Tell me about yourself
I’m originally from New Jersey and studied Fashion Design at the Fashion Institute of Technology, where I also minored in both Italian and Art History. My senior year of college I decided to go abroad to Milan for one year where I graduated. I then came back to New York City where I happily started working in fashion design. I currently have a design job in which I absolutely love but I felt it was time to branch out and have my own creative freedom. So, on the side, I started my own clothing line: Sylvia Delao.
What does the clothing line entail?
It’s a women’s resort wear brand based in New York City and everything is made in the garment district. The brand consists of both swimwear and resort wear. All fabrics used for the swim pieces are imported from Italy and are produced practicing sustainable methods. Other fabrics used in this first collection such as the silks and linens are also naturally sustainable. When initially creating my concept for the brand I knew I wanted to produce everything both sustainably and ethically in which I’ve proudly done so. The brand’s packaging materials are also all recyclable and made out of post-consumer waste. The line officially launched June 1st of this year.
How did you come up with this idea?
The idea came naturally. I’ve always wanted to design swim and resort pieces and just had an interest in that area of fashion. For the brand I do everything from design to fabric to sourcing to production. I just have one amazing woman who handles all of the b
rand’s social media.
I love it and pictured myself doing it. My mom is from the Dominican Republic and the first collection was inspired by the vibrant colors of her homeland. My dad is from Peru where he grew up in a small beach town so I’ve always been surrounded by water. Next summer I plan to launch new designs with another concept close to home.
The current collection is mostly swimwear and consist of one-piece and two-piece items. For the resort pieces I have silk dresses and pants as well as linen skirts. For the next collection I definitely plan on creating more resort pieces.
How do you manage your time with so much going on?
It all about balance and time management. As I still do have a full-time job it can get stressful at times. After work, I go home and it’s more work but I usually spread my workload throughout the week and just manage as best as I can. It’s really not that bad. After all, if you love what you do, is it really work?
Do you have any advice?
Oh yeah, just do it. Don’t think about it. If you’ve been yearning to do something and haven’t yet done it, be there for you and go for it. You’ll waste too much time thinking about something you could have already started.
What would you say are the building blocks to starting your own business?
First an idea and your concept. For design those two things are obviously important to always have in your mind. You need an idea you can for sure commit to and see it through completely. You’ll also want to have something you’re going to still love in the end, as doubting yourself could definitely happen.
What does it mean to you to be powerful and confident?
To me, being powerful is knowing your craft and knowing your craft well. I’m not saying you have to know absolutely everything because there’s always something new to learn, no matter how much experience you may have. But what I mean is, if you really love something, you should want to know and learn as much as you can about it. Knowledge brings confidence naturally.
What do you do to relax and take time for yourself?
I definitely know when it’s time to step away from work and when I do, I love going on long runs and blasting music. That is my go-to “me time”.
Do you have a product or item you love and use frequently?
My Chloe perfume for sure. My outfit is never complete without a spritz.
Follow Sylvia Delao’s brand on Instagram: @sylviadelao