Q. Where does your love of fashion come from?
A. To be honest, I am not sure because no one around me ever taught me anything about fashion. Since I was 13 years old, I have self-taught myself everything and I am still learning. I design, sketch, sew and create every one of my pieces. I was born and raised in Washington heights and my mother was a social worker, so I was supposed to be a doctor. I truly believe I was just given a gift to make women feel ok with being different. I want every woman to wear my designs and feel alive and special, that is my goal. I would read stories about famous designers like Coco Chanel and Betsey Johnson all day long. I have always loved fashion because fashion, art and music have been my escape. I just have an obsession with creating beautiful things, and that’s how I express myself as an individual. I guess that’s why I hate when people restrict me creatively.
Q. Why is the name of your company Wierdo Ink?
A. I came up with the name when I was 17 years old. My many sketchbooks have pages and pages of notes about WeiRdo InK designs and the “WeiRdo girl”. People don’t know this but I was born with a cleft plate, thousands of children are born with this and I was one of the fortunate to have survived my many surgeries. As a child, growing up I got teased a lot and my only outlet was drawing and poetry. By the time I got to high school, I accepted that I was always going to be the odd ball. What was interesting is that by the time I matured into a woman, I realized that being different was beautiful. Traveling the world and meeting many different people helped me to embrace the things that were different about me. I truly love people who are different and stay true to themselves. Life for them is so much more harder because they have to deal with mental and sometimes physical abuse everyday just because they’re different. That sucks, like let people live. Weirdo ink designs is not for the everyday women, I design for the inner women who wants to live her fantasy. My models and my clients feel like supermodels when they wear my designs, they feel special.
Q. How did growing up in Washington Heights shape your sense of style?
A. Wow, good question. My sense of style is fearless, just like the streets at midnight. I am the designer I am today because of my beautiful Wash heights. Uptown raised me and I will never forget that. I will forever stay in love with Wash heights because this neighbor gave me inspiration when I needed it the most. I lived in LA for two years and it never felt like home, as much as I tried. At the end of the day, Washington Heights is my diamond in the rough.
Q. How did working for Betsey Johnson influence you?
A. Working that close to someone you idolized for so many years, was crazy to me. Like I studied this women for years, since I was 17 years old people would tell me I was the Latina Betsey Johnson. I remember the first I met her I was praying she would notice me. The first time she noticed me she said, “I like that girl, she’s so raw and real”. After that, I went from an intern who would run all over midtown doing errands to assisting Betsey Johnson at photo shoots and more. I was her go to girl and I loved it. She taught me so much about the industry, how demanding it is to be her and also how hard she has worked to get to where she is. Every morning I would sketch and write, “I want to be Betsey Johnson’s personal assistant.”
I saw so many things and went so many places I never been. I had to pinch myself when they wanted me to help dress her daughter Lulu Johnson at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. Betsey gave me the confidence to be me. I truly believe that in life God has everything set for me. Working with her was like seeing my future right in front of me. By April, I told myself I was ready to really take WeiRdo InK to the next level. I called up my Co-founder Leslie Figueroa and we never looked back.
Q. Any final thoughts?
A. Live your fantasy and please love yourself, others and the world around you! 😉
Twitter & Instagram: @Weirdo_Ink