Camillo Pardo, longtime car designer, breaks into the fashion industry, designing race suits and soon flight attendant’s uniforms.
An artist is someone who can envision beauty and see the potential greatness in a piece before it’s physically created, someone who can pair shapes and colors together to make the world a brighter place, and someone who will dare to be different and create something new and unique. This is what multifaceted artist Camilo Pardo does. Pardo was destined for a career in art and design from a young age, specifically, automotive art and design. He grew up in the late ’60s, early ’70s, in what he considers a great time for sports cars. “It was exciting being a kid and seeing these fantastic vehicles with great shapes and colors, like bright yellow, orange, green and blue,” Pardo says.
When it came time, Pardo chose to pursue his passion at the College for Creative Studies, a school well-recognized in the automotive design world. After completing his education, he began his career with Ford, and he worked with them for 24 years in various studios throughout the world, including in Italy and Germany. “The ultimate dream is to create a concept that then goes into production and you see it on the streets,” he says.
This dream came true for Pardo. He was the chief designer of the Ford GT racecar, beginning with the concept in 2002, and with the production vehicles in 2005 and 2006.
“It’s still very exciting. I enjoy driving the car and enjoy seeing people driving the vehicle at different events, shows and racetracks,” he says. “I drive it from Detroit to California or Detroit to Key West and all over the country. It’s a good car, very robust, built as tough as a Ford pickup truck.”
Additionally, Pardo served as chief designer for the SVT (Special Vehicle Team) and worked on the re-creation of the Thunderbird in the early 2000s. Currently, he’s working on a new sports car. “It’s a speedster, a car that I would love to have and drive today. Everyone should have a nice speedster to blow your hair back on a sunny day,” he says.
Today, he has studios in both Detroit and Los Angeles where he designs, creates large, brightly colored paintings, many of which are automotive-based, and also works on his fashion. His artistic style is self-described as different and fun. “I make it colorful and fun to take it out of the norm,” he says. “I add humor to it so it’s not too serious. It’s unpredictable, new and different.” So how did Pardo transition to fashion, in addition to automotive design and art? “Automotive design and fashion overlap very much,” he says. “In designing cars, we look at trends in fashion and furniture, too. If you have a fine arts background, it’s the same foundation. It’s proportion, harmony, rhythm, composition, color and shapes. You learn how these can be applied to items that are functional.”
His fashion endeavors include designing the race suits and dresses for the models at his annual Designer’s Night for the Detroit Auto Show, participating in multiple fashion shows throughout the year and taking on dress designs for clients out of his studios. Pardo’s newest project encompasses both transportation design and fashion. The transportation this time however, is a plane. “It’s with the Detroit Aircraft Corporation,” Pardo says. “With the last few designs, it looks like it’s really going to happen. It’s a beautiful environment, working on the designs overlooking the runway.” He’s also in charge of designing new outfits for flight attendants.
“It’s exciting stuff and amazing to get to make a career and life out of it,” he says. It’s safe to say Pardo loves what he does and wants to leave a lasting legacy in the art community. “I’m going to do something you won’t forget,” Pardo says. “I would like to be part of the evolution of design. I want my car on the shelf by the cars that inspired me like Ferraris and Lamborghinis, so someone can say, ‘Look! That one’s my favorite.’ I’d also love to have that impact in fine arts and fashion, to have pieces hanging at the Museum of Modern Art so it can put a smile on someone’s face 100 years from now.”