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Fashion Designer Shantall Lacayo Takes on Argentina and Managua

Managuan designer Shantall Lacayo was born in Nicaragua and lives in Buenos Aires, Argentina. A top-three finalist in, she is the force behind her fashion company, Shantall Lacayo - Diseño, Moda y Arte Textil. She sat down with us to chat about her fashionable journey.

By: Ulie Pavone

Managuan designer Shantall Lacayo was born in Nicaragua and lives in Buenos Aires, Argentina. A top-three finalist in Project Runway Latin America, she is the force behind her fashion company, Shantall Lacayo - Diseño, Moda y Arte Textil, as well as her line, Diseños Shantall Lacayo S.A. (with her mom). She sat down with us to chat about her fashionable journey, her business acumen and following her dream Tell us a little bit about yourself!

Shantall Lacayo: I was born in a plastic arts family. I began my career as a fashion designer when I was 17, designing the outfits for Estudio Danza Ilusiones in Nicaragua.

In 2003, seeking to be an entrepreneur, I decided to study marketing and publicity at U.A.M. After finishing my college studies in 2008, I moved to Buenos Aires, Argentina, where I continued my academic development studying outfit design and fabrics technology at Escuela Argentina de Moda. On Sept. 16, 2009, I inaugurated my textile art and fashion house (Shantall Lacayo - Diseño, Moda y Arte Textil) in the traditional beachside neighbourhood of San Telmo in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

In 2010, I ended up being a finalist in the reality show Project Runway Latin America and after the success of the show, I created [the line] Diseños Shantall Lacayo S.A. (Shantall Lacayo Designs S.A.) and the first boutique [called] Shantall Lacayo in Nicaragua.

As a designer, I want to offer exclusive garments of high artistic content with a fusion of art and design, to underline feminine sexiness and teleport my customers to the magic and surrealistic world of my imagination. What does fashion mean to you?

SL: To me, it is something very ephemeral; it's a state, a moment, a vision imposed while looking at the future or the past. Focusing on Nicaragua, how would you define your country's fashion?

SL: I would say that in our country there are trendsetters and styles, but just a few. I believe that people are getting more and more uninhibited and daring to impose different styles without thinking about what people will say, but it's still a process. When did you realize you wanted to be a fashion designer?

SL: I wanted to be a designer since I was 13-years-old. I met one of my best friends, she said she wanted to be a fashion designer and we started to share that dream together. What was the first article of clothing you ever designed?

SL: One of the first articles was a blouse with a lot of snips and safety pins (not sewn). Pins held everything, therefore my first logo had a pin on it. How long does it usually take you to construct a piece?

SL: It depends. There are days where I'm more inspired than others. When I have to design a full collection, I would say that it's more complicated! Putting together all the aesthetics of the collection takes weeks, [as I] choose colours, shapes, fabrics and more. Describe the general process you go through to design and realize a piece of clothing.

SL: Each collection has a theme, a source of inspiration. I choose the theme depending on how I feel, what I crave, what I like, what captures my attention. It could be anything, from the sea world, to the jungle, to a movie. Once I have the theme, I look for images for inspiration, pictures of the place, etc. With this, I choose the colour palette, textures and then I choose the shapes. Do you have a specific style in all your clothing lines? Where does your inspiration come from? Or do you change from season to season?

SL: When it comes to textures, cuts and certain lines, those never change, but I like to vary the shape. What are some of your accomplishments as a designer?

SL: Last year, I finally created Diseños Shantall Lacayo S.A. with my mom. [Being] a finalist of Project Runway Latin America, I was able to show a collection in the Bahamas. In July, I [had] a runway show with 30 of my designs in Ruben Dario Theatre in Nicaragua. I'm currently living in Buenos Aires and want to settle as a designer here. Who are some of your favourite designers?

SL: Alexander McQueen, Pucci, Alexander Wang, Cavalli. How do you select your models?

SL: It depends on the collection. I like models with interesting faces rather than cute faces. Do you consider yourself an artist?

SL: Yes! And I like to consider my unique designs [as] handmade art. I like to give them that value and I like to think that the person that buys it wants to see it the same way. I like arts and when I buy a portrait, I feel that I took home a piece of the painter; that's what I like to think of some of my garments. What do you like the most and what do you dislike about designing clothes?

SL: Designing is my biggest passion. It fills me and I like to know and feel the security. That's something that nobody can take away from me. It's frustrating, [however], as it's an internal struggle for innovating, creating, growing, improving, which, even though it's beautiful, sometimes "in those days of no creativity" [can be] frustrating. How would you define your personal style and the style your line exemplifies?

SL: I don't think I have just one personal style defined. I have certain lines on my own, like the work with cuts, textures, patterns, but I also like to be multifaceted. For example, today, I like the oversized trend. What's your favorite part of conceptualizing a design?

SL: Finding its essence. Do you only design for women, or do you see yourself designing for men in the near future? Why?

SL: I see myself designing for men, but before that, designing shoes. Who is your target market?

SL: Women ages 25 to 55-years-old. Women with confidence and poise. What advice do you have for aspiring fashion designers?

SL: Believe in your dreams -- [that's the only way] you can make them come true. If you could design the wardrobe for any movie or TV show, which would it be?

SL: I would like to design for any of them, given that no matter the era, the challenge would be to convey the essence of my work in the outfits. What trends do you see being big for 2012?

SL: I don't like to think on what's coming, because as designers it puts limits on us. That's why in my collections I choose a theme, regardless of the trends. I'm working on a collection based on the Columbian era. Imagine if the trends for 2012 are "futuristic"; just because of that, do I have to follow the trend? Last but not least, where can our readers know more about you and your work?

SL: In Nicaragua, my atelier: Villa Fontana Norte #2 and store Ponteveccio. People in Buenos Aires can go to my atelier in San Telmo and for the other countries, I hope to have my online store by mid-2012!

You can also find me here:

Twitter: @ShantallLacayo

Shantall Lacayo
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