How did you become interested in fashion? Who are some of your inspirations and mentors?
I developed an interest in fashion after years of feeling underwhelmed, misrepresented and invisible with the clothes we could afford when I was a child. Growing up as one of the only Latin American children in a community of predominantly upper-class Caucasian Americans in South Texas in the 80’s left me feeling isolated and somewhat lost. As I grew older, I began to experiment with my wardrobe and my creative outlet for fashion blossomed. My individual voice became louder and clearer, and my confidence exploded. This was when I knew I would always be tied to fashion. It had a transforming power I couldn’t deny.
A career-long mentor of mine is Kathleen Fasanella, a renowned pattern maker, domestic ethical production advocate, and founder of the Fashion Incubator blog. My main inspiration comes from a beloved late family friend and former employer, Lisa Luciano. She was my champion when I first embarked on my design journey till the day she breathed her last. I am indebted to her for her unending support. They have both influenced my career and work in very precise and profound ways. Kathleen inspired me to commit my production to a standard that is honest, responsible and ethical as well as locally domestic. Lisa encouraged me to work hard, be kind, and to do my due diligence to learn my business like the back of my hand. She challenged me to become a strong, independent female leader – just like she was. I can’t imagine my life or my career as a designer without either of them.
How would you describe your style?
I would describe my style as feminine, easy, and modern, with an edge of bold and retro. I love mid-century décor and fashion from the late 50’s to mid 60’s. Rudi Gehrnreich is one of my favorite designers – his aesthetic was all too exciting. So from time to time I try to incorporate subtle nods to that era mixed with todays modernity and timelessness.
How has your work connected you to the LGBT community?
Since we began the brand in 2009, we’ve always been inclusive with the community among our staff, internship program and even in how we design for our clients. We have a healthy roster of LGBT repeat clients as well as strong relationships with LGBT owned businesses that we work with locally and beyond. We hope to continue to work with the men and women who are part of these communities as we have found their contribution to the industry an asset that cannot be replicated.
Social media / web links
· Website: www.yellowcakeshop.com
· Facebook: @yellowcakeshopcle
· Instagram: @yellowcakeshop
· LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/valerie-mayen-3b86418