His name may not have appeared on any issues of Vogue but aspiring fashion designer Michael-Lester Rogacion is hoping that one day he will be featured in the industry’s fashion bible.
“I design for the woman with a champagne lifestyle on a beer budget,” said Rogacion, a one time Project Runway contestant hopeful.
Project Runway, featured on the Bravo network is a reality show that features a batch of up-and-coming fashion designers who face different challenges each week. Contestants create garments with the common goal of being a finalist and showcasing their collection at Bryant Park during New York Fashion Week.
“My design aesthetic is for the girl that’s very experimental, isn’t afraid to try things, loves what she wears and doesn’t let anyone tell her what’s ‘in’ or ‘out,'” said the 22-year-old Rogacion.
In addition to former Gucci creative director and head designer Tom Ford, Rogacion said he’d love to model his career after Vogue’s CFDA Emerging Talent Award 2005 winner Proenza Schouler.
“I like Jack and Lazaro from Proenza” said Rogacion, describing his favorite designers Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez, founders of the high-end women’s apparel. “They always keep things really young, and even if it looks young, they still keep it sophisticated.”
Prior to an interest in fashion, Rogacion intended on studying architecture. He recalls his earliest memory of wanting to design when he saw a curtain downtown at the Z Gallerie window display. He found the intricate sewing so interesting that immediately after, he knew fashion design would be his calling.
The intricate sewing and handwork made such a lasting impression on him that to this day, many of his garments feature hand embroidery and elaborate details sewn by hand.
“I like easy-chic stuff, things being more inexpensive but with more detail and quality.”
Skinny jeans and big purses aside, when asked what would be “hot” for fall 2008, Rogacion said “Confidence is always ‘in’ every season.”
While he isn’t a big fan of Ugg Sheepskin boots, Rogacion does point out that it is essential for every woman to have a pair of jeans that flatter them, and plenty of scarves, “You can just wear scarves so many ways.”
Currently the New York bound San Diego native, and former City College student, plans to head east next spring to study at the prestigious Fashion Institute of Technology after saving enough money from the clothing business he started in October of 2006.
“I really want it to bloom and blossom, ” said Rogacion. “I need it to be something I can live off of.”
Business and school aside Rogacion is shy to provide any details about his future endeavors but said that success for him would be to see the success of his clothing line grow.
“Success for me is just people actually wearing my garments. Bumping into someone in the street unexpectedly and actually seeing them wear your garment.”