Frankly Speaking with … Cristina Velez by Yazmine Lomax

Cristina Velez is a US-born designer who has recently moved to Mornington. The ambitious 21-year-old chats to Frankly Frankston about her life-long love of fashion, international style, and how her new home will inspire her label.  

Where did your love of fashion start?
My mom taught me to sew when I was about seven or eight years old. I've always loved expressing myself with what I wore; dressing yourself each day is such an intimate thing.

What differences have you noticed between New York and Melbourne style?
I don't think there is anything like New York style. It’s the most amazing, bizarre thing. You'll see someone walking down the street in sweatpants and a dirty T-shirt with fluffy slippers, and then behind them someone in 10-inch rainbow platforms with fluorescent braids, a mesh top and American flag cut-off shorts. Here, as far as I've seen, people are very put together.

What’s your proudest achievement?
My proudest achievement would be starting my own ethical, sustainable clothing label, Covert Clothing. I design clothing made with organic and vintage fabrics, or up-cycled materials. It’s all cruelty-free so no animal products whatsoever. I didn’t feel there were enough options that were actually ethical as well as environmentally friendly. I wanted people to be able to shop my clothing and feel good about the company they were investing their money into. It’s still in its early stages but I’m so excited to see where it goes.

Why do you love where you live and how does it inspire your work?
I’m new to Australia as of May and I’m loving it! The scenery here is gorgeous and the people are lovely. Australia is much more welcoming of what I’m doing; people are generally environmentally conscious and look for sustainable items to limit their footprint. Being around like-minded people definitely encourages me to keep working towards what I believe in.