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An Interview with Sailor Gonzales

Updated: Apr 15, 2019

Sailor Gonzales is a refreshingly, unmercifully brash presence in a landscape of tepid fashion influencers. The fashion design student has carved her own space within the framework of that scene; her Instagram is expertly curated, a clever balance of glam photo shoots and snapshots of her everyday life. It's not a contrivance; each selfie and outfit post is brimming with the kind of attitude one can only come by organically.

LA born and raised , Sailor is full of pride for the city of angels, collaborating with Vogue and Discover LA to give others insight into her home turf. Now a Target Tag creator, she blends her Chicana style with Target's 90s throwback clothing lines like Wild Fable. Sailor's own designs and artwork are an eclectic blend of her heritage and hoards of other visual influences, though these don't overshadow her sui generis perspective, exhibiting her adroitness as a creative. Her experience as a Latina woman naturally informed the philosophy behind her work, therefore her feminist ideology shines through brilliantly without ever being pedagogic.

Also an avid roller skater, Sailor is the nonchalantly cool older sister we all wish we had. A multi-gifted queen, she can't be limited to just one title (art director, model, videographer, designer, to name a few). She creates her own boundaries, her own identity, and her talent is limitless.

Who are your inspirations?

My biggest inspiration is my mother. I grew up with a single mom, so she was my whole life growing up.  Everything she owns she bought herself. Every thing shes accomplished she did it on her own. Shes a force of nature. She taught me everything I know about hard work and dedication. Beyond that she literally hasn't aged one second since I was born. Shes effortlessly beautiful. Shes also allowed me to be myself & make a lot of my own decisions growing up so my personality & style have always been at full throttle. My mom was the kind of mom that let choose my fits. And when I would come out of our room wearing a bathing suit as a top, an old tutu I transformed into a skirt , those clear plastic princess high heels with the jewel hearts on the front & a feather boa READY to go to the grocery store, she was ready to hold my hand and show me off.

How would you describe your style? When it comes tho everything I'm with the extras!!! My style is always evolving and tumbling into something new. The best way I could describe it would be a nostalgic. I'm a real sucker for being able to transform your physical self into what you're feeling. I especially love feeling nostalgia from decades past. My favorite is this moment when you watch your grandma or someone older look through old photos or something and say "i remember we all use to dress like that"  and her face just glows with warm fuzzies as she reminisces on memories. I go through phases of being more keen to one decade or one fad and my whole world is enveloped by it, then I listen to an album or look at a piece of artwork and *snap* just like that, the style changes and I'm enveloped into something else.

What's your favorite thing you've sewn?

I've been sewing my whole life so it's kinda hard to chose my *ultimate* favorite thing; BUT the latest thing I've created that  comes to mind is this: my mom and I were going to be in a wedding not so long ago & we had to find dresses to wear. My mom is the total opposite of me and is not into being flashy and most certainly never ever wears dresses so you could imagine how nearly impossible dress shopping for her is. I took it upon myself to make her a dress. As I was listening to all her notes and concerns as to why she doesn't wear dresses &  what makes her feel beautiful and what otherwise doesn't, I got to work. I made her this square neck a line dress out of this navy art deco embroidered fabric. The fabric had this scallop that was to die for so I worked it into all the hems and neckline. in the final fitting I slipped the dress on her and she  started tearing up of how beautiful she felt in that dress. I live for that. To be able to create something special just for one person that fits them perfectly &makes them feel beautiful; it means the world to me.

Can you describe what TargetTag is and how you got involved?

Target Tag is Target's online magazine of sorts. I'm on a team of 28 artists across the country that create content for this magazine. Target had a search team to find creators. They found me on Instagram & slid into the DMs so to speak hahaha!

What's the biggest risk you've taken?

Honestly the biggest risk I've taken was doing this whole Target business! going to target headquarters for target tag was the first time I'd ever gotten on a plane or traveled alone. I was beyond nervous and honestly didn't want to do it because half of me thought "what if this is all a scam!!!" I was terrified of going somewhere where I didn't know anyone or where anything was. But I knew that if I didn't take that chance I would really regret it

Who are your favorite designers?

My professors would probably chop me head off for saying this but I honestly don't have any favorite designers thus far. Design school kinda drills in a handful of designers that most people in the fashion Industry look to & idolize. I can respect said designers' work, but I'm not to keen to anyone in particular! I would say though, I'm always studying haute couture. It's so saturated of design elements of time, that everything else of the era echoes it.

What's something you can't live without?

I really cant live without music. Music rules my mood & emotions. Because of that, I'm super thoughtful about what I listen to. I was watching this science documentary & it was talking about how the human heart beat mimics the beat of the music you listen to. It's such a beautiful idea to think how connected the human body is to music.

Is there a common theme to your work? If so, what is it?

I've never explicitly tried to have a theme in my work but something that I keep in my work is, whatever I'm doing I pour my whole heart into it. When in working on a project, I'm either 200% about it or I'm not doing it. My mom always showed me that if you say you're gonna do something, you have to really mean it. Life's way too complicated already to not be honest about your work. I always get so emotional when people come up to me or write me that they connect with my work  because I'm literally sharing pieces of my heart. It's amazing how we even if we live exponentially different lives, we all feel the same emotions together.

Images used in collage via @conchitaqween


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