IDRS 15 Files #2: Behind the Scenes with Designer Rana Ottaviani
From designing kids toys to working as a set designer on TV commercials, Rana Ottaviani's career spans many years and many channels. The Turkish-born designer used her experience in these varied mediums to create a debut womenswear collection that features modern, eclectic, and expertly crafted garments with European and Northwest influences—making her one to watch at this year's Independent Designer Runway Show on September 23.
What neighborhood is your studio in and how does that part of the city inspire you or help you design?
I have a home-based studio in Bellevue. I enjoy being so close to the city center and still having a peaceful place to work. Being in the house allows me to multitask and makes my days more efficient. Of course it requires more self-discipline to stay focused but that adds to the mental strength.
What is the first thing you remember designing? Maybe it's something you created before you even started calling yourself a designer, or maybe it's the thing that made you realize that you are a designer.
I cut out a circle on the back of my dress when I was four to make it more beautiful. I also made a miniature furniture set in our garden using leftover aqua tiles and cement when I was seven years old. By the time I was in 8th grade I knew that I wanted to be a designer. In my early 20s I worked as a set designer for TV commercials. That allowed me to test my design abilities including, costume design, interior design, and product design. I guess from that moment on I was a designer.
What do you do to get yourself in a creative or productive headspace when you're feeling stuck?
I leave everything and go out to get some fresh air. And instead of trying to induce creativity I do other things that need my attention like focusing on the business side of my work. But if I really want to disconnect then I take advantage of being in my house and do some improvised cooking. If the children are at home then I play “make believe” games with them.
What are some things you can't work without and why?
Inspiration, my pen, and paper. Once I have the basics then I welcome a good cappuccino and my laptop, which allows me to listen to music, do research, and help further develop my designs.
What is your favorite thing about your studio? What makes it your ideal working environment?
I like having access to my house whenever I need it and the ability to organically expand my workspace, indoors and outdoors, when I need to.
Where can we find your products, and where would you like us to be able to find your products—that is, if you could snap your fingers and have anyone start stocking and selling your stuff, what would that look like?
This is my debut collection and it will be available in limited edition on our website starting September 24th. I would love to see my designs in Seattle's Totokaelo and in high-end retailers around the country and in Europe.