CAAMFest 36, May 10-24

An Interview with Designer Estrella Tadeo

November 13, 2009

Tadeo caters to
that middle market with her tailored, structural designs. Asked if
there are often clueless guys who walk into her store looking for
fashion advice, she quickly responds, "Oh yeah. They need help." The
most important detail a guy should look out for? Fit.

"Fit is
a huge thing for me," she says. "Everything should have a good fit. I'm
not so into the baggy fit for men. I like English tailoring -- not
tight but fitted. […] I strive for more timeless pieces, more than
anything else. It's not necessarily a trendy thing."

While she
sounds like a style pro, a career in fashion design wasn’t always the
dream for Tadeo. Working in the garment industry since 1991, she
learned the ropes early on, taking a full-time job just out of high
school as a production assistant for a San Francisco line.

"As
a young girl, I didn't really want to be a fashion designer," says
Tadeo. "I fell into it in a way. I learned about garment construction
on the job."

Through the years she went on to work on a line
with her sister, later moving to New York and then ultimately, back to
San Francisco. While the fashion scene there isn't as abundant as New
York's, Tadeo appreciates the camaraderie of San Francisco Bay Area designers,
leading her to co-found a designer co-op a year and a half ago. The
Mission Statement is now home to the work of eight designers, featuring
a well-rounded array of clothes, silk screen designs, jewelry and
cosmetics. Tadeo says she loves the variety and feeling of community in
her little family of designers.

"I would say that the one great
thing about the design community here is that it's tightly knit and
everybody wants to help everybody else out," says Tadeo. "Everyone is
just happy that there’s this camaraderie. I'm excited when I see
younger [designers] just starting out, I'm excited to help them until
they can get to the point where they can manage themselves." 

And what would Tadeo consider a fashionable Mr. Hyphen?

"Structure
and tailoring are big factors. I love variables -- a polished,
well-fitted jacket, but paired with colors and accessories. My ideal
person would have on a well-groomed, fitted [outfit]," she says,
pausing to add, "I like scarves."

--
Mr. Hyphen 2009 will take place on Saturday, November 14 at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center. Buy tickets here!

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