INTERVIEW WITH CORAL CASTILLO


“Coral Castillo’s collection features an array of stunning pieces that are structure, yet feminine and although entirely done in black, somehow ethereal and light. Coral’s designs show a love for texture and layers-dramatic shapes and draping portray a playful relationship with light and opacity” – Blythe Hill

Born in Mexico City, Coral found her passion for designing clothing at a very young age. Her mom was a dress-maker and Coral grew up with the exposure to fine fabrics and custom made clothing. In 2005, Coral started designing for selected clientele, without any guidance or training in fashion. Once she decided to pursue her passion she studied Fashion Design at The Art Institute of California – San Francisco. 

Graduating with a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Fashion Design she received honors and was awarded best portfolio for fall 2012. In 2009, she won best overall effect for the Art Institute of California-San Francisco Fashion Show. Other awards include Best of Women’s DayWear for Discarded to Divine 2009 and 2010, 1st place in a design competition for OC-Fashion Week in 2011, and in 2013 Coral was recognized as one of the best designers in Orange County. In 2019 Coral won the Moss Adams Fashion Innovator award. In 2018 Coral participated in a series called STITCHED and ended as the winner of Episode 5. Most recently, Coral was a finalist of PROJECT RUNWAY S19. 

INTERVIEW WITH CORAL CASTILLO x KREEP. MAGAZINE

Tell us about yourself as creative, including what art means for you as a designer. 

As a creative, I’m very passionate about my work. I can be without sleep working until I finish. Art for me is to create something that has meaning that creates a reaction and tell you an story. For me Fashion is a way to tell you my story, I always felt like a warrior not giving up on the dream that I have. I’m still fighting and I love what I’m doing. 

Fashion for me is also a way to share my culture and tell you my story.

Tell us about your design style. What makes your collections unique in the industry? 

I create feminine form-fitting collection using stunning fabrics and intricate details. 

What makes my collections unique is the different textures and techniques I use together that aren’t common. I create garments with macrame usually rayon or cotton cord, crochet, different beaded trims hand made that I create, waxed laces that look like leather. In Genesis Collection I used hand made embroideries made by indigenous people in Mexico, also from Mexico I used vegan leather made from the Cactus Nopal. All the work is hand-made nothing is pre-made or sent out to china. All is made here in LA using materials that won’t create a foot print in the environment. 

What kind of person wears your creations? 

Someone who values the hand-work. 

Someone who wants to look elegant, edgy and sexy. 

Someone who likes to be the center of attention.

As a designer, where do you draw your inspiration from? 

When designing I want to empower women. I want to make her strong without losing her femininity.  I find inspiration in mythology and the Goddesses who have the power of destruction and creation. 

What are your thoughts about the design industry regarding slow-fashion and long-lasting pieces? 

I think it’s better to own a few pieces that are high-quality than own a lot of fast-fashion pieces that will last a few wearings. Quality over quantity, that’s one of the reasons I love to work with black. If you own a Balenciaga black jacket from the 1920s you’ll look trendy. No body will think is dated and it’s all because of the color black. 

How important is technology for the fashion industry and do you think the future of fashion will look like? 

I think technology is very important. We need to find better ways to produce without polluting the environment. Also, there are some amazing programs like V-stitched- 3D cads were you can design with actual pattern measurements and see how will look in the model before bringing it to life. I think it saves time and materials in producing something that might not work in real-life.

 

Designer portrait: Coral Castillo Photography: Irvin Rivera

Who are your favorite creatives you would like to collaborate with? 

It’d be a dream to collaborate with fashion houses like Versace, Alexander Mcqueen, Mugler, Iris Van Herpen and Dior. 

What advice would you give to someone interested in getting into the fashion design business? 

Fashion industry is very competitive, it’ll hit you hard. If you don’t love it enough it’ll be very easy to let go. It requires a lot of work, but it’s also very gratifying over time. 

What is your favorite piece you’ve ever created – and what made it so special? 

I love all my designs, all of them tell a story, but If I had to chose one it would be the finale dress from my Genesis collection. That dress is my modern version of the Tehuana dress which is a typical garment used on special occasions in the central part of Mexico. The dress consists of El resplandor which is a head piece that emphasizes the face, I created a Jacket with very vibrant color flowers embroidery from Oaxaca, piping in black and tulle ruffle skirt. It represents my origins where I come from. 

Website Coral Castillo: https://www.coralcastillo.com/

Follow on Instagram: @coral_castillo

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