Layana Aguilar SS14 Collection

Layana Aguilar SS14 Collection


Interview By:  Regina Moretto

I recently had the great pleasure of speaking with designer Layana Aguilar (Project Runway Cycle 11) during a “Meet and Greet” hosted by Pasha’s Boutique in Clearlake.  Aguilar shared the “ups and downs” of the fashion industry and her exciting experience as a young designer on Bravo’s Project Runway during our one-on-one interview.


Me:  Layana, what was it like designing pieces on a reality show?  That has to be intense!


Layana:  It was very intense but a different type of intensity because the fashion world is even more intense.  I feel being on a reality show, the pressure of thinking, “Oh my God I want to win every single challenge,” and also the circumstances where we were just confined for 5 weeks; we couldn’t leave the space we couldn’t talk to our families… It’s very difficult as a designer to be in a place where you just can’t breathe!  It was hard to be creative.  But, I made the best of it.  Being on Project Runway doesn’t mean you’re going to succeed as a designer.   It (Project Runway) gives you exposure.  You can choose to use it the smart way.  You have to take care of that and do it yourself.  The show is a reality show, they care more about the entertainment, and they want the little fights, the cattiness here and there.  What I liked about Project Runway that is different than other reality shows; they don’t “force” you to say things, they push you to say something.


ME:  They create the environment?


Layana:  Yes they create the environment!  It’s not scripted or anything like that. The pressure, like I said, the real world pressure of making it as a designer in such a competitive world and the pressure of putting together the best collection to show at New York Fashion Week (especially New York Fashion Week), getting the right people to attend your show, getting the right people to know who you are, making sure you’re putting the best product out there, and making sure you are staying true to your aesthetic…there’s a lot that goes on.


ME:  That’s really cool and I love hearing from your perspective.  Sometimes when I meet designers they lose their individual aesthetic and their vision for their brand and start pulling (ideas) from everywhere.  I think it’s cool to be inspired but you have to stay true to who you are, it’s very important.  So, tell me about your early beginnings in the fashion industry and what made you want to become a designer?


Layana:  Well, I would say that I started designing without really knowing I was designing.  I grew up in a small town in Brazil where you didn’t really hear about having a career as a fashion designer.  I always loved cutting my clothing, changing pieces, and being different.  I liked having things that nobody else had, dressing my girls, and telling them what to wear, but it was only when I moved from Brazil to the United States 11 years ago close to New York that I realized, “Oh, I can make my hobby into a career and be happy doing something and getting paid for it.”


ME: Where in Brazil are you from?


Layana:  A small town in the south east.  It’s nice growing up in a small town, you know everybody and your family is close.  The show hasn’t aired in Brazil yet but thanks to the power of technology and internet a lot of family and friends already watched it and called me.  They were so excited!


ME:  Do you let a little bit of your culture influence your designs and your aesthetic?

Layana:  Absolutely!  Yes, I love the fact that I was able to experience two different cultures.  I feel that really enhanced the way I design.  Growing up in Brazil we really embrace the sensuality and femininity in the curves of the women.  Here (U.S.), brings more of the edgy and the classic style.  So, just the combination of those elements creates my brand.

ME:  Ok, so in a nutshell your aesthetic and your collection we can expect feminine classic with an edge and I’m looking forward to seeing more.

Layana:  Yes, that’s how I design.  I always say that women, we know our style, we have our taste; that baseline we know what looks good and doesn’t look good on us and from there you develop.  To me, I don’t have just one style and design, just one type of dress because women are moody! Sometimes, I wake up and I feel sexier.  The next day I may want to wear something that is extremely comfortable and another day I may feel edgier and put something on like that, so I dress for the mood.

ME: That’s exactly how I am!

Layana:  Another thing I always say, “Trends are great to follow it gives you an idea or base to start with.  Don’t just be a trend follower, be a trendsetter.”

ME:  So what are your next upcoming shows for your collection and where can we follow your work?

Layana:  You can follow me all over social media IG, twitter….After my debut at New York Fashion Week, I did Los Angeles Fashion Week.  I was invited to do a show in Miami and I’m doing Red Cross Ball where I was invited as a guest.  I’m donating a gown and dressing the presenter. I travel a lot.   I have a lot of collaboration with Aruba.  I’m doing Aruba Fashion Week and I designed the uniforms for the hotel where I stay.  It’s really fun.  Now I’m designing the collection for the September Fashion Week in New York, and then Los Angeles Fashion Week in October and Miami in November.

Me:  Wow you are so booked!  For fall you’re involved in back-to-back shows!

Layana:  Yes it’s the type of business where you’re working all the time.

Me:  That’s good!  What do you love most about being a designer and where your career is going now?

Layana:  What I really love the most about being a designer is making women happy.  It started with understanding where we are and who we want to be.  I always say I’m inspired by women and the movement of the body so when I make gowns or clothes and I hear the girls say, “Oh my God this makes me look so beautiful,” or “Oh my God this makes my butt look amazing,” that makes me so happy because I care about the fabric and everything I use that goes into the making of a garment.