Meet Red Carter of South Beach Swimwear
As flamboyant as any of his stunning bikini designs, South Beach swimwear designer Red Carter is determined to make every woman who dons one of his suits feel sexy and confident.
Red's a bit of a Renaissance man, who has taken his experiences in competitive swimming, high fashion, and entertainment, and channeled them into a very exciting line of swimwear fashions that express the true flavor of life in South Beach, Florida.
In fact, Red is as unique as any of his designs, so who wouldn't want to talk to a man who bills himself as the "Austin Powers of the bikini business"? We certainly did, and we hope you enjoy reading this interview as much as we enjoyed talking with Red.
On With the Interview...
Red, please share a bit of your background with us.
I was born in the OC, in Santa Ana California, and went to College in LA at Otis School of Art and Design. It was like going to school on project runway- intense, competitive and inspiring.
After I graduated, I worked for a host of Companies in LA, including Guess Jeans, Mossimo, Esprit and Oscar de la Renta. I always wanted to have my own collection, but I never knew what I wanted to do or say... and then a light came on.
How did you become interested in designing fashion swimwear?
At first I was very apprehensive about becoming a swimwear designer. I had been working as a sportswear designer for many years, and it took a great friend and mentor of mine, Laurie Allyn, to convince me to accept a job designing swimsuits.
I will never forget our first meeting after she hired me to design a collection. I had been working at Guess Jeans previously and at Guess you have to work very fast because the seasons change so quickly. So, Laurie came down into my office after I had been working there for a week. I had filled all the walls with new sketches and designs, and we spent the afternoon looking everything over. I think she was a little scared at how many ideas I had! We laugh about how much passion it takes to make it in this business, and I am just lucky that she believed in me. Now look at me.
Where do you draw your creative inspiration from?
I'm actually a pop culture junkie. My favorite Blog is Pink is the New Blog. I read it everyday to see what is happening and what people are wearing.
I also find inspiration on TRL. The top ten of music inspires me to be original and new. And then... thrift stores... they are a library of our history and I have learned that everything comes back again.
After I collect all of that information, I try to find a specific person, place, or thing to help me draw an influence and a mood and a story. A designer is really a storyteller with fabrics... I am just trying to let everyone have something to say when they wear one of my designs.
How do you define the South Beach look?
Well, the best thing about the South Beach look is that it is so diverse. We have people that travel here and live here from all over the world, so I find a mix of Latin culture, European culture and American culture all over the beach.
I try to draw from the hot sexy weather a sense of peace and passion, because South Beach is a feeling as well as a way to be. There is a sense of freedom here that is not found in many American beach towns, and I try to reflect that freedom in my designs.
What are some of your favorite styles and embellishments?
I love placement prints on a person's body, I just think that makes a body look so hot. Embroidery is always nice, as long as the pieces feel that they have some authenticity, that maybe that I have traveled somewhere to find the inspiration and turned it into a swimsuit that people ask you about. That's all I care about. My job is to make people feel that they are sexy from the inside out.
How important is finding the right fit? Any tips you'd care to share?
Each individual person has their own hips, bust, and bum. What I say is, try on as many suits as it takes to find the perfect one. But if the ones that you are finding are not fitting both top and bottoms, find a separates rack and go to town. Most people have a different fit on the top than they do on the bottom. You should also remember to take some risks, and try on something different. You never know how it's going to look until it's on your bod.
Now, we couldn't do this interview without asking about your acting career. How about sharing some of your credits with us?
LOL...that is so UNFAIR....
I was a teenager... It was a dark moment in my past... No-one will ever find the tapes... I have purchased them all and burnt them!
Seriously, I gave up acting to become a designer when I went to college. To get through school I worked as a waiter at a 50's dinner called Fender-Bender. I used to perform an act where I impersonated a chicken to get tips.
My most famous customer was Kevin Costner. His daughter was having a birthday party, and I was the entertainment. After that humiliating experience, I decided nothing could make me go back to acting again.
Anything looming on the horizon?
I am currently working on my Summer Collection. Don't be surprised if I start making some sportswear. I love the bikinis, but I believe that South Beach is a total lifestyle.
Thanks for talking with us today Red. Is there anything else you'd like to add?
Please buy my stuff...so I don't have to go back to impersonating a chicken!