Q&A with a fashion professor
Warrior Life sits down with part time fashion design and merchandising instructor Priscilla Ratcliff who teaches career in fashion, sketching portfolio, beginning sewing, and advanced clothing construction.
May 29, 2018
Warrior Life sat down with part time fashion design and merchandising instructor Priscilla Ratcliff. She teaches career in fashion, sketching portfolio, beginning sewing, and advanced clothing construction. She is chairperson for “Anointed To Succeed International” where they travel internationally every year. El Camino is one of the sponsors. She takes them to show different opportunities offered to fashion designers. She has been designing clothes since she was 5 years old. In the third grade her impressed father purchased two sewing machines for her. A regular straight stitch and an overlock machine. She got her bachelor of science in biology from Texas Southern University. This gave her the opportunity to create a product that was a emotion stability fluid that separates the oil from the mud. She received her second bachelors degree from Cal State Long Beach in Fashion design and merchandising. She then went to Cal State Dominguez where she received a master of art in education specializing in technology based education. She has worked with Monica, Calhoun, Isley Brother Marvin Isley, and Yolanda Adams just to name a few.
Assitant Editor (AE): What is your career outside of El Camino?
Priscy: “So, I’m a designer. I do evening, bridal, and prom wear. I’m a high fashion couture designer. All of that [and more] is incorporated in my business and it’s called Priscy’s House of Design, Inc.”
AE: When did you know you wanted to pursue a career in fashion?
Priscy: Oh early on! Five or six years old. I started with doll clothes. My uncle was married to a Japanese lady, even though she was a nurse, she taught me Japanese art and the creativeness. The interest was always there. I did a lot of piano recitals and made my costumes. I was very active in the church. I did church uniforms, choir uniforms, usher uniforms, and did all the prom dresses for my friends and people that were in our church.”
AE: How important is fashion week to you?
Priscy: “You have to go. It’s almost like a Christian with a church. You ain’t a Christian if you don’t go to church. You may be, but you don’t know the full extent of it.”
AE: What is the highlight/defining moment of your career?
Priscy: “Oh God, I’m a Gemini; there’s never one. It’s always two. When I did my tour to Japan to open my store, I toured 19 different cities to find the one store in Fukuoka, Japan. I met a lot of other people that were like me. It was so many different people trying to find their talent and find the right market to explode their talent. It was like I found my place.”
AE: How did you go about networking with these people?
Priscy: “So I attend all the casting parties from the OMNI Awards, for the NAACP Awards, the Vibe Awards, the Oscars, the Grammy’s. I attend all the award shows.”
AE: How would someone trying to get into fashion get invited to places like that?
Priscy: “To be invited NAACP Awards, you would be a member of the NAACP. They tell you what events that go on that you go to…being a seat filler. You sit in a seat of a celebrity you look like. You sit there until they show up. If they don’t show up you get to sit there all night. And then after for the after party you meet them. So I go and that’s how I meet them. They’ll come right up and talk to you. I give them my card, I wear something that I made.”
AE: What are your plans for the future?
Priscy: “Oh my gosh! Well I’m working on book number five. I’m taking my students to Japan in December. And I’m working on a new collection. Designing a new collection for fashion week but I’m doing Dubai Fashion Week.”
AE: Do you have any advice for the up and coming?
Priscy: “You need to shadow someone that you really admire that has been or going where you [want to go] before. And you have to learn how to help them. You can’t be in the way. You can’t be the one that’s getting coffee and tea. You can do that at Starbucks. If this is your talent, then you need to share your talent with that person.”
AE: What inspires/motivates you?
Priscy: “I would definitely have to say color. I would say the ocean. Driving down Sunset [Boulevard]. Driving up and down the hills. Just looking at window displays. Going on Rodeo Drive. Looking at Saks Fifth Avenue window. Flying to New York, and going to Bergdorf Goodman. And looking at their clothes for the weekend.”