By Maurice Pinzon
Edixon Valdez has fashion designs in his head, accompanied by an image of himself in the fashion world, that he is molding as he seeks to make a big splash in the industry. He is hoping to separate himself from fellow aspiring designers who will be graduating with him from the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) this spring. It may be an essential strategy in a tough fashion market, but even during times of economic despair, there seems to be more optimism in New York than in the rest of the country and Mr. Valdez, 28, exemplifies that sentiment.
Mr. Valdez has been drawing since he was a young boy growing up in Nizao, a small town in the Dominican Republic, best known for sending baseball players, including Vladimir Guerrero, to the Major Leagues in the U.S.
When Mr. Valdez was eleven, he began sketching dresses for his newborn niece and has not stopped thinking of designing women’s clothing since. Mr. Valdez said he learned about clothes from his aunt, a seamstress, now in her 70′s. Mr. Valdez would pick up the fabrics his aunt left lying around and make things out of them. He continues to think that quality fabrics are worth the extra expense because they make the clothes look exponentially better.
Soon after Mr. Valdez arrived in New York City at age 17, he began studying hotel management, but decided to switch his career path after realizing his true passion had always been fashion.
Now in his senior year at FIT, he is already planning his first collection for February 2011, for New York’s Fashion Week. Mr. Valdez hopes to show his designs where he previously worked, at the Trump International Hotel and Tower. He was also promised space at a couple of boutiques if he can produce six women’s pieces by February.
Mr. Valdez principally designs women’s evening wear but also men’s sportswear, because, he said, “Every time I do something for me, everybody likes it, so I have to reproduce it.”
At a meeting to exhibit two of his pieces, the female model did not show, so the male model wore shorts that Mr. Valdez designed for himself. Mr. Valdez seemed to get a kick out of recounting the reaction to the shorts, a collage of newsprint from dailies. He said he thought of designing them and then wanted to take them to the beach so that people would think he was wearing a newspaper. That’s exactly what happened, he recalled, when others on the beach initially thought he was wearing newsprint.
His role model and only idol in fashion is Karl Lagerfeld. Mr. Valdez said of Lagerfeld, “He projects himself as fashion. Somebody looks at him, can only think fashion and style.” During “Fashion’s Night Out” in September, Mr. Valdez recalled, he was wearing his “Newspaper Print” shorts and Mr. Lagerfeld saw them and nodded in approval. “I wanted to say ‘I made it,’ but the words wouldn’t come out,” said Mr. Valdez.
On the subject of whether models are too thin, Mr. Valdez said, “I have to be honest, I do like skinny models. The clothes look beautiful. It’s about aesthetics and beauty.” He pointed to the actress and singer Selena Gomez, as an ideal woman to wear his clothes. She is “very fragile and very feminine,” he said.
Mr. Valdez, although savvy and ambitious, can also be quite the dreamer. “I believe beauty can be the answer to so many problems. Solve it with beauty, give it beauty and it will solve itself,” he concluded.
For more information about Mr. Valdez’s fashion designs, visit Edixon Valdez.