With a Military Background, This Designer Shows off Her Tailored Designs
Written By: Ariana Velazquez
Photographed By: Michael Wesley
Styled By: Michelle Roman
Hair By: Michael Soberanes & Karla Lopez-Martinez from Gila Rut
Makeup By: Sonia Tabor
Model: Andre Montano and Luz Lopez, FWSD Top Model Winners Territa Torres Designs
Running in with her wardrobe rack and a bubbly smile, Territa Torres, this year’s Fashion Week San Diego first place designer, immediately brightened the room on an unusually rainy day in San Diego. As a room full of creatives come together to bring the designer’s collection to life, it is evident that the excitement for the day ahead is mutual.
The magic begins to unfold and I am brought back to what led to Torres here; after the 26 designers showcased their collections down the runway at Hotel La Jolla in October, show-goers were then able to cast their vote, via the event’s official app, for the year’s Top Designer. Territa Torres was graced with the people’s choice win, and with that, comes attention from the fashionistas of San Diego as well as big expectations, but if anyone is ready for a challenge, it is Torres. Being a new mother, a wife, a veteran and an up-and-coming fashion designer gives this California-native gem-like facets, and oh, does she shine.
Torres’ fashion career started after serving in the US Navy and being prompted with a “What do I do next?” scenario. Always having been a fashion fan, watching the Academy Awards religiously growing up, Torres saw an ad for the Art Institute and decided fashion styling would be her next venture. “I think it was a whole moment for me. We were introducing ourselves in my very first class and one of the questions was, ‘What do you want to do after you graduate?’” Torres says. “When 90 percent of the class said styling, it hit me that this was a very competitive field and I don’t know if I have it in me to be that competitive. So, I decided to go for it and work toward designing.”
While she is proud of her educational roots at the Art Institute, she has also brought characteristics from her previous career in the Navy to her design process. The designer had this to say about how her structured background has made its way into her creative future. “A lot of my aesthetic is very tailored; there is a lot of uniformity to it,” Torres says. “I am a symmetrical designer. Everything has to be polished and clean. [My] military background definitely comes through.”
After graduating, Torres began work on her first collection when she came across Fashion Week San Diego’s website just two weeks before the application deadline. “I downloaded the application and filled it all out that day, but I sat on it pretty much until the due date,” says Torres. “They had pulled the link to submit from their website, but I memorized the email address and sent it in anyways.” Though she only had about six sketches and was still in the early stages of completing what would be the Envy Collection, she pulled through and that year came in third place at the FWSD showcase. Fashion Week San Diego had made it possible to be somewhere else besides LA and New York to get noticed. With this opportunity, Torres has decided to take full advantage of the organization’s open arms to new designers. It is no surprise that Torres decided to showcase again in 2016. “It has provided an assurance that I am on the right path for moving my brand forward and that there [is an audience] who enjoys my designs,” Torres says.
With this momentum, Torres has already begun creating her next collection for Fashion Week San Diego 2017. Torres draws inspiration from museums as well as her travels. You can be sure to see more of her signature pleats in her upcoming collection. Pleating tends to be an under appreciated skill but Torres has found potential in that. “I was working on a school project at the Art Institute—at first it wasn’t well received by my classmates. They couldn’t get around that it was just a pleated detail for the hem of a skirt or on the bust of a bustier,” Torres says. “It reflects light and grabs shadows. When I did swatches in a sewing class I immediately fell in love with the pleat and I thought, ‘There has got to be more to this.’” Torres feels as though she designs for a client that every woman has within them. “She’s definitely a working woman. She is bold and enjoys wearing statement pieces. She’s a traveler; she likes to wear comfortable but stylish clothes. She likes a little bit of pizzaz from the garments,” says Torres of the ideal woman she designs for.
Torres plans to make her way into local boutiques within the next year, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled! Shop Territa Torres’ current offerings from her website and be on the lookout for big things to come from the talented pleat-tastic designer.
Trend Territa Loves for 2017: Monochromatic
Territa’s Personal Style: Bold with a lot of mixed statement pieces
Native Knowledge: Territa’s favorite designer is Roberto Cavalli and she has a pair of his lion earrings that she wears as good luck to events.
All Apparel Provided By:
Andaz San Diego
600 F St
San Diego, CA 92101
Pleats for Days with FWSD Winner Territa Torres