Fashion designer RC Caylan has a bold vision: he wants to turn Grand Rapids into a city known for fashion.
After participating in fashion shows in Rome, San Francisco and Detroit, Caylan is creating his first fashion show event in Grand Rapids, which he hopes will serve as a template for future fashion events.
On Friday, Sept. 15, he will present “An Enchanted Evening,” showing off designs from three of his collections. “The pieces will come from previous and new collections,” Caylan said.
Items from his “Ruby” collection and “The Night Shadow” collection will be on display alongside designs from his upcoming 2018 spring and summer collection.
Caylan creates custom designs, focusing on women’s dresses and wedding gowns.
He said the new collection is full of designs with an “enchanted” quality. “It’s going to be colorful, flowing, ethereal,” he said.
He took his inspiration from the Enchanted Kingdom and its princesses.
“Each look signifies the character of a princess in the Enchanted Kingdom,” he said. “So the princess of water might be wearing blue or something signifying the water. I’m very excited to showcase and show this to the city.”
Caylan got his start in fashion design while he was a young boy in the Philippines, where his mother and grandmother were seamstresses. Always surrounded by the tools of the trade, Caylan said it was a natural interest for him.
“The scissors, the chalk, the rulers,” Caylan remembers.
Caylan came to Grand Rapids nearly six years ago after having fallen in love, and he decided to pursue his passion for fashion design. He enrolled in Grand Rapids Community College’s fashion merchandising program, earning his associate degree. He then took an internship in Los Angeles.
He participated in his first fashion show in September 2015, showing off his “Ruby” collection during San Francisco Fashion Week.
“That was my first capsule collection. I didn’t have my studio yet, so I made it at my kitchen,” he said.
Tired of working at the kitchen table, Caylan opened RC Caylan Atelier in downtown Grand Rapids, at 80 Ottawa Ave. NE, in April 2016, and has been working out of the studio since.
Caylan said he has had a lot of success working from Grand Rapids. He thinks people will be surprised to learn that his work has been featured in several international magazines, including British Vogue.
While he’s continued to receive attention for his designs, Caylan said he wants to share the spotlight with Grand Rapids.
“I’ve been to many fashion weeks and I’m trying to bring that standard, this is the way we should do a fashion show,” he said, noting he is particularly inspired by New York and Paris fashion weeks.
“I promise ‘An Enchanted Evening’ is something we haven’t seen before,” he said. “I’d like to make history and get it started and do it every year.”
“An Enchanted Evening” takes place at JW Marriott on Friday from 7:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. There will be a VIP reception for VIP ticketholders starting at 6 p.m. Doors open for general admission ticketholders at 7 p.m.
The event will benefit The American Cancer Society and Making Strides Grand Rapids.