Beyond The Lens – Independent Massachusetts fashion designer Catarina Abreu just schooled me on her background and gave me the inside details on what motivated her to model and the next steps she plans on taking in the future. Abreu is a very talented designer that embraces art to the point she expresses it in her own unique way when she designs. After checking out some of her work, I definitely made an effort to get this interview done as soon as I could. I am also hoping to do more interviews with the designer in the future. I hope you enjoy reading it!
~*~*Beyond The Lens /w Catarina Abreu*~*~
Internet Hollywood: Good morning Catarina! Thank you for taking the time out of your day to answer some of my questions. I have been making it a top priority of mine to get awesome upcoming designers like yourself on my platform. It’s always good to learn about someone I never interviewed before. So before we begin, could you give us a little background story on what made you want to become a fashion designer?
Catarina: My name is Catarina Abreu, founder of LLeya P. I am a self-taught designer who has been building my brand since 2014. I am originally from Cape Verde, but in 2005 at age 15 I relocated to Boston. I’ve been creating clothing since a little girl; what sparked me to become a designer was me gaining weight after giving birth to my daughter and it being difficult finding clothing that fit me well. One day as I was shopping I noticed they did not have my ideal sizes. Knowing how frustrating that can be I decided to take my talent and turn it into a career; however along the way my clothing brand took a turn as there are not that many plus size models in Boston that could represent my brand. I also started to receive requests for custom pieces by women sizes 0-10 so I decided to showcase smaller sizes. My goal is still be able to design clothes from sizes 2-18.
Internet Hollywood: I’m sure everyone knows that designing clothes isn’t as easy as it looks. How long did it take you to learn how to design clothes and what was the hardest thing that you had to learn?
Catarina: As a self-taught designer the hardest thing is to learn how the fashion industry works. I still consider myself new fashion designer because behind the shows and the beautiful work there is still a lot of homework to be done. As a young designer my obstacles were getting people to see my vision. Another common obstacle is being challenged financially because at times you can’t afford purchasing expensive supplies that’ll enhance the look of your piece. I would advise the aspiring designer to focus on themselves and follow what they believe fashion is. Being true to who you are will help your designs speak to the audience.
Internet Hollywood: Where did the origins of the name LLeya P. come from and why did you choose that name to represent your brand?
Catarina: The name LLeya P. came from my daughter’s name which is Cattleya Perola. I removed the CAT part and add an additional L to make it unique. Cattleya is the name of an orchid and Perola translate to Pearl and these two elements are part of my logo. This name means classy, eye-catching and timeless. LLeya P. is a women’s apparel brand that focuses on creating great pieces to make individuals feel chic and classy. My designs embody self-love, confidence, and empowerment. When you think of the word bold I want you to think of LLeya P. I specialize in combining tribal prints with the modern day feel. Majority of my clothing being versatile is essential for the 9-5 consumers. If you are heading out after work why take an extra trip home to change when you can have multiple looks in one! LLeya P. target consumer ranges from ages 18-60 and sizes 4-18.
Internet Hollywood: Where do you envision your brand being when your goal is fulfilled and is there a deadline for when you want this all done by?
Catarina: I envision my brand to be a very successful brand and that within 5-10 years it will be something everyone will recognize not only for the quality of my work but also for the uniqueness of my designs. I consider myself a unique designer because I do not believe in selling my soul to Fashion Industry. I do take my time and let things happen on the right timing. Many designers fail to live life by trying to be famous and when they are famous they either regret no living their lives with a purpose or ended up having health problems. I let God take the wheel and guide me to the right path toward the goals. The legacy I want to leave is to create equality within the fashion industry as well as inspiring women to love themselves no matter what size they are. “Every curve is precious as a Pearl” is what I usually say encouraging women to love themselves no matter what they look like. My goal is to one day dress Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey!!!
Internet Hollywood: Many upcoming designers have been keeping themselves busy by organizing their own shows to show off their new collections. Are you currently planning on doing any shows of your own this year?
Catarina: I have done couple of my own shows in the past and they were a great success. I am not planning to do any of my own show this year due to some organizational change within my brand, however, I will definitely do one next year.
Internet Hollywood: What kinds of products do your clothing line offers and do you currently have any on sale?
Catarina: As a designer, my main focus was to create nightgowns, but as I started to flourish I began expressing more of my creativity designing wedding gowns, bowties, and prom dresses and many others. I am currently working on having a website up and running. Right now my sales are based on custom orders. I do make sales of my collections after the show. I do not own a studio yet, therefore, I create my artwork (clothing) at home. All of my pieces are designed and made by me.
Internet Hollywood: Last question; how do you go about selecting models for your shows and what advice would you like to give them that will attract designers to wanting to work with them when they’re doing important shows when they show off their collection?
Catarina: Choosing models for my show is a difficult decision because I like to give a chance to everyone pursuing their dreams; on the other hand I select models that would represent my designs well. I would call myself picky, at times, because I look at models beyond the beauty. A model has to have great posture, excellent attitude and they have to be fierce. Many times I had to turn down great models because they had many body piercing or tattoos which would take the beauty of my creation away. I am not against models with piercing or tattoos however if the material I am using already has a lot going on, it would be a distraction. I love to represent equality therefore when I select my models I make sure I have different skin tone and hair texture models.
Internet Hollywood: Thank you for the interview, Catarina!
~*~*Thank you for reading*~*~
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