After the steps of Antonio Ortega, Mexican designer living in Montreal
The mexican designer that opens our new section in the blog “After the steps of…”
In this new section we will talk about the paths remarkable mexicans took to successfully show the world a different face of our wonderful country.
Two years ago I attended Antonio’s runway in Paris and became a regular attendee ever since. Every time I read articles about him, I couldn’t help feeling proud, without even knowing him, simply because he was a mexican.
This season I finally decided to introduce myself and ask him for an interview, which he very nicely accepted. We got the opportunity to talk about everything he did before founding his fashion house and how he decided to establish in Montreal after living in Mexico City and Paris.
A professor, a dancer, a student, seamstress, head stylist, they were all stages in Antonio’s life, steps he now sees as the fundamentals of his strength today.
“This contrasts gave me the tools to define what i want and what i don’t, moreover, they gave me a direction to follow”
Being the head stylist in Televisa, the country’s major T.V. chain, leading a team of 35 people, economic stability and success, he decides to leave it all behind to become a student again. He moved to Paris to follow his dream and to continue the journey to found his own fashion house.
Antonio feels very proud of his beginnings and his origins, using them as an inspiration for the first garments he launched. You could see a big folkloric touch in his first collections, since then, he has evolved and his sources are more diversified. This is somehow normal, because when we leave our country, we tend to highlight and show everything that we are proud of, however, Antonio considers that his identity is not determined by his nationality but by his talent. And that’s the key! This is the vision that enables us to break stereotypes.
As seasons passed by, Antonio started building his own identity as a designer but he managed to keep his mexican touch with the colour palette he shows on every runway, all this while inspiring himself from various sources and styles.
His brand has two lines, a luxury in ready-to-wear and the Couture line. As a proof of the impact his collections can have on the public is the latest one, called DUNES. When I saw it, it immediately transported me back to my hometown, and the Bilbao Dunes that surround the city, and for a space of minutes I felt there, enjoying the nostalgia of those memories I hold dear. The funny thing is that the journalist standing next to me thought of Africa and her personal souvenirs. The empathic connection with the runway attendees allowed him to touch sensible fibers, reliving memories and somehow to feel identified with the designs.
If you look at both lines, Ready-to-wear and Couture, Antonio has managed to create an international style that he showcases during Haute Couture along the biggest fashion houses, while keeping his humble attitude and his contagious enthusiasm that we all see at the end of the runway.
Antonio gave us some advice to all of us who want to pursue our dreams
“Be patient and persistent”
Two values that have walked with Antonio since the beginning. As we mentioned, he worked at many different places before calling himself a designer, this allowed him to polish his technique, his vision and he earned some experience.
“Believe in yourself”
There will always be people who will not understand your vision until you show them something concrete, but there will others that will believe in you.
“Nobody will discover you, it has to be your work (that speaks for you)”. Never stop trusting your instincts, there will always be people that won’t not agree with what you are doing, but unless they can provide a constructive explanation of what they dislike, then it is better not to pay attention and to just move on. Because the only way to truly move forward is believing in yourself.
“Do not succumb to your surroundings”
You will always hear: “ there is no job in such area” or “that bachelor will not give you money”. Even though Antonio was already established in a successful job, he did not stop there, he followed his dream and was very clear with what he wanted. He was aware of the issues artists face when climbing up the ladder but he did not care and left the job. For some that meant a setback but for him it was definitely going forward.
A clear vision, persistence, patience and no fear towards the unknown are Antonio’s secret to weapons that made his brand happen and his international recognition a reality.
Because it doesn’t matter where you start you way, the key is to not give up and always reach for your goals. As our dear Maria Felix said, “ People with no ambition never get out of the hole.”
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P.S. If you live in Montreal, and you want to participate in his next campaign, follow him on instagram and get in contact with them! Photoshoot is on february 12th!