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Being A Successful Latinx Fashion Designer in the Fashion Industry

By Adriana Velasquez, IFA Paris

The Fashion field is trying to improve representation but falls short. Latinx remain seriously underrepresented in the media and creative industries. Furthermore, famous Latinx names such as Carolina Herrera, Narciso Rodriguez, Isabel Toledo, and more found prominence, but relatively few Latinx in the industry's highest positions of influence. When Latinxs traditionally fund this company, it's very depressing, mainly when Latino stockholders finance it.

Even though the Latino community has increased its share of representation in the workforce, we continue to experience many inequalities that range from wage disparity and inequality to stereotypes and under-representation in the fashion industry. We've seen progress in the Latinx community. More Latinxs are becoming leaders and more are succeeding. What was and "still is" it like working as a Latinx in the fashion industry? But today we invited the famous Venezuelan Fashion Designer, or better known as "L'Enfant Terrible de Caracas", Oscar Carvallo. Who will give us more inside and advice as a Latino Fashion Professional to overcome those dreams.

Source: Magazine Ocean Drive Venezuela

One of the most famous collections of Oscar Carvallo...


(The Hearts of Oscar Carvallo)

Alexandre Arrechea. Mil Amores. Watercolour on paper.

"This heart symbolizes freedom for Oscar Carvallo. So the garment bears as its

emblem a primordial element that we can all share. He shows the way to those who

believe in themselves and pursue a dream of freedom. His message is that of a man

who grieves for the dark times through which his country, Venezuela, is passing. “It’s

time to live for what we believe in, for what we dream about. It’s time for us to unite

with one voice. We are free to love, to think, to choose, to dress as we please, to enjoy

the beauty of life. We are free to dance.” And he adds: “Freedom is in our nature. Over

the years we have wasted away in a world flled with rules and we forget that we

are born with the ability to choose our way and make decisions that will mark our

destiny. Today is a day to be free... Let us use our heart as a banner”.

With Oscar Carvallo – Ho To Triumph as a Latino Fashion Designer in the Midst of Parisian Couture?

Oscar began to be featured in some of the most beautiful and stylish Venezuelan women, and his works were sought after in other countries of Latin America. There was no time to lose. He quickly started exporting to North America. For the rest of his working life, Oscar was known as "L'Enfant Terrible de Caracas." He obtained a Master's degree in the art of fashion from the celebrated Domus Academy in Milan.

Since 2003, Carvallo has been based in Paris, designing and expanding his artistic collections has taken place there. He has been showing his collection each season in Paris since his arrival.

In the year 2011, Carvallo opened his first atelier in Paris in the popular Rue du Faubourg Saint Honoré. He created exclusive "Haute Couture" collections for customers seeking exclusivity and trendy designs in French fashion.

Oscar Carvallo: The Interview

Q: What were some of the challenges in becoming a fashion show producer?

OC: I think that the better way in Paris is to find a professional team, a Fashion show producer, you can never do it alone. I made a team, and they were the same during many years producing my shows. We became like a family.

Q: What strategies helped — and still help — you achieve the high levels of success you've enjoyed?

OC: The only strategy is to work and keep on developing every project, every concept, every collection. It is the only way to go on. A new project after one is already finished. New inspiration is always so important.

Q: What is success?

OC: It depends on which way you look at it. Success in the press, success between the fashion crowd, success in sales! I think success has not been reached yet. Success is to have a peaceful life surrounded by the people you love; having a team that has been working with your project for 20 years can be considered success also. Success is happiness and balance in life.

Q: What is the ultimate goal of your empire?

OC: Keep on developing ideas, new collaborations with interesting artists. The biggest goal as a designer is always the same, presenting your collection in a wonderful catwalk and seeing your concept as a reality.

Q: What's the best or most fulfilling aspect of what you do?

OC: Research and investigation is the most interesting aspect of what I do: new techniques, new technology new developments, and new concepts.

Q: Do you consider yourself a Latino designer?

OC: "No, I am Venezuelan and Latin American, but it is not a label I have never used. Design is universal. "

Q: What makes Oscar Carvallo Paris designs unique?

OC: The style of Oscar Carvallo is inspired by Art and nature.

Q: Are you self-taught, or did you study fashion design? Please give us your experience as a Venezuelan Successful Fashion Designer studying your Master Degree in Milan, Italy.

OC: I study law, I worked as a self-taught and the I did the design and fashion master in Italy. DOMUS Academy.

Q: Why you decide on Paris and not another Fashion capital?

OC: Because Paris is the capital of Haute Couture and I am passionate about it. Milan is the capital of prêt -à -porter. America is the fashion market, Asia is the production, and South America is a strong coming fashion industry. Brazil is very strong, and Peru is vital in production.

Q: Does your approach differ when designing?

OC: Of course, designing has its natural steps. Inspiration, research, creation, prototypes, recreation, adaptation, fitting, idealism, and the final "reality."

Q: Who is the most of your clientele? Latinos? Or Parisians?

OC: Americans, Arab countries, Latin-Americans, and Europeans. Parisians are less into fashion; they only produce it.

Q: You also have an atelier in Miami. And went to Miami Fashion Week. What do you like more? Miami or Paris?

OC: Paris is the capital of fashion. Miami is the Latin And American market.

Q: Did you ever feel because of your culture, it would be a hard and rough path to succeed at any point in your life?

OC: "Not at all; the opposite, being Venezuelan is having the light and the color within yourself. "

Q: How is your work received internationally?

OC: Like any designer, you have to work to earn it.

Q: Have you ever experienced any discrimination in the fashion industry for being Venezuelan?

OC: No

Q: Are you proud of being Hispanic?


Q: What backgrounds or cultures is your competition from?

OC: All over the world.

Q: How do influences from Venezuela find their way into your work?

OC: "Nature has been a great inspiration from my country. Venezuelan women showed me what elegance was. "

Q: What is the biggest lesson that you have learned since you started your company?

OC: You can never stop. A new project is all we need .Make yourself always a project to develop!

Q: What advice would you give to new Latinx designers and professionals?

OC: "Nothing is easy, and everything is possible. Dream big, fly high, and never be afraid. The world is at your feet. Just keep on creating. "

Q: Where can we find your brand?

OC: Paris, Miami, Caracas, Lebanon, and on line.

Latinx are finding it difficult to break into the business and other industries with aggressive competition in the fashion industries. Fashion capitals are particularly well developed, but a lack of representation to : and preferences in the field with stereotypes, racism, and others is still seen. But your job and skills are more important than how you feel about them. As you move into the world of various trades, you can take with you your skill and ability afflicted by your culture and roots. As you normalize the different backgrounds in a world of art such as fashion, you can use less and less of your innate ability. As Oscar embraces his Latin roots and enthusiasm, it's only a matter of time before Latinx designers and entrepreneurs stop having stereotyped experiences given their race and culture and will continue our ranks and the global creative movement acceptance following.

Oscar's Inpired collection in his country Venezuela,...

MAR CARIBE. Automne-Hiver 2009, Paris

Jellyfish, crustaceans, sea animals, and pelicans helped create this inspired collection from his childhood nostalgia in Mar Caribe ("Caribbean Sea") in Venezuela.

As the scenery takes on the color of the Pacific, gold, coral, black rocks, and colors from the lush tropical areas and grass.

The models and textures were developed to closely mimic corals and shells. Feathers conjure up all of the different species of birds that live in these parts, including pelicans. It appears to be one of the world's best-endangered areas: over a thousand bird species can be found here. Venezuela has the longest coastline in the Caribbean and rich wildlife to provide varied culinary and nature experiences for those who want to try new things. In order to re-create the dress styles of aquatic organisms, laser-cut metalized leather was used to make fishy garments. He pleases us with his depictions of the sea... entices us with its fishing nets, chains, pearls, and seashells.

Hooded “Pélican” bolero in mikado silk,hand-pleated sleeves.

Empire dresses, pleated silk in shaded tones.

Bustier dress mounted in bands and mikado silk stole.

Adriana Velasquez

IFA Paris

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