Archive for the ‘Derrick Roberts’ Category

Designers of Color: Derrick Roberts

January 8, 2010
Event designer extraordinaire Derrick Roberts has had a successful career of planning some of the most spectacular events we have ever seen. He is one of the most sought after event designers in the country and his portfolio is filled with events fit for royalty. And at the rate he’s going it won’t be long before he’s summoned to the White House!

The Chocolate Fashion Blog took some time to talk to Derrick briefly about his fabulous career!
Q. Derrick, your portfolio is exceptional! How did you begin your quest as a lighting and event designer?
A. My initial intention upon graduation from Howard University, in 1986, was to apply to law school and become a malpractice attorney like my mother had wanted. My minor in theatre, however, opened my unapologetic passion for the arts and design world. As my knowledge and interest started growing rapidly, I knew that I had to pursue my new founded gift of passion. After years of staging off Broadway productions, I acquired a fabulous job as a lighting designer for one of the most successful lighting company’s on the east coast. Eight years later, I became nationally recognized for my second to none, cutting edge ideas, and innovatively executed lighting/event design.
I always felt that there were more goals to reach and more personal growth to obtain. In 2002, I decided that the bad economy would force many well known companies to seek outside sources that could help them with thinking “beyond the box!” These well known companies realized they would NOT sustain their market shares without basic VALUE!”

Q. Have you received any special training?
A. Yes, following college graduation, I began acting and working with Off Broadway theatre companies. Traveling extensively throughout the early 90’s as the head equity stage manager for Theatre Works USA, Roberts toured around the country for 2 full seasons. He enjoyed traveling the country with the state-of-the-art equipment that some of these theatres and major universities had to offer. Theatre Works USA is the world’s largest equity children’s theatre company.
Barack Obama at the 99th Annual NAACP Convention in 2008.
Q. With your extensive list of clients (fashion or not), what event was your most enjoyable to work on?
A. My most enjoyable event was transforming the NJPAC into a movie theater for Queen Latifah’ Hairspray Movie Premiere.
Q. What was your least favorite event?
A. I am a true professional, so I am passionate about all of my events big or small.
Q. What do you enjoy most about working with fashion?
A. I love working with Fashion Designers because my creative technology gives the designer/creative person a wider choice of media to work in. Remember there is a difference between art and self-expression. Fashion/Art is not about the tools you use to create the art. It is about what you do with those tools. The type of digital /video technology I use can challenge, assist, and force an artist to look anew or to force them to higher heights and deeper depths.
Top: A Derrick Roberts wedding at the Puck Building. Bottom: Another extraordinary wedding. 


Q. Who are some of your favorite designers for fashion and home?
A. Hickey Freeman garments suits are truly crafted in the traditional American style with understated elegance, uncompromising quality and the finest fabrics. B Michael, he heightens his couture aesthetic by infusing emotions such as joy, adding a discernable feeling and festive mood … b. Michael is one of New York’s well kept secret and his b. michael couture line is worn by very high profile socialites and celebrities.

Q. Where do you like to shop?
A. Fashion is one of the simplest and most expressive ways to demonstrate your values, feelings and thoughts. To some it can be almost a religion, to others it serves as a form of art or identity. Be it business, social, gothic, Lolita or hippy style, clothes send a message about who you are or who you want to be.
The places in the world where I shop for fashion goes beyond social correctness to become (in some cases) an object of cult. Bangkok Thailand, Berlin Germany, Amsterdam The Netherlands, London Great Britain, and Tokyo Japan.
The Tribeca Casson table.
Q. When you create an event/lighting design, what is your ultimate goal?
A. I go for the emotional response; I want to invade the senses. The creative act…does not create something out of nothing; it uncovers, selects, reshuffles, combines, synthesizes already existing facts, ideas, faculties, and complemented with skill.

Q. Tell us a bit about your team? How to they help you?
A. I believe in Servant Leadership—That means managing with respect, honesty, love and spirituality—My leadership style nurtures the needs and goals of the day. The result is a happier, more productive and successful organization, and a more meaningful life for the company. I provide guidance during conflict and crisis and transformed our company with morale problems into a great place to work.
A client’s cool Bar Mitzvah table setting.
My team consists of young professionals who are creative and resourceful, who are committed to revolutionizing the special events industry. By combining traditional values with the newest concepts in event production, my team leads the market, providing quality results every time.
Q. You’ve been featured in several magazine including O Magazine, Brides New York and Martha Stewart. What has that exposure done for your career?
A. The Oprah Magazine, Brides, and Martha Stewart Magazines/internet exposure has surely increased my career options by enabling me to be viewed as a viable Brand reaching hundreds, thousands even, millions of potential customers. A Google search of Derrick Roberts Productions now allows me better placement for my company website. I would be a whole lot further in my career if I pushed harder.
I want to be known for helping others and making a difference in their life. I want to be able to LOVE everyone and not judge them or criticize them. I also want to make a difference in my youth as well by becoming a great leader who is leading them on the right path. The biggest thing that I want to be known for this year is…to be able to save someone’s (in poverty) life.
A fashion show for the great B. Michael.
Q. Many event designers expand into lifestyle branding. Can we expect to see any of that from Derrick Roberts?
A. My many years of working with Real Simple Magazine, Sears/K-Mart featuring Jaclyn Smith & LL Cool J’ lines has prepared megreatly for this exciting venture. (I think Derrick Roberts Home sounds nice!) Yes a men’s home collection as well as a partnership with Hickey Freeman (suits). Derrick Roberts Lifestyle Solutions®, LLC is a life management brand dedicated to “Managing the Business of Living.” A book perhaps? A book for sure! I am already testing out my mind and its contents on all of my Facebook friends (I thank all of my FB friends for being so kind and receptive to my writing/blogging).

Ambiance at the Porsche Design event in NYC.

Plus a book on wisdom: There are a lot of people searching for ‘human wisdom’. Whether it is through the educational system or human philosophy. Whatever it may be, it’s all foolishness in God’s eyes, as 1 Corinthians 3:18-20 says. That’s not to say we don’t bother with education, but just to recognize that Godly wisdom is more desirable. What should we be running after, and desiring above all else? Proverbs 8:10-11 speaks of wisdom being better than rubies or pearls, and there is nothing to be compared. You cannot learn Godly wisdom in a University and get a degree in it. It can only come to a heart in right relationship with God, and is seeking it. The Holy Spirit that dwells within us leads us into all truth. For the [Holy] Spirit searches diligently, exploring and examining everything, even sounding the profound and bottomless things of God [the divine counsels, and things hidden and beyond man’s scrutiny]. (V:10).

Q. Tell our readers something they don’t know about you?
A. That I was created to become more like Christ Jesus. I mean truly, life makes so much more sense when we realize that it’s not about our career, it’s not about our comfort, its all about character and becoming like Jesus. It helps us to use our life for the reason he gave it to us in the first place.
We thank you so much for blessing our readers with your presence and look forward to seeing more from you!
Want Derrick to glamorize your next event? Contact him: