by Alexandra Katz
While Raul Osorio wasn’t the first Minnesotan to make an appearance on Project Runway, he is the first Hondureño. Born in California and raised in Honduras before setting down roots in Minneapolis about ten years ago, he truly has international love.
Come this April, Osorio will be traveling to the second biggest city in Honduras, San Pedro Sula, to present his first collection after Project Runway. Debuting in the Heathrow Fashion Show along with designers from across Latin America, it’s a great opportunity for Osorio to expand his audience. As he tells us, the Honduran community has embraced him as one of their own after Project Runway success. He is also working for a good cause — the show proceeds go to support the non-profit organization, Hogar de Niños Emanuel, a home for children in Honduras helping those who are in need or have come from an abusive household. The cause couldn’t be better, the place more exotic and timing more perfect. We chatted with Osorio about the show, why he’s chosen not to show in Minnesota and his plans for the future.
l’étoile: In your recent interview in Honduran newspaper La Prensa Honduras, you said you “are very excited for all of your plans in 2013, but most of all to go to Honduras in April.” What makes you so excited to return to Honduras?
Osorio: Honduras is home. Having the chance to go home and see my mom and my sister. Being able to have my entire family come to the show is going to be awesome. Any show I have done in the past has been in Minneapolis and my mom has gone to one of them but the rest my family hasn’t, it would be amazing to see my whole family there and show them what I am all about. I have said this before, but I always want to support Honduras. They have really amazing designers but they don’t get the chance to show their work, I think that me being part of the show and after being exposed to Project Runway maybe other people will put an eye on Honduras fashion.
l’étoile: So what exactly is Honduran fashion?
Osorio: Fashion in Honduras is very conservative. Within the last few years the fashion industry has grown a lot but they are still very macho, they are not used to seeing what I do. Every time I go to Honduras and wear the clothes I usually wear, I get stared at. Like I said I think it is because they are so conservative. I am excited to show them my point of view and just educate them I guess.
l’étoile: Why did you choose Honduras instead of Minnesota to debut your first collection after your season of Project Runway?
Osorio: There is no specific reason. Basically the opportunity was presented to me to showcase my collection there. The producers of the show contacted me and I agreed to do it. I wasn’t ready to be able to present my collection by February during Minnesota Fashion Week. I want to go in a different direction. When the producers of the show told me there were going to be international designers coming from all over Latin America to Honduras to present their collections, I thought it would a good way to make a change. I have been doing a lot of local shows and they have done what they were supposed to do for me and helped me a lot they but now I need to spread myself a little bit and showcase my work somewhere else.
l’étoile: Do you feel more connected to one place more than the other?
Osorio: I must say that Honduras is home, I was born in California, but my family is in Honduras. Minneapolis is like a second home. It’s weird to say that I feel more connected to one or the other. Honduras and Minneapolis are both home to me. It would be very unfair to choose one or the other. My roots are based in Honduras, but my life is based in Minneapolis.
l’étoile: For this collection, we hear you’re going to do what you haven’t dared to before… sweatpants.
Osorio: I had this thing about sweatpants; I would never wear them before. A few months ago I started wearing this pair of drop-crotch sweatpants and I found how comfortable they were. I wanted to make pieces like that, pieces that are extremely comfortable yet fitted at the same time and I wanted to look fierce too. I wanted to look expensive not cheap at all.
l’étoile: The collection is a work in progress, but can you tell us a little more what you have planned?
Osorio: It will be mostly menswear with some pieces for women. Expect lots of color and lots of print. Looks will be structured and comfortable as well. I wouldn’t call it active wear so let’s just say some designs will be reminiscent of a more active style.
l’étoile: Can you describe the inspiration behind your collection?
Osorio: This is going to sound cliché but my own muse is myself when it comes to menswear. I like to design for myself. I need to picture myself wearing it; otherwise I don’t see the point. Seeing the transition of my personal style within the last year, it is a big influence on this collection. Who I want to become and how comfortable I want to be in my own skin and my clothes as well, how I present myself too. It’s a personal transition I guess. It’s basically about Raul Osorio and what happened to him in the past year.
l’étoile: Besides working on your latest collection, what have you been doing since Project Runway ended?
Osorio: Trying to survive, trying to put myself back together. After the show, I must say it was a little hard to go back to reality. When you were there, everything was given to you. A lot of us lost our jobs, got rid of our apartments and everything. Basically to me, coming back it was shocking, seeing all my stuff in storage, making sure I get an apartment, get a job, you put your financial life back together. After Project Runway it was all about putting my life together and focusing on my next collection. A huge realization after the show was that I wanted to focus on menswear. I like to do womenswear, but my passion is with menswear.
l’étoile: What can we expect in the future from Raul Osorio?
Osorio: I have multiple ideas about things that I want to do. I have been thinking about how I want to start an accessory line for men, but that is just a project for the future, I don’t really know where it will go. For a while I was thinking about moving to New York, but somehow I am still here in Minneapolis. I really don’t know what is next for Raul. I am not going to stop designing and I will continue to show my work. I don’t have any definite plans; I just want to see where things go.
Read Todd O’Dowd’s post-Project Runway interview with Raul Osorio
Read Beth Hammarlund’s pre-Project Runway piece on Raul Osorio
Read Beth Hammarlund’s review of Raul’s fall 2010 collection presentation, “Pale Rider”
Read Beth Hammarlund’s review of Raul’s spring 2011 presentation at Voltage 2011
Read Juleana Enright’s spring 2011 interview with Raul
Read Beth Hammarlund’s review of Raul’s spring 2010 presentation at Voltage 2011
Read Juleana Enright’s spring 2010 interview with Raul