Who Am I ?
An Introduction to DENISE GERTMENIAN
1: Who am I?
Rae designer, Denise Gertmenian, living in New York City. Armenian-American, entrepreneur, and native of Pasadena, California.
2: What do you do and what project are you currently working on?
I am a fashion designer and textile designer creating a story about vibrant and feminine clothes for women through handmade prints. Currently, I am working on silk tunics and scarves with the most exotic and colorful butterflies. They make you want to travel to the rain forest.
3: Where are you from and where are you going?
I am from a place where doing what you love is number one, a fearless place, and a place of passion. I am going to keep going.
4: Who is your biggest hero?
Patrick McMullan for featuring me in PMC Magazine! And because he recognized the true value of my Rae perforated faux leather dress. He made a beeline for me from across the room and wanted to know who made my dress. I couldn’t have been more thrilled.
5: What book is your bible?
A book by Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth, sums it up.
6: What are some things you love? And some things you hate?
I love a good convulsive laugh, the kind you can’t control. I love a soak in the sun and then the ocean, productivity, going to parties, knowing “why?” and contrast.
I hate insincerity, cheese wiz, and speed bumps.
7: What is your raison d’être?
I only speak three words of French: ‘ballet’, ‘buffet’, ‘and’.
8: What is your favorite color?
I love all colors. How could I discriminate against one by choosing another? Each and every one of them has it’s own special way.
9: Who is your favorite comic book superhero?
That’s easy: Wonder Woman. When I was little, I put on a leotard and my mother’s red lipstick and jumped off of everything I could stand on in the house. My mom came home from the market and wanted to know what the hell happened, because the place was a disaster. I very excitedly told her that Wonder Woman came to the house to give me flying lessons and brought a lot of wind with her. My sister, Elizabeth, backed me up. I have always wanted to fly and I admire all things that can.
Circling back to the butterfly print, the Fall 2011 clothes are inspired by the wings. A flutter of the sleeve, a skirt hem, a wide leg opening at the bottom of a pair of slacks. Strong lines that come to life with movement.
10: What is your favorite NYC hot spot?
Anywhere with interesting people, which changes from day to day. If I am ever in a place where people seem to preface all conversation with “So, where did you go to school?” or “So, what do you do?” I say I am a librarian or a cop, and I’m outta there! Probably just to go home and do work, or think about what is next.
11: What turns you on?
Kindness, generosity, good food, and alpha males.
12: What would the last question of this questionnaire be if you were the one asking?
Q: What’s next?
A: Next, I am designing a new Charity Scarf that will be sold at fundraising events. The Aim for Maternity fundraiser at the end of April will be the first event that Rae will contribute to with a percentage of our sales from scarves donated to women’s health.
I am also organizing my first not-for-profit event called “Designers Emerge” to help promote the most compelling new design talent in New York. We will be throwing a series of shopping events starting in May that will allow a select group of designers to sell their product with no upfront cost to participate. The parties will be a lot of fun. A great way to shop, explore, and get inspired. The space is fantastic!
Launch Party: May 6th @ 8-11pm
Saturday-Sunday, May 7-8th
Saturday-Sunday, May 14-15th
At 409 W 39th St
Go to: http://www.raecollections.com/pages/new-events
In 2008, when designer Denise Gertmenian began making jersey dresses and jumpsuits that she and her friends could wear to work and into the evening, Rae was born.
Rae was officially launched when Denise decided it was time to use her own penmanship as the gold cursive logo on the “Rae” tag. She created the brand’s first iconic “bird of paradise” print. This print, originating from a hand-drawn sketch, made colorful and unique prints produced in house the trademark of Rae.
Denise, who studied Anthropology and American Ethnic Studies at Wake Forest University, spent a great deal of her childhood in her backyard under a big beautiful pine tree playing dress-up while exploring the outdoors. This included cracking open rocks with hammers in search of gold and crystals, chasing colorful birds, and climbing onto the roof–all while wearing a costume gown, sequin hat, cape, high heels, or whatever was available to mix and match. The spirit of exploring and being inspired by nature’s textures, shapes, and colors, combined with her love of being a girl, is at the heart of Rae.
Rae is designed and manufactured exclusively in the New York Garment District. The brand embraces Denise’s Pasadena, California roots with it’s charming aesthetic, and builds upon the last seven years she has lived in New York by offering sophisticated and modern designs.
Denise was honored with the exclusive Critic’s Award in sportswear from FIT. Her designs were then displayed on WGSN.com under the “Generation Now” category, which featured award winning design students and their work. Denise also enjoys mentoring children in programs that focus on girl’s leadership and entrepreneurship for teens.
The designer continues to be inspired by everything in life that sparks her voracious curiosity, and finds her job most rewarding when friends and customers tell her that they feel better about themselves, more confident, and more alive, when they wear Rae.
Overseen by Jillian Mercado
Questions by PMc Magazine
Edited by Meaghan Coffey
Photography by Patrick McMullan for PatrickMcMullan.com
Design by Jillian Mercado
Contact Jillian Mercado if you’re interested in becoming a “Who Am I?”
Denise Gertmenian RAE Designer at FLATT MAGAZINE Presents: AM STUDIO During The Armory Show, Works by KIKA KARADI and Performance by ELEW, AM Studio NYC, 2011, Photography by Patrick McMullan for PatrickMcMullan.com