|Born||New Jersey, U.S.|
|Education||The New School (Parsons division)|
|Awards||CFDA best designer, 2004, 2005|
You may grow very quickly the first two years and then watch the business decline, unless you really start selling product at any price range with various degrees of quality.
It's so great to see a woman dressed in jeans and a lace-up boot with an extraordinary jacket. It's a moment where you do want to mix high and low, and it's not so much about a head-to-toe designer look.
I think more and more that I get to challenge myself and kind of raise the standard for myself every season. Even the term 'fashion' is about change. It's about newness. And what that newness means is different every 10 years, every five years.
I went to Parsons, and I interned with Ronen when I was at Parsons. We started our own company since then.
The moment I moved to New York City to study fashion, I met and became friends with people not only involved in fashion but in all the arts. It's quite fluid with so many types of artists, designers, and musicians who know each other through collaborations or friends of friends.
I love the scent of jasmine, honeysuckle, and orange blossom. They remind me of gardens and visits to the ocean I would make as a boy.
Many of my clients have become close friends, and that informs the clothing I design for them. Julianna Margulies was introduced to me by her publicist many years ago, and we've been good friends ever since.
When you're young and have the opportunity, it's crucial to learn as much as possible about your profession from every possible angle.
I realize that I live in the same environment that I did when I was a kid, but with less junk and better art.
Because I'm so hands on here at work and always looking at fabrics you have to be mobile and as comfortable as possible.
I love boliche, roasted pig, and black beans and rice. When I need a quick fix, I head to Cafe Cortadito on Avenue B and 3rd here in New York City.
I got to train with some of the best and have critics like Oscar de la Renta and Calvin Klein. As a student under Calvin Klein, my project was to make a coat, and then years later, I was hired at Calvin, by Calvin, to design coats for him. It came full circle!
Once winter sets in I must have the sun and warmth. I need to be in the sun – I'm a true island baby.
My parents never understood why I didn't want to be a doctor or lawyer. They're Cuban immigrants who wanted to give their children the American dream, and, to them, that was more of what 'the dream' entailed.
I was always fascinated by graphic art and typography and architecture. And so I was constantly cutting things and making blocks and making buildings out of shoeboxes.
I owe my career to Latina women. I was surrounded by the amazing group: my mother, my aunts, my extended family. They didn't necessarily have access to high fashion, but they had great style and looked stunning naturally at every age.
I'm a great fan of Bloomingdale's, and I'm a very loyal alumni of Parsons. I think what they do, what they've done, is amazing. They've educated some of the best American designers.
I invited a group of students to my studio to expose them to both the creative and business sides of the fashion industry. It was fun because the group was so bright and full of curiosity. They asked really challenging questions about all aspects of the business and absorbed so much information so quickly.
Latin men love Latin women, it is part of the culture, we celebrate women in a very special way and I think that is present in my work. I do it by making them beautiful, sensual.
The thing about Parsons compared to the other schools is that it really teaches you how to be a designer, whereas some of the other schools teach you to sketch or teach you the technical skills. But the curriculum at Parsons when I was there was how do you put a collection together, as well as all the technical stuff. It's the best training.
I've met so many who have opened doors for me and remained in my life both personally and professionally. After a while, networking doesn't feel like 'networking.' It's both serendipitous and unpredictable, and something that just naturally becomes part of your work life and your personal life.
When I was about 13, I met the coolest, chicest young woman I had ever seen. She was a neighbor of mine who became a fashion designer and had a small design studio. She taught me so many things about style and fashion. I had always loved making things, so when she told me about her career in fashion, I knew I had found my path.
There's a spirit of Latina women in all of my work, in the love of the body and the strong sense of self.
When I graduated from Parsons School of Design, the dean at that time said I would never be a designer. Obviously I didn't listen.