle. When self-doubt interferes and he finds himself in a rut, he accepts his misfortunes and adopts a positive mindset, transforming his mistakes into valuable lessons to learn from.
“I really embrace failure and adversities and I feel that you cannot grow without them,” he says. “I view failure as a good thing because it gives you the fast ability to change.”
When he’s not learning from his mistakes, he’s bettering himself in other areas. Pitts details his constant, internal drive to harvest creativity within himself, even if that means venturing outside of his central field. The creative mind seeks stimulation, and Pitts cultivates his mind via thorough engagement in an array of artistic activities.
“If I’m not sewing I am painting, If I’m not painting I am writing, I am always trying to manifest my imagination,” he says. “I feel sick when I’m unproductive.”
So all of this begs the question: for someone so deeply immersed in their work, what must the final product look like? Extravagant and grand? Or surprisingly minimal? Pitts suggests the latter, noting that the utility of his clothes is of the utmost importance. The technical design principles he adheres to result in useful garments with simple benefits to the wearer.
“I like wearing clothes with purpose that will make my everyday life slightly better,” he says. “Waterproof pants. Stain proof fabrics. Easily accessible pockets. Things that will make my life easier in small ways. Less is more.”
Recently, Pitts had the opportunity to display his work at a showcase which he worked alongside a friend to organize. Overall, he says, the turnout was more than satisfactory.
“…it was very successful and I was happy with amount of people that came…the planning was very involved,” he says. “Had to take risks and invest all my money.”
A sampling of Pitts’ designs
As for right now? He is strengthening his brand and working on promoting his work. He is planning a second showcase set to launch next January, while juggling the completion of his portfolio for college. As he continues to expand upon his craft and explore more individualistic creative endeavors, Pitts poses one question to young creatives like himself: