I was in the 8th grade when I first saw Romeo and Juliet at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego. I can remember the feeling of euphoria as Romeo saw Juliet for the first time. Here is an excerpt from Romeo and Juliet Act I scene five. “Did my heart love till now? forswear it, sight! For I ne’er saw true beauty till this night.” This was William Shakespeare depiction of love at first sight. That’s the way I felt the first time I saw Territa Torres collection at FWSD 2015 and it was love at first sight. And as William Shakespeare also said “she is a snowy dove amongst crows” and he is right, Territa definitely stands out in the crowd and especially on the runway. You can’t help to be captivated by her style. She is an excellent fashion designer, whose modernist thought, practical design, and the pursuit of expensive simplicity makes her an important and influential figure in San Diego fashion and growing. Here is my interview with Territa.
Lion Sight: In a short summary, who is Territa Torres?
Territa Torres: I am a Native (proud member of the Mono Tribe) /Mexican American woman who served 9 years in the United States Navy and is now a proud Veteran. I learned to sew while in school at the Art Institute of California – San Diego. My mother tried to teach me to sew but was no match against video games and outside activities with friends.
Lion Sight: How long have you been a designer?
Territa Torres: I graduated AICASD 2013, which is when I referred to myself as a designer.
Lion Sight: What’s the best part of being a business owner/ designer?
Territa Torres: I am currently working on being a full fledge business owner, but the designer aspect has been quite grand. I love going to museums, they are a great place to be in order to wake the creative mind.
Lion Sight: Were you ready or expecting to win 1st place in this years FWSD?
Territa Torres: It was on my mind to try and obtain that prestigious spot but I was not expecting to win. I saw quite a few designers with some pretty interesting pieces.
Lion Sight: Without revealing your source (wink wink) how do you select the materials you used?
Territa Torres: Research. I do a lot of trend research then I take to LA and collect samples for fabrics, notions etc. Once I decide on the items I want, I go back and barter and haggle for prices. That’s a fun part of design as well.
Lion Sight:What skills are important for a career in fashion?
Territa Torres: Speaking, I have the skills to sew up a beautiful garment but if I cannot speak at Designer Meetings the garment will never be seen. I remember my first designer appointment with Fashion Week San Diego and I refused to let my nerves get the best of me. I also just recently had my first on television live interview with Fox 5 and I was a stuttering Shirley trying to say my elevator pitch but I refused to let it hinder me and kept at it.
Lion Sight:Are there any other fashion shows that you are going to be apart of?
Territa Torres: Yes quite a few. I would love to participate in Phoenix Fashion Week, Atlanta Fashion Week, Vancouver Fashion Week, Fashion Week Mexico, Shanghai Fashion Week, Madrid Fashion Week, New York Fashion Week, Small Boutique Fashion Week etc all before finally showcasing in Paris and Milan Fashion Weeks.
Lion Sight: What is your design philosophy?
Territa Torres: To make sure my designs are always moving the brand forward with the times.
Lion Sight: Every designer is different but how do you stay up to date with fashion?
Territa Torres: Same response as everyone in business. Research. I watch fashion news, fashion documentaries, read fashion blogs from aspiring and renowned bloggers. Talk shop with fellow designers, Makeup artist, hair stylist…Ease drop on people at the checkout counters for things they are unhappy with etc.
Lion Sight: Where do you find inspiration? What makes Territa want to sew?
Territa Torres: Museums mostly are my go to place. I try to envision a painting with my design aesthetic and I merge trends in my mind. When I finally have something I like, I sketch it. Once it is sketched I can move on to sewing it up.
Lion Sight:What other talents do you have that help you as a designer?
Territa Torres: In the Navy I was an Information Technician, I learned how to problem solve, if a pattern, sewing machine, computer application is not working I can trouble shoot until it is fully functional again.
Lion Sight: How would you relate past and present fashion trends?
Territa Torres: Pleats were seen in a few high end design houses and currently some designers used pleats in small innovated ways. We are currently on trend!
Lion Sight: Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
Territa Torres: I see Territa Torres as a successful brand. Sold in boutiques and a few chains.
Lion Sight: How would someone order your designs?
Territa Torres: They are available on line http://www.territatorresdesigns.com they are made to order. Once my team gets the order it will take 2 weeks for a turn around.
Photo credit: 656 Photography
Photo Credit: Lion Sight Photography