Spread the love

A Bright Idea

Written By: Taylor Simmons

Photographed By: Curtis Kim

The Expert: Javier Vassallo

Title: Founder and Creative Director of Vassallo

Trends and styles differ in every country—French chic, Japanese quirky street style, Latin color, and African prints. As technology creates more convenient travel, these trends are becoming more apparent in US fashion. Learning new techniques and the increase in competition in the fashion industry has forced designers to think outside of the box, or rather outside of the United States. The US is known as the melting pot of the world. Within that melting pot, LA is one of the most diverse cities. People from all walks of life can come and find their place in this city of extremes. To match the variety in the city’s population, fashion designers must fuse cultures together and innovate. Javier Vassallo has fused cultures gracefully. Being raised in Puerto Rico, and then living in cities such as Paris, Chicago, Washington D.C., New York, and now Los Angeles, he takes his life experience of cultural extremes and infuses them into his clothing like a piece of art. He is ardent about his work. His ability to take Latin flair and mix it with a classic European look is astonishing, and he continues to impress the city with his art.

Q: Can you talk a little about your experience studying fashion design?

Javier Vassallo: That was a great time in my life. To study the architecture of clothes—how different materials react to different constructions, drapes, or ways of cutting the material—was fascinating to me. You could take a flat piece of fabric and turn it into a magnificent, three dimensional piece.

Q: How would you describe your own personal style?

JV: Classic, with a twist.

Q: How and when did you become interested in designing?

JV: Growing up, my mother used to sew. There were Vogue patterns, the little pincushions that look like tomatoes, mannequins, as well as high fashion magazines, all strewn around her sewing studio. I guess that is when it all started. It wasn’t until later though, that I thought I could have a career designing.

Q: Who are your five favorite designers?

JV: Madame Grès, Claire McCardell, Coco Chanel, Cristóbal Balenciaga, and Riccardo Tisci.

Q: What one item of clothing should everybody have in his or her closet?

JV: A Cashmere sweater or cardigan.

Q: Who is a typical consumer of your clothing?

JV: She is a woman who doesn’t follow trends, but loves fashion. Multifaceted and modern, she delves into the different roles and styles that fit her mood. She has a West Coast, East Coast vibe about her that allows her to seamlessly move from casual chic to refined elegance.

Q: What is your favorite article of clothing?

JV: A Jil Sander shearling jacket and a Band of Outsiders corduroy suit.

Q: How does your internationality influence your designs?

JV: In a big way. I have been fortunate enough to live in different places during my life. People are so different in there way of dressing and carrying themselves in every city, state, coast, and continent that it informs how I design.

Q: What would you tell an aspiring fashion designer?

JV: It’s tough out there, so have patience and faith.

Q: What obstacles did you have to overcome to get to where you are?

JV: I face obstacles every day! They haven’t stopped.

Q: What do you enjoy about designing in LA?

JV: The weather. I design outside in my courtyard.

Q: What kind of future do you hope for your line?

JV: A bright one!

Q: What did you learn from working with Vera Wang?

JV: What women want to wear.


Q: How would you describe the use of color in your collection?

JV: Being Latin, color is very important. I love to use color but I do not have a favorite one. It changes all the time.

Q: How do you fuel your creativity?

JV: Walking, going out, and seeing people out in the streets and restaurants, music, movies, and art.

Q: How do you feel about your success?

JV: I don’t feel I have achieved success! I’m getting there, but I’m not quite there yet.

Javier Vassallo