Connect with us


Interview with René Mantilla: Chapeaux, Capes and Kimonos



René Mantilla
Photography by Pablo Naranjo

It’s been a little over a year and some change since we’ve had the opportunity to sit down with René Mantilla. René was one of our earliest guests on the NYS Podcast. He had a lot going then and he hasn’t slowed up yet. As a matter of fact, René seems to be hitting hyper drive.

Greatest experience since the podcast aired in 2017

Hmmmm… The Greatest Experience is the podcast debut… Honestly, since the podcast has aired, everything after has been a blessing and great experience. From Fashion Week Presentations in NYC, Pop Up shop in Beverly Hills, Ca, Debuting in Vogue Mexico, Ocean Drive Venezuela, being part of Dominicana Moda in DR, establishing The Council of Fashion Designers of Ecuador last year, it all has been beyond a great experience.

Photography by Pablo Naranjo

What are your days like?

My days can be very random and long. Some days may start at 6pm and I’m not home until 5am (pending on client calls, events, networking). My brand has reached over to Moscow, Russia, so communication with clients are between 1-2am. Other days may be quiet, I usually have at least 1 day of stillness, to write a schedule for the week. But I am beyond grateful when I add commitments and get booked up. But I do try to take at least 1 day, usually Monday. Believe or not, Sundays are quite busy!

Photography by Amon Focus

What are you looking to accomplish in 2019?

I started my 2019 amazing, thus far, I did an amazing segment back in my hometown area (Delaware Valley, Philadelphia/Camden) on Fox 29 News, Philadelphia Good Day Show just last week, 1.15 then headed to Ecuador the next day to work on Collections for SS 19, Fall/Winter 19/20 and a very special project in the city of Mexico. I am concentrating on the Central American Market, specifically Mexico City. It is the fashion mecca of Central/South America.

Photography by Amon Focus

Any recent celebrity clients he can tell us about?

The celebrity clients have been great! I’ve made chapeaux for Russell Wilson, Cedric The Entertainer, another chapeau for Alicia Keys. I spent a lot of time outside of US last year, concentrating on Ecuador and Latino Artist. I would love to connect with J.Balvin, Maluma, Bad Bunny!

Chapeau Trends you see for 2019?

I created my own trends for this year, more round and higher crowns, oversized will remain a staple for my brand. We will be playing with leather more this year for brims. Color trends for 2019 are going to be super fab!

Photography by Amon Focus

What color are you crushing on?

Luscious Red, Deep Violets, Black for Fall/Winter! Super excited to share with you soon!

Photography by Pablo Naranjo

Most pivotal experience since we last talked.

Most pivotal experience is growing the brand into capes & kimonos. Expanding my brand from just not chapeaux but capas as we look to call them. I made a collection last year and sold out that month! They are custom made as well.

Photography by Andrew Morales

We heard about the 2018 Fashion Week feature, we want details.

For Fashion Week in NYC, I love to have it open to public. So the public can see the presentation/collection. My most memorable fashion experiences were at Bryant Park from 2005-2008 during fashion week. It was such a community! I love that vibe! This year we are teaming up with Ecuadorian brands to bring something special to NYC! 2nd week of February… Stay tuned!!


Stay Up to Date with René Mantilla


Official Website

Rubi Q hails from the imagination of her creator. She writes about art, New York City, and all things creative. Currently she is a contributing staff writer for New York Said.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Reflecting and Unpacking Memories with Helixx C. Armageddon



Helixx C. Armageddon
Photography by Bob Krasner



Helixx C. Armageddon is a Performance Artist, Lyricist, Experimental Music Producer, Mother, NYC resident, 1/5 of the Anomolies and a Philosopher.

Visit: The House of Helixx

Special thanks to Gene Frankel Theatre: Intimate, storied rental space for performances & rehearsals, established in 1949.

Show Notes

We would love to hear your thoughts on the episode. Leave a comment on the Apple Podcast App and don’t forget to rate the show.

Continue Reading


In Conversation with Pulitzer Prize-Winning Art Critic Jerry Saltz



Portrait of Jerry Saltz by Celeste Sloman.
Portrait of Jerry Saltz by Celeste Sloman



The long awaited book “How To Be An Artist” by Jerry Saltz is here. Based off of his early Vulture essay by the same name, he wrote the work as a note to his younger self.

In this week’s episode Jerry Saltz, Senior Art Critic for New York Magazine talks with Amon Focus about being radically vulnerable, the importance of deadlines, the Pulitzer Prize and how to look at art. There are a few surprises in this interview but we don’t want to give it all away in the intro.

Just a heads up, during this conversation you may hear a little bit of phone static from time to time, it’s only for a few seconds, it’s nothing crazy, I just wanted to give you a heads up so you’re not wondering what the heck is that sound.

Listen & Enjoy!


Keep up to Date with Jerry Saltz

@JerrySaltz – Twitter

@JerrySaltz – Instagram

How to Be An Artist by Jerry Saltz

Want to Buy “How to Be An Artist” by Jerry Saltz?


New York 's art critic Jerry Saltz and his forthcoming book, How To Be An Artist (Riverhead Books, 2020).

New York ‘s art critic Jerry Saltz and his forthcoming book, How To Be An Artist (Riverhead Books, 2020).


“How to be an Artist” is a note to my younger self.


Show Notes


Importance of Deadlines

  1. I know they are bad
  2. Make a deadline
  3. Never break a deadline


Biggest Lessons thus Far:

  1. Be nice
  2. Energy-Bring it!
  3. Make an enemy of envy
  4. Don’t let rejection define you
  5. You have to listen to get the final lesson…(We can’t tell you everything)


New York Magazine art critic Jerry Saltz as Salvador Dalí, based on a photograph by Philippe Halsman. Photo-Illustration: Joe Darrow for New York Magazine.

New York Magazine art critic Jerry Saltz as Salvador Dalí, based on a photograph by Philippe Halsman. Photo-Illustration: Joe Darrow for New York Magazine.


Jerry Saltz Quotables


“…fear is the admission price to the house of creativity, to the house of art.”

“I have no choice but to get on with it.”

“Things only happen when you work.”

“Roberta is the greatest art critic alive.”

“I throw out about 99% of what I do”

“I’ve got to get back to the art world, I’m in agony.”

“I had to go through hell in the trucks to come out somehow perfect, pure, and ready for the stars.”

“I want people to know the me I think I am”

“We are mildly insane.”

“Art – the greatest abstract operating system(s) ever devised by our species.”

“Not all communication is accessible to all people”

“All art is subjective”

“No right way, no wrong way to look at art.”

“Don’t be intimidated by art”

“Deadlines come from Hell via Heaven.”

“You can learn enough from bad art as good.”

We would love to hear your thoughts on the episode. Leave a comment on the Apple Podcast App and don’t forget to rate the show.

Continue Reading


Celebrating the Legacy of Ralph McDaniels and Video Music Box



Uncle VJ Ralph McDaniels

In this episode we Celebrate the Legacy of Ralph McDaniels and Video Music Box. With over 35 years in the industry, Ralph sits down and shares his story with us.

Show Notes

  1. South Jamaica, Queens
  2. A South Side Kid
  3. Queens Jazz Musicians 
  4. Crack Era
  5. Chemical Warfare 
  6. War on Drugs
  7. Stop and Frisk
  8. Queens Central Library 
  9. A Cipher in Queens
  10. Sherwin Banfield
  11. Club Encore Mix
  12. Eddie Murphy 
  13. Disco Records
  14. Soul Music 
  15. Blue Ice Night Club
  16. Video Music Box
  17. Baisley Park
  18. 1990 Redman and Biz Markie Springfield Freestyle 
  19. Stretch and Bobbito
  20. Grandmast Vic
  21. Doggtime
  22. DJ Dirty Harry
  23. Lionel ‘Vid Kid’ Martin
  24. Mister Cheeks
  25. Mobb Deep
  26. WuTang – Ice cream 
  27. Shirt King Phade
  28. Jay Z
  29. Kool Red Alert 
  30. Dapper Dan
  31. LL Cool J
  32. Colosseum Mall
  33. FUBU
  34. Daymond John
  35. Karl Kani
  36. Cross Colours
  37. April Walker
  38. Diddy
  39. Hype Williams 
  40. Irv Gotti 
  41. Queens Village
  42. Mic Geronimo – Shit’s Real (It’s Real)
  43. Cash Money Click 
  44. Ja Rule 
  45. Self Destruction 
  46. KRS One Stop the Violence   
  47. Nassau Coliseum
  48. Nelson George
  49. D-Nice
  50. Overcoming Self Destruction – Docuementary
  51. MC Lyte
  52. Big Daddy Kane 
  53. Daddy-O
  54. Drake
  55. Chance the Rapper
  56. Uncle Murder
  57. Just-Ice 
  58. Wu-Tang Clan – C.R.E.A.M.
  59. Heavy D
  60. Salt-N-Pepa – Get Up Everybody
  61. Lil Wayne 
  62. “Don’t Get in the Way of you Getting the Interview”
  63. Ice-T
  64. Flip Da Script 
  65. Superstar Jay
  66. Funkmaster Flex
  67. Sway in the Morning
  68. Ebro Hot97
  69. DJ Clark Kent
  70. Chris Brown
  71. Cardi B
  72. ICP
  73. Vikki Tobak 
  74. Contact High
  75. Danny Hastings 
  76. It Ain’t Hard to Tell
  77. Nas EPK



  1. Q-Tip
  2. Belly
  3. Biggie
  4. Tribe Called Quest
  5. Leather Medallion 90s 
  6. Paid in Full
  7. Willie Burger
  8. Cappadonna 
  9. RZA
  10. Adobe After Effects
  11. Chyron 
  12. Grassvalley Wipe
  13. Tats Cru 106 and Park Ave
  14. Socrates Park 
  15. Fred “Bugsy” Buggs
  16. Imhotep Gary Byrd
  17. Hank Spann
  18. Disco fever
  19. Russel Simmons
  20. Davy DMX – One For The Treble (Originals B-Boy Dedication Video)
  21. Fat Boys
  22. Krush Groove
  23. Sheila E.
  24. Naughty by Nature 
  25. Juice (Film)
  26. Beat Street
  27. Breakin’ (Film) 
  28. 2Pac
  29. Ernest R. Dickerson
  30. Spike Lee
  31. Queen Latifah
  32. The Bomb Squad (Producers)
  33. Something for the Radio – Biz Markie
  34. Motown Philly
  35. Who Got the Props – Black Moon
  36. Tha Alkaholiks – Only When I’m Drunk 
  37. Loud Records 
  38. Gin and Juice 
  39. Yo MTV Raps
  40. Luke Ft. 2 Live Crew – I Wanna Rock
  41. New York Hot Track (Video Show)
  42. Who Is Gil Scott-Heron?
  43. Winter in America 
  44. S.O.B.’s
  45. Blue Note
  46. Crazy Sam

We would love to hear your thoughts on the episode. Leave a comment on the Apple Podcast App and don’t forget to rate the show.

Continue Reading