Ones to Watch – Sofía Arana

July 9, 2014


The Nolcha Fashion Week: New York team had the chance to catch up with independent fashion designer Sofía Arana to find out more about about what 2014 holds for the brand.

Sofía Arana Sagardía is the founder and owner of the contemporary womenswear label Sofía Arana, where she currently serves as CEO, Head Designer and Production Manager. She learned how to sew at the early age of 16 by the hand of puerto rican top designer Carlota Alfaro – often referred to as “master of masters” – and soon started her own business as a custom dress designer and seamstress. Sofía has worked from the ground up and knows every aspect of the fashion industry and the product development process, which she considers has been the key to her successful career.

SofiaWhy did you decide to become a fashion designer? I have always been a creative kind of person. As a little girl, I was very attracted to arts and crafts, and one day I randomly started sketching dresses. When people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up I answered: “I want to be a fashion designer”. Of course, I didn’t know what that meant and all the roles involved in the profession, but I started figuring it out as I grew up. The more I discovered, the more it interested me. At the age of 16 I started to study Fashion Design by the hand of Puerto Rican top designer Carlota Alfaro, often referred to as “master of masters”. In her school, I learned everything I know today about the creative side of this business, and she guided me through the entire process. I am so fortunate that she believed in me from the very beginning and has been my mentor all these years.

What’s it like being in the fashion industry?
Being in the fashion industry is more of a lifestyle for me. There is not one moment in the day when I don’t feel inspired and creative, I see fashion everywhere. On the other hand, it is a very challenging business, so you have to come up with new ideas and new strategies everyday. What worked yesterday, may not work today, but that only makes it more exciting and keeps me motivated.

How would you describe your brand?
Sofía Arana is the perfect blend of high-end designer clothing and fast fashion. That’s why we are able to deliver high quality unique garments that are totally wearable and affordable. Our style is classic, but not boring or predictable. There is always this sense of innovation even though we like to keep it safe and simple.

What has been the biggest highlight of your career so far?
The biggest highlight of my career happened when I started selling to retail stores. My very first client reordered the same day I delivered their first order. Everything sold out instantly! That was the moment I decided I wanted to focus on ready-to-wear clothing. Being able to prove that my brand had a positioning in the market gave me the confidence I needed to keep going with my plans. Knowing that you have a product that people want to have is the best feeling in the world and makes you feel like you are on the right path. People will always compliment your creativity and talent, and that feels great too, but without sales and proof of concept you have no business and no chances of moving forward. I have been non-stop since then.

What is the inspiration behind your backless skater dress?
The Backless Skater Dress is one of our best sellers now and it was inspired on what a modern Audrey Hepburn would be wearing today. She’s one of our favorite fashion icons and we love looking back for inspiration; take a classic piece from a specific decade -in this case the 50’s fit and flare princess line dress- and redesign it in a way that’s fun while keeping the integrity of the silhouette. For this one I chose a shorter hemline, a modern cutout look on the sides and a flirty back. It’s still very feminine and classy, but more sexy and contemporary.

Describe your ideal consumer.
Our girl is a fashion conscious young woman who appreciates casual elegance and a whimsical yet classy style. She likes to be on trend but she is not a fashion victim; she wants to look different than the rest of the crowd, but will not take too many risks; her look is the perfect balance between classic and trendy.

What is your favourite piece and why?
Right now it is The Sheer Lace Bodysuit from our line. It is a luxurious piece that you can easily take from day to night and always make it look one of a kind. Versatile pieces are my favorite, you know, those you can wear over and over again, play a little bit with the styling and no one will notice.

If you could have any celebrity spokesmodel, who would it be and why?
Definitely Taylor Swift. Her impeccable style represents everything Sofía Arana is about. Her look is romantic and vintage inspired, but she still keeps it modern, chic and stylish. She always looks young and fresh, but still elegant and sophisticated. I love her!

What store would you love to have your clothes in?
I think Bergdorf Goodman is doing a really great job with emerging brands, so I would totally love to have the line available at their stores.

What does 2014 hold for the brand?
There is still a lot of work to do this year and the September presentation in New York Fashion Week is one of our top priorities. We are really putting a lot into the Spring/Summer 2015 Runway Collection. We have been in contact with many retail stores in the U.S. and the brand will be available very soon in more locations nationwide. We also have plans of growth for our e-commerce platform with the launch of new collections in shorter periods of time, and more content for our followers on a new Blog we are working on. A lot of surprises are coming, and we are very excited!

The Nolcha Fashion Week Ones to Watch feature is a weekly interview highlighting an independent fashion designer that is making moves in the fashion industry. Whether from a runway show in New York City or discovered by our globetrotting team we are proud to be a platform of discovery supporting innovative independent fashion.

If you are an independent fashion designer interested to be featured in the Ones to Watch interview series please email with more information about your brand.

Nolcha Fashion Week: New York, founded by Kerry Bannigan and Arthur Mandel, is a leading award winning event held during New York Fashion Week hosting independent fashion designer runway shows.