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Meet Trailblazer Valerie Garmino

Today we’d like to introduce you to Valerie Garmino.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Valerie. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
Since a little child, I was always involved in fashion. My grandmother used to show me different types of fabrics and unique accessories that she got from her trips around the world. Then growing up, I started developing and making alterations to my own clothes. I really enjoyed doing this since I wanted to have a unique fashion style.

After obtaining a mass communication degree with major in P.R., I started an image consulting and online clothing store “Coquette” in my home country. In 2014, I moved to Dallas and I made the hard decision of selling my successful business, so I could concentrate 100% on my Fashion Design career. A decision that I don’t regret at all since I have had the time to focus on my true passion and professional goals which are the foundation of my fashion business and legacy.

In 2015, I was selected to participate in a startup competition for entrepreneurs in New York City where I won second place with my project “Creating a Sustainable Fashion Brand” amount 200 applicants.

Last year was a very busy but successful year for me. I came in first places in the Women’s Sportswear and DMC Runway Challenge the Little Black Dress categories at the Dallas Fashion Group International (FGI) competition. After finishing a Design Process specialization in Paris and apparel and design degree, I established my fashion brand Valerie Garmino in Dallas, TX. My clothing line combines prêt-à-porter pieces with haute couture techniques. Quality is the DNA of my brand. I truly believe quality fabrics can provide an intimate experience between the wearer and the garment. These concepts are the foundation of the Valerie Garmino’s brand.

“I believe in another type of seduction; this seduction is not only coming from what you can see, but also from what you can feel.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
As a designer, you could face many challenges and of course one of them is to make your audience to react to your creations in a way that meets your expectations. You might not believe it but the public and your audience might be very sensitive to how engaged and passionate you are with what you do. For me, this was a challenge that I had to overcome a few years back when I was participating in a star-up contest in N.Y. I had to present a fashion business plan and back at that time, I thought that just by the fact that I was doing something different or out of the ordinary I was going to be a finalist or even a winner of the competition. For that reason, I chose to focus on an ethnic line which from a business plan perspective had the potential to be an original and strong initiative. However, I wasn’t really excited about creating these types of designs. It wasn’t something that really inspired me and therefore I was not engaged at all.

The presentation of my project was flawless; nevertheless, my audience (in this case the jury of the contest) was able to perceive my lack of excitement for this.

This experience changed my perception of how to approach things in fashion and life in general. In order for me to do or get involved in something, I have to be fully engaged and passionate about it. This is precisely what happened to my fashion career and subsequently to my fashion brand. I searched what motivates me, what inspires me, what makes me happy and I discovered that my biggest inspiration and muse was an empowered and elegant woman that fights for their dreams and goals. That’s how the brand Valerie Garmino was created, a brand that enhances the women’s femininity and at the same time transmit energy and strength. I feel very confident about my designs and I enjoy each and every second that I work on them. Now I feel that my audience perceives this passion that I have on what I do and therefore they react positively to what I create. This has been translated into awards and recognition by the fashion industry here in Dallas.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Valerie Garmino – what should we know?
We’d love to learn more about your work. What do you do, what do you specialize in, what are you known for, etc. What are you most proud of as a brand, organization or service provider? What sets you apart from others?
Valerie Garmino offers a unique category of line calls, Prêt-à-Couture line (a blend of Prêt-à-Porter and Haute Couture). Everyone loves Haute Couture. The fine fabrics, the artistic nuance, the touch of exclusivity and high-end finishes. But, we can’t wear these types of pieces every day. This unique category Prêt-à-Couture solves this problem by combining features of Haute Couture but in Prêt-à-Porter clothes that you can wear anytime.

I am an expert in the tactile experience that fine clothing can offer. Quality is the DNA of my brand. I travel around the globe, uncovering exclusive and comfortable premium fabrics. I approach them like a scholar studying and analyzing their texture, origin, and environment. I also really care deeply about how animal’s fibers are obtained and how people working in fabric production are treated. I maintain an uncompromising standard of fair practice, one of the most important reasons why I travel and personally hand select and curate, each fair trade and cruelty-free fabric that’s in my line. Some of the choices include exclusive baby alpaca from Los Andes – Peru, cashmere from Italy, premium Pima cotton from Peru and Italy, French lace, and Japanese silk. My finishes include a mother of pearl, and corozo accessories also known as tagua, which is often referred to as “vegetable ivory “from Ecuador.

One of the most desirable pieces within my accessory line is the iconic Panama hat. This is a timeless piece that represents elegance and craftsmanship.

I truly value handcraft work and for this reason, I have partnered with some of the most skilled artisans to develop Valerie Garmino’s Panama hats. These hats combine my designs and aesthetic with the traditional and ancestral techniques developed by the most skilled and certified artisans. Panama hats can take between 2 to 24 weeks to finish depending on their fineness level.

For sales inquiries please visit my website and Instagram #valeriegarmino.

Do you feel like there was something about the experiences you had growing up that played an outsized role in setting you up for success later in life?
There were two main figures that influenced me while I was growing up. On one side, there was my mother. My mother was empowered woman and hold different management positions in a time where men were mostly playing professional roles while women would stay at home. On the other hand, there was my dear sister who along with her husband built a major pharmaceutical company from scratch. If there was something that both had in common was that both liked to wear very polish, flawless and feminine pieces at times were most women in similar positions were wearing manly suites. There is nothing wrong with them; however, it is not always necessary to show masculinity in order to transmit power and being respected they told me.

From them, I not only learned that success is the reflection of how hard you worked in order to get your dreams and goals, but also that you can be an empowered woman without losing your feminine essence. The essence that makes a woman unique and beautiful. When I sketch, I feel inspired by the multiple roles that a feminine woman could play. That’s why my designs transmit the message that you could be very feminine but at the same time, you could be in power and control. I think that the period in which a woman needs to be dressed in the same way as a man to show power or being respected is over. Being a woman presents endless options of how to dress and style. Why choosing the dark and typical suit and white collar when you have so many delicate and feminine pieces that will make you look flaring and empowered at the same time.

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Image Credit:

Marie Sheers, Laureen Gazio

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