UA student takes redesigned clothes to the next level
When you see a polo at a clothing store, you may just see it as a normal, everyday shirt. For Paola Ochoa, this same polo shirt is seen as something that can be transformed into a trendy, two-piece set.
Ochoa, an art major at the University of Arizona, turns ordinary clothes from the sale rack into fashion-forward pieces unlike any other. She conducts business online and is accessible through the Instagram handle @p.a.o.fashion.
Fashion was always an interest for Ochoa, but it wasn’t until her mom showed her how to sew that she fell in love with creating new looks, she said. What started out as a hobby soon inspired her to start an online store where she is able to sell her redesigned pieces.
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“I usually buy stuff for myself and redesign it, and a lot of my friends really liked it and started asking me to do it for them,” Ochoa said. “I bought a lot of clothes for sale from Free People and other brands and started tweaking them and selling it.”
Not only does her store sell revamped clothing from department stores, she also is able to take any of her customer's old clothes and produce a new and improved version.
To make the redesigned clothes, Ochoa scouts out potential clothing items at various stores. She then takes to her notebook where she sketches the different ways she can transform the clothing.
“It depends on the clothes, but usually I’ll sketch out the item I’m redesigning, and from there I draw different ways in which I can change the garment,” Ochoa said. “Then I pick my favorite and base myself off from there and start cutting and sewing it.”
Out of all the pieces she has made, one specific item remains near and dear to her heart.
“I made a pair of shorts about a year or so ago, and it took me forever. They weren’t the best, because it was my first time making shorts, but I had a lot of fun trying to figure out how all the pieces go together,” Ochoa said.
Running a store and designing clothes can be a lot for one to handle, fortunately for Ochoa, she has her sister, Fernanda Ochoa, to help assist with the marketing aspect of the store.
“We are trying to create a brand and build an image around it that really portrays what she wants,” Fernanda said.
Based on her close involvement with the store, Fernanda said she believes that her sister has a vision that not many people have, making @p.a.o.fashion stand out among the rest.
“It’s one of a kind,” Fernanda said. “She has an eye for creating something beautiful from nothing. She literally made a cute skirt and shirt set from an oversized polo. I would’ve never imagined an oversized polo could be turned into something fashionable.”
Ochoa’s eccentric style is what drives people to check out her store. Hailey Lugo, one of the store’s customers, said she was compelled to purchase items because of how Ochoa incorporates her own unique style into her clothes.
“She takes her pieces to the next level,” Lugo said. “She can take any regular article of clothing and turn it into something cute and bougie.”
For 2019, Ochoa said she plans to start including more of her original pieces in her store and to make an official website.
“I hope to make an official website for my store,” Ochoa said. “Right now, I’m only doing it through Instagram and Depop, which is a bit difficult, and having a website would make it more convenient for the customers and for myself as well.”
Fernanda encourages people to check out Ochoa’s store, because they will not only be supporting a local artist, they will also be able to find something new to spice up their closet.
“She knows what works best for each person,” Fernanda said. “Before you can think, 'No, that outfit won’t look good,' she’ll prove you otherwise.”
If interested, check out Paola Ochoa’s offerings @p.a.o.fashion on Instagram.
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