R O C K Y
Rocky Coulbourne is a Los Angeles based, New York City born clothing designer and founder of Coulbourne. What started as a women's bikini collection has now transformed into a lifestyle brand with a mission to portray the "perfect girl" and her passion for adventure and travel.
Rocky symbolizes this new era of young creators, who, with sometimes no formal training, are using social media to tell their story and connect with the consumers who want to be a part of it.
Tell us what you do, and how you got there.
Because I do so many different things I hate to give myself a label but if I had to narrow it down I would say that I'm an artist but more specifically, I am a creator. It’s what I was put on this earth to do and I this by abandoning a 9-to-5 life and chasing a more free existence.
Why women's bikinis?
I fell in love with the idea of a perfect girl and I wanted to design clothing to fit her lifestyle. Because I’m obsessed with beauty and aesthetics, the tropics seemed to be a perfect fit because there’s such an abundance of natural beauty there. I also wanted to bring my city ideas of minimalism to the tropics.
You’re on a mission to create a lifestyle around “the perfect girl” in an industry that seems to be doing the opposite - encouraging consumers to love their bodies and not compare themselves to models. How are you breaking free from this?
I just make pieces that I would like to see on my friends and don't pay too much attention to what the industry does. I'm creating from my own aesthetic and I would encourage consumers to do the same and to not compare themselves to models.
Do you think social media played a role in the success of your brand?
Social media played a huge role in the success of my brand. Before social media no one was paying attention to me, I was just this kid from New York City with a strange imagination. Social media got me onto certain peoples radars which helped kickstart my brand.
The term "influencer" is very broad, and often, overused. How do you define it?
I hate that term but I would define it as people who present aspirational or interesting lives and have a lot of followers. Whether the life they live is real or not is another topic.
Do you consider yourself an influencer?
Absolutely not but I'm sure my friends would say I'm starting to be.
Who's doing cool shit right now? Could be a brand, person, artist, etc?
Kanye West is the dopest person on the block in my opinion. I kinda have a personal stake in his success.
Where do you find inspiration?
The internet to be honest. It’s brought the universe to my fingertips and has allowed me to experience creativity in ways I couldn’t possibly have of dreamed of before. Traveling also helps to inspire me but more than anything it puts my imagination into perspective.
You're also in school studying mechanical engineering, an interesting pick for someone who is an established designer. How do you plan to apply this to your future career(s)?
Well I dropped out of school but the reason I went to school for mechanical engineering was to build my own Robotics company. I am obsessed with Robotics and Artificial Intelligence but unfortunately I’m terrible at math (which is pretty essential for both).
If you could work in any other industry, any other position, what would it be and why?
Virtual reality. Any industry that is in a frontier of discovery fascinates me and I think we are headed for something truly revolutionary with V.R.
If you could give a piece of advice to young creators who are following in your footsteps, what would it be?
My advice would be to trust your brain and know that you're not crazy, even if everyone around you thinks you are.
What's next for Coulbourne?
Lingerie and perfecting this lifestyle that I’ve created.