by Lorie Lewis Ham
During Pride, we are featuring some local members of the LGBTQ+ arts community. This week we chatted with transgender designer Erin Rana from Fresno who is also involved in local theatre.
KRL: In what ways have you been involved in local theatre?
Erin: The ways that I’m involved in local theater are:
Good Company Players–
Rogue Festival 2019
Light and sound board operator for Off Rogue Venue
KRL: When did you first become involved in theatre and how?
Erin: I became involved in theatre in my mid 20’s with an interest in costume design. To me costume design and fashion design ride the same wavelength. After the tour I got of GCP (Good Company Players) when I asked about volunteering, I was offered to be a spotlight operator for Crazy For You.
KRL: What are some of the shows you have worked on?
Erin: Crazy for You, South Pacific, Oliver!, The Hound of the Baskervilles, 9 to 5, Mamma Mia, Mamma Mia Revival, and Calamity Jane.
KRL: When and how did you first become involved in fashion?
Erin: It was in my junior/senior year of high school. I was doing some alterations with side seams in my shirts–both of my grandmothers were seamstresses and did a lot of sewing. They continue to inspire me. Then, I remember my friend asking me to make her a Halloween costume. I signed up for a fashion design class and began learning more about patterns and fabric selection. From there, it was time to start looking for colleges and I used what I learned in the fashion design class to apply and send a portfolio to The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM).
KRL: How long have you been a designer?
Erin: From the time that I graduated from FIDM, I have been working towards creating my clothing brand.
KRL: Did you take any training or teach yourself?
Erin: Once I submitted my portfolio to FIDM, I got through admissions and enrolled. I went there from 2007-2009 and received my AA in Fashion Design. Through networking in 2016, I was referred to a local manufacturer and custom dance designer. I worked under her, by the seam, to learn more about the machines, techniques, and things I can only learn by doing the craft.
KRL: I understand that you have your own clothing line-when did you start that?
Erin: I do, it is called Erinwear. Two years ago officially.
KRL: What kind of clothing do you design?
Erin: I design clothing that has its own flair. I also create one of a kind collections. I design clothing that is my version of comfortable. Cottons and non-constricting clothing is my aesthetic. I design with the solid and monochromatic colors. In addition, I do that using bleach and dyes. I design clothing that is edgy.
KRL: How can people purchase them?
Erin: Word of mouth – Message me on Facebook www.facebook.com/erinwearofficial – Instagram www.instagram.com/erinwearofficial – Erinwearofficial@gmail[dot]com. I also have my Etsy store at www.etsy.com/shop/ErinwearOfficial. I am working towards getting more on there.
KRL: Do you design for a specific audience?
Erin: I am inspired by every gender. For those who are involved in the arts. For those that express themselves through their clothing.
KRL: In an earlier conversation, you mentioned a Mini Pride collection-can you tell us about that?
Erin: Yeah, my Mini Pride Collection is a collection I make every Pride month. I incorporate the colors of the Pride flag. First year, I made a different style tee for each color of the rainbow. The second year, I did a one of a kind preview collection and a collection with the each of color of the rainbow. This year is Mini Pride Collection #3 and I am excited to share it this month.
KRL: Do you have other people who work with you or do you do it all on your own?
Erin: I do all of the designing, cutting, and manufacturing of my designs. I go to LA to source fabric. I couldn’t do what I do without my photographer, models, and friends and family who support me in the ways they do.
KRL: Have you had any obstacles to your work in fashion because you are transgender or faced any discrimination?
Erin: Because of the decade of transition, I have been delayed in being able to produce and support myself doing this right now. I feel I have experienced some discrimination because I do not have the standardized appearance of a fashion model.
KRL: What do you love most about fashion?
Erin: What I love most about fashion is that fashion pushes my comfort zone in a positive and creative and productive direction. I add my own flair to fashion with the collections I make. I have made some uncommon collections that have been made while doing a show, or a themed event. It gives me the feeling of happiness in making memories with fashion. Fashion is made through life experiences. Fashion is the colors, textures, and words around life that can be expressed in an outfit. That’s what I love most about fashion right now.
KRL: What has been the hardest?
Erin: Breaking into the industry
KRL: What are your goals with your designing?
Erin: My goals with designing is to make comfortability for all body types. Specifically for those that can’t find what they’re looking for online. I want to do more custom. Custom clothing can add more personality and comfortability to the consumer. Another goal I have with my designing is to make a positive awareness of gender fluidity in the fashions of life.
KRL: Would you like to share more with us about your coming out story (whether to family or friends) and any hardships or discrimination that you have faced being transgender?
Erin: I want to say that I have experienced more positive than negative. Over the course of my transition, I have found it is important to find self-love, be as authentic as possible, and keep a direction that is most comfortable and healthy for me. I am very grateful for the acceptance and love I have received.
KRL: Are there any successes you are particularly proud of? Personally or professionally.
Erin: I really enjoyed the Trashique 2018 fundraiser fashion show I was a part of. Doing both Mamma Mia’s was fun. My Spring/Summer 2019 fashion show in April 2019 and the W2W collection I did in November 2019.
KRL: Anything else you would like to share?
Erin: I am very grateful and want to thank everyone who is part of my journey with Erinwear.
Check out more theatre reviews & other local entertainment articles in our Arts & Entertainment section. Don’t miss the recent article we did about Theatre in the Valley during shelter-in-place. Also last week we interviewed local LGBTQ+ actor/director/choreographer Michael C. Flores.
If you love local theatre, be sure to check out Mysteryrat’s Maze Podcast, which features mysteries read by local actors–many of whom were mentioned in this article. You can find the podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Play, and also on Podbean. A new episode went up this week! Erin will be voicing a podcast episode in November.