What is your background?
I studied at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM), San Francisco, CA and obtained my Associates Degree in Fashion Design in 1996. After graduation, I decided to stay in San Francisco and start my first job as an assistant designer for a high-end women’s brand called Carol LeValley. I worked for various companies such as Esprit de Corp., in different positions, one being the production assistant, where I had the opportunity to learn about overseas production.
In 2001, I started working for a children’s wear company called Gymboree Corp. I quickly moved into their more “European-inspired” children’s brand called Janie and Jack. Janie and Jack was a wonderful opportunity for me to learn about conceptualizing and merchandising a collection. I also had the fortunate opportunity to travel to most major fashion cities such as New York, Paris, London, and Milan.
In 2008, I left Janie and Jack as a Senior Designer to move back to New Mexico and, in partnership with my mother, started a fashion design and sewing studio called The Designer’s Lounge. We ran the business for six years before we made the decision to close and pursue other interests. My heart has always been in design and I found there was a need for custom designed wedding dresses. This, combined with a passion for pretty lingerie led me to the development of Teresa Romero Atelier.
What is the vision behind Teresa Romero Atelier and what is your role?
The vision behind Teresa Romero Atelier is to provide a unique, bespoke design service. I work one-on-one with brides in creating their dream wedding dress, starting from design all the way through to production. I help brides determine details and silhouette by sketching out the ideas on paper first. Then we discuss fabrication, trims and cost. Once all the details are finalized I go into draping/patternmaking based on the client’s measurements. I provide a toile fitting in which the client and I get to see the first glimpse of the wedding dress we designed together. We look at necklines, lengths, shapes, etc., before I order and cut into the actual fabrics. Once pattern revisions have been made, I begin working on the “real” dress. At this point, I have contractors or assistants come in to help construct the final wedding dress. The bride will come in for one more final fitting to ensure there are no other adjustments to be made. The process of having a dress custom designed is a wonderful process- we have a fun time working on sketches, picking out buttons and fabric; and many times a bride will like to incorporate something personal from a family heirloom into her dress. It’s very different from picking a dress off the rack, where the styles are usually not unique to the bride or her own personal spirit. I hope to create an exclusive experience and develop relationships with my brides, I want them to feel special, it is their day after all!
What does it mean to you to be a designer and creative person living in New Mexico?
I find so much inspiration living in New Mexico. I am very fortunate that I am surrounded by so many other creative individuals! Many of my friends are artists, photographers, makeup artists, and designers- sometimes we brainstorm ideas just for fun. The challenge of living in New Mexico is that we have very limited resources. I purchase 95% of my materials and trims online and I have to work in the shipping time into my calendar. We don’t have a Fashion District to run out and purchase various needed trims or last minute fabrics. Next year, I plan to build in a travel budget so I can shop other markets preferably in France and New York.
What is your design inspiration?
My inspiration comes from so many things- books, music, art, film and travel. But if I had to pick my main inspiration, I would say many of my designs are influenced by the past. I have a fondness for the 1920’s, I love reading about the days of the flappers and prohibition. I am also inspired by the Belle Epoque and Victorian eras: the artists, designers, and characters such as Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Marchesa Luisa Casati, and Coco Chanel. A lot from those time periods have always been a huge influence to me.
Are you involved in any other local projects or organizations?
Currently, I am an instructor at Warehouse 508, a non-profit youth organization. I teach their Fashion Program and get students excited about sewing and fashion design. However, I am hoping to get more involved with Women in Design, it’s a wonderful organization and if my schedule permits, I’d like to do more volunteer work for WiD:NM.