“Flirty, feminine and romantic” are just a few adjectives that FIT student Stephanie Arango uses to describe her brand, Sarango NY. And, well, they couldn’t be more on point. The Colombian-born designer brightens up a city essentially born in black with her pretty pastels and floral prints. Arango may be young but she has already successfully launched a brand that she hopes to continue to grow not just in NYC but abroad as well— she even looks to expand into menswear! Below we interviewed this star student about her plans for her (even brighter) future in fashion.
Can you tell us a little about your brand, Sarango NY?
Sarango NY is a womenswear brand for the woman of today’s fast lifestyle. Always on the move, but nonetheless always feminine, sensual and radiating a certain “je ne sais quoi” about her.
How would you describe the style and aesthetic of Sarango NY?
Sarango NY style is very flirty, feminine and romantic. The aesthetic can be described as simple with a touch of timeless elegance. Sarango uses various style lines and details to appreciate and show off a few curves here and there while remaining classy without giving away in excess.
Where were you born? Where do you live currently?
I was born in Cali, Colombia and arrived at the United States at the age of 8. I currently reside in Queens, NY.
Do you study fashion design at university?
I do- I took a couple of fashion related courses in high school, which led me to FIT. I’m still currently in school pursuing my Fashion Design major.
Your first fashion related memory?
My first fashion related memory…. I was around 6-7 playing with my aunt’s scarves and wrapping them around myself to make dresses out of them. But my first real introduction to design was when I was 8. My mother and grandmother would sew and leave scraps on the floor and I remember I used to take those scraps, put them around my Barbie dolls and I would then hand stitch the dresses on top of them. Although I couldn’t undress them without cutting into the dress, I thought it was great they were wearing rags I made them!
How did you get started in the fashion industry?
I got started in 2014 before attending FIT. While, I was waiting for an acceptance letter, I decided to take a risk and start designing clothes to build my brand around. I launched my first ever “fashion show,” February 6, 2014, as a sort of birthday present to myself. That was my goal. After the thrill of working non-stop late nights for almost 3 months, and the rewarding feeling of having accomplished something so big for me at the time, I couldn’t get enough after the show. Having learned so much from that time, I used that experience and launched another show the following fall. I have a lot of support from family, friends and even people whom I barely know which makes the journey so much more worth it. Every day I try to improve or learn something new to help better my line and improve step by step.
How and where does your creative process start? Where do you go from there?
Well it starts with what season I’m designing for. Once that’s established, I go by setting the mood, as with every season it makes you feel a certain way. I try to play music to inspire some of those moods and set the tone for the collection. I then look at colors for the next season, choose some fabrics and prints and then it’s designing time! I’m also inspired by nature. For example, a river current can be translated into a crinkled silk “flowy” skirt, or flowers that can be depicted through various cotton embroideries- really the possibilities are endless when there’s inspiration
Where do you produce your clothes?
I produce my clothes all at home for now. In my last collection, half the pieces I made overseas and the other half I made at home.
Where do you sell your clothes?
I sell my clothes on my website www.SarangoNYC.com which is under construction at the moment.
What are your plans for the future?
My plans for the future of Sarango NY are big. I’d like to one day be a distinguished fashion house in NYC and Paris, where women and men come to shop to always feel that extra notch of elegance. As for my plans as a designer, I’m always striving to improve in all aspects in order to help Sarango grow prosperously.
Any current or future collaborations? What designer or brand would you most like to collaborate with?
I have worked with stylist Sharif Jackson, who styled Dascha Polanco for the cover of Latina’s magazine using our signature lace crop top. As for further collaborations, I don’t have any currently.
I would be honored to collaborate with Carolina Herrera, Oscar De la Renta or Milly by Michelle amongst many others. I admire the brands they’ve built profoundly and they are my muses when it comes to designing.
How do you use social media?
I use social media quite often when marketing a new collection, new pieces, a website sale or even as inspiration! I like to keep my followers updated with what’s about to happen next for the brand without giving too much away. I like to build the excitement with clues and then drop the news since they’ve already been intrigued.