Truly Alvarenga is the mastermind behind the whimsical line of unique clothing that is known as Pink Elephants. The Nashville native’s wearable pieces of art use one part young and daring, one part vivacious and spirited, one part eclectic and limitless to form a spring line that tells a wordless story. Needless to say, this was a designer we were sure not to miss at this year’s Nashville Fashion Week. I caught up with the creator herself to get the latest on her inspiration, favorite pieces and more.
Q: What was the inspiration for your collection appearing at Nashville Fashion Week?
A: The collection is called the Little Mermaids Revenge. I have based it off of the Hans Christian Anderson story with my own twist added. I found her story of losing her innocence, betrayal and pain that comes with loving and being hurt inspiring. In my version, because she is able to pick herself up from the pain, she becomes empowered and maybe a little evil. She takes matters into her own hands and ends up ruling the kingdom in the end.
Q: What is your favorite piece of the collection?
A: There are so many that I’m proud of. If I had to pick one it would have to be the yellow and black ball/cocktail dress. It has lace going up the front of the dress and continues all the way up into a band around the neck. It’s a little edgy while still being demure.
Q: You describe your clothes as “young” and “eclectic.” How would you describe the woman for which you design?
A: The woman I design for is the type of woman who wants to turn heads where ever she is. She is the sort of woman who wants her clothing to make a statement and get noticed and never be the same thing twice. It’s not enough for her to look good; she wants her clothes to make people think.
Q: If you could design a piece for any celebrity, who would it be and why?
A: I think it would have to be for Gwen Stefani. She is so talented and her look is so edgy. She’s done a great job of maturing her look over time while not betraying who she was, and wants to be. I think she would look killer in one of my leather jackets.
Q: Prints are huge this season. Which ones do you prefer to work with?
A: There are a few that I really just fell in love with and had to use. I love prints that make you look twice at a garment. There is a beautiful coat that is a part of the new collection that uses a great print. From afar it’s this abstract pattern of burgundy and gold. When you get really close and look at it, it turns out to be cherub faces. Another one that I really liked is a blue, black and white print that looks very ornate but mixed in to the print are fish bones. So I guess you could say that I like prints that change appearance the more you look at them.
Q: What pieces do you feel are must-haves for women this spring season? Which ones are splurge-worthy?
A: The collection is a mainly fall collection. But I would have to say the one of a kind stretch lace tops would be a definite must-have for me for spring.
Q: Are you involved with any charitable organizations? If so, which one(s)?
A: I really try to give back as much as possible so I volunteer my time as much as possible to local charity events. I recently donated an adorable one of a kind dog coat to be auctioned off at Unleashed, the Humane Society charity dog fashion show in Nashville. In the past I have done fundraiser shows for the Minni Pearl Cancer Foundation.
I think my favorite charity event that I do twice a year is volunteering for the Glad Rag Sale in Vermont. My mother and sisters and I all go and help a store prepare for their annual sale where they sell peoples gently used clothing and home goods and the proceeds go to whichever charity in Vermont needs the most help at the time. I love being able to give back and getting to do it with my family really makes it special.
Q: What has been your biggest challenge to overcome as a designer?
A: I would say that my biggest challenge has been balance making amazing clothing while still finding the time to live a life outside the studio. Button holes are also a royal pain.
Q: What type of advice would you give to young aspiring designers?
A: If fashion design is what you love then go for it but be prepared to live, eat and breath your work. Designing is a wonderfully time-consuming job that involves a ton of hard work and sacrifice. Remember that there are always a thousand other young designers who are just as talented and eager as you; the difference is going to be how badly you want to succeed and what you’re willing to give up to do it.