By Laura Smith
Go Triad/ News & Record
Alexa Castillo, 33, is a fashion designer from Wilmington. Originally from La Ceiba, Honduras, she moved to the United States in 1994. She began her own clothing line a year ago and already has two collections in stores, with another on the way. She will be showing one collection Friday at Mary Contrary’s in Greensboro as part of First Friday. Mary Contrary’s will be the only store in Greensboro to sell her designs.
How do you like living in Wilmington?
I was living in Raleigh, and then I moved to New York. The cost of living was really high, so I moved back to North Carolina and moved (back) to Raleigh because I was going to go to school. When I moved back down here, I came to the beach, and I found Wilmington. I said one day I’d find a job in Wilmington and move there. I surf and I skateboard here, and the beach reminds me a lot of home.
What is your personal style for the clothes you design?
I would say it (reflects) Honduras and Wilmington. It’s what I’ve observed from this country and my country. I think that’s why I created my clothing line because I didn’t see what I used to see at home, like bright colors. My line has a lot of bright colors and tailored clothes, clothes that are very fitted. They have a flattering figure for women, whether you’re thin or not.
What’s in your line?
There are 54 items on the clothing line now. The jumpers were what I started with; they reminded me of uniforms in Honduras. You wear uniforms whether you’re in private school or public school. In the summertime, you can dress it up or down –– wear to the beach. And in the winter you can wear it with tights. It’s something I made that is inexpensive but well-made. I use cotton, Egyptian cotton and other high-quality fabrics. The clothes consist of limited edition, one of a kind and mass production.
Do you have any style icons?
Sophia Loren, Carolina Herrera, Prada, Betsey Johnson, Armani, 1940s glamour. I like Italian designers because they use a lot of tailoring in their clothes.
What do you think a good dress, shirt or article of clothing can do for a woman?
I think an outfit can make you feel empowered. Something that makes you sexy, beautiful and fresh and you can still be true to your personality and self-expression. It’s something you don’t have to hide behind.
What are you doing now?
I hope I get a contract with Nordstrom; Nordstrom loves up-and-coming new designers. I also want to be able to dress stars. In this fall’s first episode of “One Tree Hill,” there is a dress of mine on Sophia Bush. The business is growing. There are more peaks, and department stores are becoming interested. It’s hot!