It’s been an extraordinary couple of years for Richard Hallmarq, the 41-year-old Sacramento native who last year made his fashion debut on national television and is now gearing up for New York Fashion Week from his design studio inside the Sacramento Art Complex on K Street.
“Let’s just keep our fingers crossed. Hopefully my line will get picked up,” he says. “Let’s just hope to God I can get there.”
The production deadlines will be tight, but Hallmarq has already created inroads and there will surely be buyers awaiting his arrival.
He’s just returned home from New York where he was participating in a California designer showcase hosted by Patricia Field, the stylist for “Sex in the City.” Field has been selling Hallmarq’s outrageous line of eyewear and could soon be carrying a broader selection of his designs.
The Sacramento native first learned to sew in home economics at the former Charles Goethe Middle School in South Land Park. But it was at John F. Kennedy High School that he formed his eye for design. “My sewing instructor there was paramount,” he says of his teacher Julie Strong. “There were never boundaries. Whatever you wanted to make, it was your piece. That to me really set the stage for me to go big.”
After high school, Hallmarq set his sights on a career in dancing. “I thought I was going to end up in the music business,” he says. “But I got sidetracked by fashion. I seemed to always be helping to style people, and it just finally clicked one day. I thought I would move to L.A. or New York, but I realized I could still live here and design here and I like it because I can afford my studio and my life. When I have to travel for work, I travel.”
Hallmarq nabbed a fashion design degree in 2009, specializing in women’s ready-to-wear. And as he was breaking into the industry, designers nationwide were vying for a career boost on Lifetime’s hit reality show “Project Runway.” On his third audition, Hallmarq earned a spot as one of 16 contestants on Season 11, which aired earlier this year. He came in sixth place.
“Doing Project Runway from the beginning has been a journey of self-discovery,” he says. “I’ve been able to fine-tune my designing to see what I’m good at and what I’m not good at.”
And what he’s good at is making clothes for the everyday woman. As he prepared models for a fashion showcase at The Park Ultra Lounge in midtown, the audience gushed over his new fall collection ranging from casual comforts like sleeveless sweatshirts to nighttime duds like hooded dresses. He points to a model wearing glittery purple-and-matte black leggings. “This is for the flashy mother at William Land Park,” he says.
Hallmarq is currently working on his winter 2014 line, which includes jersey-knit harem pants, various styles of wrap dresses and hoodies. “It’s very fashion forward,” he says.
The collection is available locally at Madam Butterfly.
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