Designer Interview

By: FashWire
Nov 17, 2023 10:22 AM

When did you know you wanted to become a designer?

I think my love for fashion and design has always been there, ever since I was a very young girl. When I was six years old, I remember going to my local seamstress in the Dominican Republic to have my dresses customized while the other girls my age were taking tennis and ballet lessons.


What did the beginnings of MIGUELINA look like?

The very beginning goes back to my own honeymoon in 1996. I was scrambling to pack for Thailand and was having real problems finding effortless, pretty clothes that fit well and packed well. I decided to make my own clothes, and this was the beginning of Miguelina. Fast forward to my first full collection in 1998, and my design inspiration has become very organic and spontaneous.


What is your earliest design memory for your brand? 

While it was my own honeymoon that inspired me to design a travel wardrobe that I could wear from the beach to the bar — I think it wasn’t until every celebrity in Hollywood was wearing our dresses that it sank in that Miguelina was a beloved brand. Our Stephanie tops ignited the lingerie-as-daywear trend and were so popular, we couldn’t make enough.


“Miguelina is first and foremost about luxury — elevated designs crafted with impeccable quality and from the finest, most responsible materials.”


When was your first industry experience and how did it impact you?   

My first experience was working for Emmanuel Ungaro and I learned so much about fit from him.


What made you want to design women’s luxury apparel?

When I worked for the French couturier, Emmanuel Ungaro, I learned all about impeccable fit and high-quality garments. This inspired me to create a luxury brand featuring heirloom pieces that you can wear forever. I saw the need in the market then — and I still address it today.


Where do you find inspiration?

My number-one inspiration is the Miguelina Girl, of course! I love scrolling through my socials and seeing these gorgeous women wearing my clothes in far-flung exotic places. I also have a very large Miguelina archive and find endless inspiration there.


How does sustainability play a role in your brand? What sustainable measures has MIGUELINA taken to better the environment?

A deep respect for the planet and its people has long been woven into the fabric of the Miguelina brand. Miguelina practices sustainability from all angles. In addition to creating high-quality pieces that are meant to be worn for a lifetime (our ‘buy less wear more’ philosophy), Miguelina also works with non-profit women’s cooperatives around the world to support their work and weaving traditions.


What brand values are most important for MIGUELINA?

Miguelina is the original pioneer of chic, effortless destination wear, but we are also pioneers of sustainability. We strive to lead, not follow, the sustainable movement with our actions. We encourage people to buy less of higher-quality pieces and wear them for longer. We have always used farm-to-loom fabrics whenever possible and support fair labor practices, artisanal women’s communities, and weaving traditions from around the world.


“Be original, because originality always turns heads in this industry.”


What is the most important thing you would like your brand to be recognized for?

Miguelina is first and foremost about luxury — elevated designs crafted with impeccable quality and from the finest, most responsible materials. Custom-designed prints and laces are in our brand ethos, as are hand-stitched, intricate embroideries that are one of a kind. Miguelina offers craftsmanship that is more of an art form like you’re wearing a piece of art.


What was the toughest circumstance you overcame when just starting out your business? 

Being imitated by aggressive competitors. It still happens today, unfortunately, but now most people who want quality luxury craftsmanship they can feel good about wearing know that Miguelina is the place to get it.


What is one piece of advice you would give to a new designer?

Be original, because originality always turns heads in this industry.


What sets your brand apart from the rest?

Miguelina is recognized around the world for our custom lace work and pure effortless chic. Our heirloom-quality pieces are also meant to be worn and loved forever, unlike our competitors. If you want quality, artisan workmanship, and sustainability, this is how Miguelina stands out from the pack.


What has been your biggest accomplishment to date?  

Becoming a luxury brand that’s been worn, loved, and globally recognized for 25 consecutive years. In this industry, that’s an accomplishment.


What do you envision for the future of your brand?

We have some surprises in the works, but I can’t discuss them at this time. Keep checking our socials and website and you’ll find out.


What should customers expect to see next from MIGUELINA?

Miguelina is internationally renowned for our signature laces, embroidery, and effortless silhouettes, but we’re always open to new ideas, colors, and prints. Moving forward in these times, we’ll be continuing to focus on textile art forms and designs that encourage the Miguelina Girl to celebrate others and respect the environment. Our sustainable textiles and meticulous quality will also encourage her to roam the world more mindfully. Spring/Summer 2024 will be full of fresh surprises, but it will still be authentic to our Miguelina DNA.