Bold & Passionate
With 10 years experience in the fashion industry, Nova Gallegos specializes in swimwear and activewear design. For the past 5 years she has been designing Trina Turk swimwear. She also designed and launched Trina Turk activewear into the marketplace, while working at Manhattan Beachwear. Prior to that, Nova worked for Apparel Ventures where she designed swimwear for A.B.S. by Allen Schwartz and Rampage. Nova has also worked at Raj Swim designing Splenid, Ella Moss, Nautica, and Athena swimwear. She most recently has accepted a position at Trimera Brands.
What should everyone know about you?
NG: With 10 years experience in the fashion industry, I specialize in swimwear and activewear design. On a personal level, I love bold colors and patterns and am passionate about vintage clothing and prints.
How would you describe what you do?
NG: I’m involved in all aspects of the design process, from creating mood boards, choosing color stories, sketching silhouettes, manipulating and recoloringprints in Photoshop, working with domestic and overseas print and fabric vendors, fittings, and problem solving on a day-to-day basis.
Why did you choose to be a designer?
NG: To follow my dreams. I’m originally from New Mexico, which isn’t exactly a fashion mecca. I knew that if I wanted to pursue a career in fashion design, I’d need to move to either LA or NY. I chose sunny California!
What steps did you take to become a designer?
NG: I originally received a BS degree from New Mexico State University in Clothing, Textiles, and Fashion Merchandising, but it really ended up being more of a marketing/merchandising degree and I learned very little in regards to design. In order to quench my creative thirst, I took as many art classes as possible during that time; drawing, painting, photography, printmaking and sculpture. I worked in the costume shop at the local opera house and found a mentor who had worked in the fashion industry. She helped give me advice on what to do next- look for volunteer opportunities, internships and freelance work- get as much hands on experience in the fashion industry as possible. That’s also when I made the move to California and I ended up going back to school to get a second degree in Fashion Design and to take all the classes I had been dreaming of- draping, drafting, patternmaking, DESIGN!
Best/Most Challenging part of your job?
NG: Always pushing the envelope and creating designs that are new and innovative. I find that it helps to look for inspiration outside of the industry you’re working in… be creative and design items that are unique!
If you weren’t a designer what would you be?
NG: I would probably own a clothing store. One part vintage and another section for up-and-coming designers to sell their one-of-a-kind designs. I really love boutique shopping and finding something special and hand crafted.
What do you like about what you do?
NG: I love that I’m surrounded by print and color and that I get to go to work to be creative every day.
What’s a common misconception people have about what you do?
NG: That it’s easy. Like any job you’re passionate about, design is a job that never ends. Even if I’m not at work, my brain doesn’t shut off… it’s constantly looking for new ideas and inspiration, or solving a problem that came up during the day.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
NG: I want to keep on designing as long as it’s fun and I’m passionate about it. If that ever changes, I’ve always seen myself being a teacher. I would love to help other young fledgling designers to find their path and follow their dreams.
What sparked your interest in design?
NG: I was lucky that as a young girl my mom let me play with her sewing machine. In elementary school I cut up old curtains to make myself a skirt and tube top, amongst other things. In middle school and high school, Home Ec and Sewing classes were the highlight of my day. I joined the HS Fashion Design Club and we put on fashion shows to showcase our creations, and took a field trip to the Dallas Fashion Mart. My High School sewing teacher was really encouraging and assured me that my dreams of becoming a fashion designer could come to fruition (a concept that was occasionally scoffed at, in rural New Mexico).
How has your work evolved since you began your career?
NG: When I first started out in design, I wanted to work in the Action Sports Industry. I interned and did freelance work at some of the surf/skate companies in the OC, and then I found a permanent position at a swimwear company, and the rest was history. I fell in love with swimwear! (and the overflowing swimsuit bins in my closet can attest to that).
What are you fascinated by at the moment and how does it feed into your work?
NG: The concept of “fast fashion”… the idea that there can be dozens of trends that will pop up over the course of the year. It can be fun to design to hit the trends, but that’s also what everyone else is chasing, so the real challenge is to design something timeless. Something created with care, out of quality fabrics, that you can pull out of your closet in a few years and still love it. Trends come and go, but a great piece will stand the test of time.
What is the biggest lesson that you have learned since you started your career?
NG: To be flexible, and go with the flow. Change is good. Never stop learning.
What advice would you give to young designers?
NG: Absorb as much as you can, whether it’s at school, or at an internship, or even a trip to a museum, learn and take in as much as you can. Take notes, pictures, or a journal to write down your ideas. Follow your dreams – if you want it bad enough, and are willing to work hard enough for it, it will come.
What’s your motto?
NG: What’s a motto with you ?
Learn more about Nova Gallegos at StylePortfolios.com.
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