By: Supermodel Sabina Karac
I had the distinct privilege of modeling for Luis Aponte late last year in Brickell. I have modeled for many designers before but his designs were like no other. You definitely get that boost of confidence wearing his pieces and feel like you can take on the world with the clothing easily being able to translate from a day to night look.
Luis Aponte is a locally made Miami brand created by myself, Luis Aponte and Melida Sanchez. The brand was launched in 2014 during Mercedes Benz NYFW with 6 looks of interchangeable pieces. Since then we’ve had expanded into swimwear, eveningwear and menswear in addition to our established line of womenswear. We enjoy incorporating the Miami Vibe and our Latin flavor into our designs making them seasonless and fun. We’ve been published by Avessa Magazine, Fort Lauderdale Fashion Week Magazine, Redeye Miami, Hot Spots Magazine and also our designs have been featured in Despierta America and El News Café.
Also we have also showcased at Mercedez Benz New York Fashion week 2014, Mercedes Benz El Paso fashion week 2014, Palm Beach Fashion Week 2014, Miami Art Basel 2014, Peroni Emerging Designers 2015, Kentucky KMAC Couture 2015, Miami Swim Week 2016, Art Deco Weekend 2017 and the Mercedes Benz El Paso fashion week 2017.
When & how did you start designing?
I think I’ve always had an eye for fashion but it wasn’t until I was in Pharmacy School that I decided to switch careers and start living my dream of becoming a fashion designer. Needless to say it is a decision I don’t regret and I found true joy and purpose in what I do.
When did you first realize you wanted to pursue a career as a designer?
Growing up I was talented, however so are many of my family members, therefore I never thought of my talent as something special. I pursued my undergraduate degree in biomedical sciences where I decided to follow the family business and I was accepted into graduate school to do my Pharmaceutical Doctorate. It was during my second year in Pharmacy School, after watching a whole season of “Project Runway,” that everything changed for me. I felt compelled to sew myself some clothing, and that’s when I felt I found my true calling. My path veered as I decided to change careers and follow my instinct to become the apprentice of Mara Garcia, a local designer back in Puerto Rico who welcomed me into her atelier and taught me about pattern making/construction. In 2012 I moved to Miami and finished my Bachelor’s Degree in Fashion Design.
Did you go to school for fashion design?
Yes, I went to Miami International University of Art & Design for my BFA in Fashion Design
What is your inspiration when designing?
I feel inspired by the women around me. I like to translate their confidence and beauty into every design.
Do you have a routine for your creative process, and what inspires you?
I always like to center my thoughts around an idea, like for example a movie or a place. Melida researches the trends and colors for the season to compliment my idea. The idea evolves into sketches, we proceed to mix and match the ideas until we have a cohesive story to tell. Every collection tells a story which is depicted by the prints, design elements, color scheme, fabric, to the final pictures and the feeling the collection evokes.
You have been recognized everywhere, which ones do you cherish the most?
We were awarded the Peroni Emerging Designers Fashion Series Award, being able to showcase my collection in New York Fashion Week. Having my designs sold by Macy’s. Also, I am part of the teaching faculty at Miami International University of Art & Design – which makes me happy to offer my perspective to young minds.
Advice to those just now starting their own fashion lines?
I would recommend new designers to have realistic goals and to not expect instant gratification. Take your time and really figure out whom your customer is. And to never let anyone else’s opinion misdirect you from what you truly want to do.
What future do you see for your brand ?
I would like to expand our menswear line and focus more on our online shop, www.luisaponteatelier.com
How has the pandemic affected your business?
We were challenged to reinvent our strategy and our way of sales, pushing towards the online market and rediscovering our customer.
Any awards/ achievements?
Peroni Emerging Designers Fashion Series Award, being able to showcase my collection in New York Fashion Week. Having my designs sold by Macy’s. Also I am part of the teaching faculty at Miami International University of Art & Design
Anything you wish you would have done differently?
I wish I would have met Melida earlier.
I see #slowfashion is a common tag on your Instagram captions, what is slow fashion and why is it important to you?
Slow fashion is the total opposite of fast fashion, which is what we do. We embrace sustainability by creating capsule collections that reduce our carbon footprint. Unlike fast fashion companies that focus on releasing as many pieces a year to sell. We focus on the quality and craftsmanship of each of our pieces.
Sabina Karac, is the global style editor for TheFutureOfPR.com. She is one of the world’s top hair and clothes stylists. Also a model. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Insta: @sabina.karac. Comment below with your queries about hair and style, to have Sabina answer them for you.
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