By Gretchen Pahia
Fashions and style are always changing, and keeping up with the trends can be difficult at best. However, for designer Ruby Farias, the ever-changing world of fashion is just one way she stays inspired to customize and create.
Farias makes custom one-of-a-kind painted clothing and accessories, designed with unique styles in mind. She is also very concerned about sustainability and repurposing in her designs. “There are several ways outside of not wasting fabric in which I work,” explained Farias. “I am a fanatic for fabrics, so when I see an outfit with great fabric, I am one who will take that found fabric and repurpose it into one of my new pieces when possible. I also use old jewelry to embellish some hats, headpieces and handbags.”
Farias is dedicated to making sure her creations are not only beautiful and distinctive, but also as Earth-friendly as possible. It isn’t just about creating something new, but taking the old and making it look fresh again. “My clients can bring me existing clothing and I will repurpose it into something new and exciting,” she said. The designer also creates her own fabric paint from an acrylic base combined with non-toxic organic vegetable glycerin. “As an artist, I was never one to waste my paint, so it won’t ever go down the drain, non-toxic or not…it has always been a no-no.” Farias uses any leftover paint to create texture on handbags, shoes and other items.
Farias uses all leftover materials for future creations. “Utilizing all fabric remnants is important,” Farias said. “In the world of fashion, there is so much fabric waste, and as I begin to create my own fabrics, I intend to use all pieces that are left behind after cutting patterns.”
Farias hasn’t always been an artist. The designer made a career shift several years ago after many professional setbacks. It was during a period of down time in 2001, when Farias was home with her then 2-year-old daughter. “One day, I decided to take my daughter to the art store to buy canvas and paints so I could teach her how to paint,” Farias recalled. “We loved painting together. She had her small easel and I had my mine. I didn’t realize there was an emptiness that needed to be filled after a long art hiatus, and I vowed to never put that brush down again.”
Farias eventually went back to work, but during the 2008 recession, she made a choice to follow her passion and has never looked back. For several years, she set up shop in a studio in downtown Phoenix and sold her acrylic art on canvas. Then in 2013, she decided to create an outfit for herself to wear in the studio. “I decided to splatter paint on a dress with abstract designs on it. I received so many compliments, and many women I knew wanted one. It was one of my mentors who nudged me to begin this new business,” she said.
Fashion design and a love for art has definitely impacted Farias, and has also taken a hold of her daughter Tara, who is now 18. Tara is a fashion creator herself, focusing on costumes and other designs. Tara, like her mother, is focused on sustainability and upcycling. “Outside of her regularly recycling at home, she is very conscious about [not] wasting fabric,” explained Farias. “She uses all of her remnants for a future costume or creative item.”
For Farias, it isn’t just about selling her fashions and designs; it is also vital that she give back to the local community. She has donated time, money and designs to several organizations, including Arizona Foundation for Women, Debbie Gaby Charities, Women of Scottsdale, Creative Women of Pinnacle Peak, The Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center and many more.
Gretchen Pahia has 15 years of experience in both media and public relations and is an award-winning television news producer in Phoenix, Las Vegas and Portland. Gretchen is a native to Arizona, born and raised in Phoenix, and a graduate of Northern Arizona University. She lives in the Phoenix metro area with her husband, their two children and their dog.