Since I can remember, I always knew I wanted to be in the fashion industry. I loved going to Joann fabrics to sit on the stools for hours with my mom while picking out what we would make together. When the time would come to cut and sew, and mom wasn't looking I would change the pattern and redesign it to whatever crazy trend I was into at the time. Heck the night before Halloween mom and I would be up making my costume to wear ( we work well under pressure). I remember my grandma helping me make Barbie clothes and making me pillow cases.
These memories are where my love for fashion and the process of making and styling an outfit started. Because this is my first fashion post I think it's important to remember where my love for fashion all started, to remember how precious the memories are, and how blessed I am to have my mom and grandma to share their talents with me to help build my own taste.
My grandma came from an era of glamour, gorgeous silhouettes, class and elegance. The stories she would tell me of how she loved to dress up for her job in the billing department at Bloomingdales. Oh, and how she would style her looks with her favorite pearls, her nickname was Pearl, because she lived on Pearl court, but the way she embellished her looks with all shapes and sizes of pearls was so effortlessly classy.
My mom is such a jeans and T-shirt kinda gal, very simple and never really liked for her outfits to stand out. You could say she is all about how practical the outfit is, does it have pockets, check, can you wear it many times, check, is it well made, check, and is the price practical, check, and there you have it, her look "made sense". My mom is super understated for her talents, heck probably the most creative person in my life. I love how she makes something out of nothing. She would make my curtains in my room, when my middle school went to uniforms, she asked if they could be home made so we could make my wardrobe together. I always tell the story of how I made a renaissance costume in high school that I used for 3 different projects, sneaky gal I was, but the teachers loved it. Or how in middle school my English teacher didn't like me all that much, but when we had to do a project on the book All Quiet on the Western Front, I made the teacher a military jacket, (with my mom's help of course), after that the teacher loved me and wore the jacket practically every day for the rest of the school year.
I am so grateful they embraced the many opportunities in my childhood to incorporate design and style into my everyday life. Without them what would I have been? A Lawyer, I can argue well :P
While I was away for college, my mom helped me incorporate my business, at that time I didn't really understand how working for myself could be my career. At the time it was to help me while I was paying for so much fabric and producing photo shoots, little did I know it would be the start of a company I would grow for 8 Years already.
My line while in college was named Bambina By NV, a name I came up with in Italian class in high school. I made one of a kind resort and evening wear, and at the time did everything from sketch to finished product, which was a TON of work!
This image above was a pivotal point in my career, I did everything from sketch to finished product on this look and it made best dressed on the Red Carpet at the Latin Billboard awards. Now what you have to understand is at the time I was styling assisting and Styling for other major brands and doing EVERYTHING for my clothing line myself. With the recognition I received from this look I decided it was time to think BIGGER!
The Nina Verklas collection was something I always wanted but I wasn't sure how to start a collection that I can sell to the public, that I can see on the streets and help women with the gap of wear to work meets dinner date attire. So in Spring 2014, all while freelance styling, I launched the Nina Verklas collection. I wanted to focus on wardrobe staples that transition from day to evening, that are made in the United States, and highlight my point of view as a designer. Since I was styling while launching my line I outsourced production to a production manager in New York City, hired sales help along the way and worked really hard on establishing my brand.
Now when I say I styled throughout the time after graduation, I mean it's like having two full time jobs. What's hard for others to understand, (unless they are in it), is it's an incredibly challenging thing to balance being your own boss, when managing two different business models. Heck my styling career choose me, I didn't choose it, I only had one course in college about styling and it was nothing like what I do day to day! I guess it's nice to be able to step back and embrace the madness.
No matter what I've made of this company, I am so grateful for the help I have received along the way. From my friends modeling for me, shooting, doing hair and make up, fittings, advice on my logo, even the name of my line, friends who helped me style while I wasn't able to, people who passed along styling jobs so I could pay my bills, my production team, my husband who deals with late nights and 24/7 work, my parents, brother, colleagues, professors, mentors, just everyone, if I didn't have such a great support system I don't know if would work in fashion or if I could do this at all.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that this young 6 year old girl living inside of me, is so grateful for the opportunity to be doing what I love every day and that no matter the uphill battle I am lucky that I'm not alone. Heck this is my tribe, you reading this, you are in my tribe:) 8 Years ago my mom helped me incorporate this business that I've turned into a dream come true career, cheers to celebrating how far I've come and cheers to the possibilities in the future.
I look forward to sharing the process of building my business, my point of view as a stylist and designers, what trends and tips I can share and all thing fashion!