Ross James: Korea-Bound and Busier Than Ever

At the end of June, Ross James and his wife Melissa will be moving to Seoul, South Korea to further pursue fashion photography and projects. FNS is excited to support these Seattle natives as they work abroad, and will be providing updates from this adventurous couple throughout the year of their stay. Also stay tuned to the FNS Blog for Ross James’s Korean street fashion photos!

FNS touched base with the busy photographer at his 619 art studio downtown. He revealed upcoming projects (watch for his DList editorial currently in progress!), introduced his dog Diesel, and spoke hopefully of the trip to Korea.

Photographer Ross James

FabonFrenchmen: Why Korea?
Ross James: I’ve always been intrigued with Asia and have wanted to go there since I was young. I have made a lot of friends from South Korea and developed some photography and fashion contacts in Seoul, so it seemed like a good place to start.

FF: What do you hope to learn & accomplish there?
RJ: Over the last couple of years, I’ve had people tell me that my photography style might do well in an Asian market and with the fashion scene that’s going on there. So I’m hoping to expand my portfolio and hopefully work with some fashion publications based out of Seoul. I’m hoping to learn about their fashion scene and, you know, see if there’s any room in it for me, I guess.
FF: How long are you planning to stay?
RJ: I’ll be there for at least a year for sure, and maybe another year…who knows?
FF: Why is it important for you to get a change of scenery?
RJ: I’ve always enjoyed traveling and I basically consider Seattle my home because I’m from the Northwest, but I don’t really feel like I have an actual home. I like traveling around and discovering new adventures. So I want to broaden my experiences to include more extensive travel.
FF: What do you think defines your style of photography?
RJ: I think most of my style comes from my taste in lighting. I am definitely drawn towards the shadows in lighting, specifically darker mood lighting with almost a film quality to it. I think my favorite part of photography is controlling the mood of the lighting. Also, my style has a lot to with how I almost always shoot on location. If I am stuck in the studio with a backdrop, I really have to try hard to keep interest in it. I really draw my inspiration from surroundings and background.

Who would you like to thank for your success?

I am very thankful for my wife, Melissa, who tries to understand me and encourages creativity.

Who are your influences?

When I first got into photography it was Robert Parke-Harisson. His work titled “Architect’s Brother” influenced me greatly. Now I have a list of influences too long to list!

What are you inspired by?

I am inspired a lot by my favorite music. It can take my mind to its own place where I can come up with new ideas. I also find inspiration in traveling and seeing new places.

When you think of Seattle Fashion, what comes to mind? How would you define Seattle’s fashion style?

From what I’ve seen of Seattle fashion, it seems it has always had an underlying vintage theme. To an extent, you could describe Seattle’s fashion as an “anti-fashion” fashion, which kind of makes sense… refusing to look to the future without first referencing the past.

What tips would you offer models to take a really good shot?

If you’re really thinking of the mood, if you get into it in your head, it’ll look more believable. It’s not just an external thing. People can see through that in the photos. If you’re able to get a good shot only when everyone is focused on you and giving you compliments, that is just the beginning of your journey towards being a professional model.  You need to be able to keep your focus and energy constant even though the shoot has ups and downs.

What is your dream photo assignment?

To shoot an editorial in space and on the moon.

Describe your brand in three words- and explain why/ how you embody these three words.

Shadows, Complex, Location inspired
I choose 3 words that describe my photography style, because to me that is my brand. First, when I photograph, lighting is very important to me. I tend to focus on the shadows. Second, I like concepts that are more complex. I like compositing images and sometimes I like busy scenery. Third, I like being in a unique location to photograph. It also keeps me inspired.

How do ethics play into your business? Do you have a general rule of thumb when dealing with clients and their possible opposing ideas to yours?
The client is your boss. When it comes to commercial jobs I try to measure the job before hand to make sure it is a good fit for me and that it’s an idea I can sign on to.

How much impact does networking have on your brand? In what ways do you network, and which receive the most feedback?
I can’t stress how important networking is. Every once in a while a good lead will come to me randomly on the internet, but mostly they come from the contacts you have made in person.

Where did you start out with your photography/film? As in, what were your beginning steps?

I lived on a small farm in central Washington and started taking pictures of the animals. At the time I was studying music at the university and decided to switch to photography. Quickly after that, shooting portraits and weddings became my beginning steps in my photography pursuit.

Why fashion? What does it mean to you and your work?

Fashion photography has an attitude. And when shooting fashion there is usually an energy between everyone who is working together and everyone wants to get the best results possible. There are other reasons why I shoot fashion but this one is all I really need to keep shooting fashion.

Have you ever started a shoot and felt stuck creatively? If so, what set you free from it and helped you to regain your flow?

You have to find something about the theme or about your subject that inspires you. Even if its small compared to what doesn’t inspire you, just find the inspiration and focus on that

Niveen Heaton Presents: Adicora Swimwear

I began designing at a very young age; from around 7thgrade I would sketch and design my own dresses. I studied fashion design in Venezuela. In 2004 I decided to pack my bags and create a new chapter of my life in the Emerald City!

Three months upon my arrival, I was given the opportunity to work for a women’s shoe company in Product Development and Design. In November of 2009, I decided it was time to do what I love most, designing swimwear. With passion and persistance, I started Adicora Swimwear.

1. When did you fall in love with fashion?

I’ve always loved fashion and fell in love with it when I was in my teenage years. Looking through magazines like Vogue, I admired how creative and innovative the designers were. At school I loved to draw dresses and I would have them made. I’ve always adored the world of fashion and always knew I would be a part of it.

2. Do you have any aspirations to expand your line to other lines or industries (i.e. men’s wear/women’s wear, perfume, home decor)?

In the near future I would like to expand Adicora Swimwear with resort wear. Coverups and summer dresses.

3. What was the first item you remembered designing?

My first designs were little dresses for my Barbies. From about age 8, I would cut little pieces from my old clothes and sew them together for my Barbie’s wardrobe. I made skirts, shirts and dresses.

4. If you weren’t a designer then what would you be?

Before moving to the United States, I hosted my own radio show in Venezuela. I really enjoyed it! If I hadn’t gone into design, I might have kept going down that path and pursued something in broadcasting such as a news reporting, radio or TV hosting.

5. Being creative is an everyday challenge for a designer; tell us what keeps your creative motor running?

I keep my creative juices flowing by doing a lot of research online. I try to seek new shapes, color trends, and fashion in general. When I travel, I like to spend my time at the beach. This really feeds my imagination and creativity for my next swimwear collection. I often find ideas in other types of clothing; for instance if I see an interesting detail on a handbag like a unique ornament application or  fabric, it might inspire something I can translate into a swimsuit. It helps me create something different and think outside the box.

6. Tell our viewers how do you want them to feel when they wear your brand?

Adicora is for every girl. In our 2011-2012 collection, you’ll see the high-end fashionista wearing the, “Starburst Swimsuit” with holographic. If you are in a sweet, romantic mood the, “Narcissa Swimsuit” is the perfect suit with a soft, floral print! Each design represents a different mood or personality. Every girl has a little bit of everything. It’s all about how you want to feel that day. This year’s line reflects that.

7. What advice would you give a prospective fashion student?

My advice is to really do your research. Study – not just in school, but after school – actually work for a company of the product you want to develop, because that’s the best education. The more you learn from other businesses and the more you are involved, the more successful you will be.

8. How do you see the brand developing over the next couple of years? What can we expect?

I really want to dedicate my time designing women’s swimwear for a couple more years. When my business expands more, that’s when I can branch off and do apparel for summer. The goal in the next couple of years is to expand the brand nationwide. There are so many stores and retailers out there to conquer. Focusing on one thing (swimwear) and doing it well is most important to me.

9. Quickly, what are the benefits for Seattleites of buying from local designers?

Seattleites will get one-of-a-kind pieces. Local designers in Seattle don’t do massive productions, so it’s perfect for those who seek quality, want to look unique and stand out from everyone else. Buying from Adicora means you won’t have the same swimsuit as someone who buys from Victoria Secret or any other popular brand! We don’t copy from anyone. Our prints are unique, and made only for us from Italy and Colombia. We develop a limited production for each style. We don’t mass produce and that’s what keeps Adicora Swimwear a luxury item.