Lost under tulle and silk and giving the final stitches to her last creation, is the designer Josefina Obarrio. Her beautiful atelier is located in San Isidro, one of Buenos Aires most traditional neighborhoods. She owns a sweet voice and a charming personality. Josefina has seduced and conquered hundreds of brides for more than twenty years.
About her story
She started her business by selling second hand wedding gowns with her aunt in their house’s garage. This idea was revolutionary at the time. It provided an answer to brides’ urgent need of cheaper dresses during the economic crisis the country was going through. While studying to become a Fashion Designer, she managed to make her bridal brand “Novias al Garage” (@noviasalgarage) known to the public. Long before the age of Instagram and Facebook!. Eventually, Novias al Garage become so popular that brides from all over the country started traveling to schedule an appointment with Josefina. The waiting lists were endless!
Years later, she decide to start designing new dresses. She launched her first “Ready to wear” collection. The brand’s crowning moment came after the creation of her tailor made line bearing her own name @josefinaobarrio . Although her new venture is continuously thriving she has managed to keep her second hand dresses business running, now as an online shop. As It so happens Argentine millennial brides love to recycle second hand dresses!
It is not so difficult to understand why brides adore Josefina’s designs. It is surely, the sum of her continuos successful decisions that have always kept her on top.
Her atelier speaks about all her professional life, including her latest new challenge: She has become the exclusive representative of the European Bridal Brand “Rembo Styling” (@rembostyling) in Argentina. Her relationship with Rembo Styling started a few years ago when they met at the Barcelona Bridal Fashion Week.
I find myself watching how much she has grown and matured over years. I’ve known her since 2005 when she asked me to start helping her with brides on their wedding day. That was my very first approach to the bridal industry.
So I find the opportunity of interviewing her, quite enjoyable..
What inspires you?
I always try to be receptive and listen to everything. Things like: what is the bride talking about, what is she looking for, what excites her. Sometimes it is about the fabric, how it looks, its patterns, everything.. each fabric has its own language too. I usually try to connect things to my own interests, for example I adore reading and traveling. It is my connection with others that activates my creativity.
Tell us about your designs, how do you define our style?
I define my dresses as pieces of simple lines but full of content. My dresses highlight brides but at the same time it is each bride who brings her own dress into life. I love to recycle old fabrics, recreating the past and adapting it into the current trend. the ´20s have always fascinated me.
What do all your clients have in common?
Regardless of their age, most brides are seeking for advice andsomeone to guide them. They want someone who can fit their idea of the perfect dress into their specific body. Nowadays, brides come with a lot of information from websites, so my main duty is to adapt it for them.
What do you think that makes your brand so special?
I think that most brides arrive thinking that they are alone in their dress selection, but they end up leaving my atelier with an unforgettable experience. Here, we combine illusion, creativity and a connection with their emotions. A lifetime memory. I work very hard to make it happen.
What would you like your legacy to be?
I dream of making each bride leave my atelier, happy with her dress. I feel proud of my work when someone tells me that she feels “herself” wearing one of my designs. My goal would be to become a happy memory of their dress experience.
Could you define yourself with a hashtag?
#love Because it holds many beautiful meanings.. and has millions of posts! hahaha, or maybe: #fairygodmother as some brides call me.
I find it hard not to think about your initial business and the current global trend towards slow fashion. It seems like the world has adapted to your business! Do you see this change in brides buying way?
Our buying habits are reflected throughout all our actions, including the purchase of the wedding dress. It is hard to think that a dress will be used just once. Taking care of our resources applies not only to the materials but also to the elaboration process. Reuse generates multiple benefits.
I know that you spend part of your time teaching low income women to design, cut and saw. Could you tell us a bit more about this?
I believe that what completes us professionally and personally is social work with no other interest than to promote others own development and growth. Creativity is a universal value that elevates, empowers and makes us feel capable of changing even the most difficult realities regardless of our birthplace. You just have to let it out! (@escuelatallerfatima)
Going back to your designs, could you tell us a little about your next collection?
I am designing a collection with light and flexible dresses. A collection you won’t be able to stop staring at!
Where is Josefina Obarrio heading?
I am always paying attention. Snooping around for inspiration. My goal would be to create the perfect dress without making too many mistakes. I’m still looking for it!
From backstage, I watch her work. She may look small, but to be honest, I think she might be one of the most powerful women I have ever met.
Lupi, is a Fashion Designer with a specialisation in Haute Couture. For more than 10 years she ran her own bridal brand in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Her artistic and styling abilities have been developed after years working in the bridal business together with photographers, make-up artists, florists and wedding planners.
She has participated in numerous runways and fashion shows, not only exhibiting her designs but also organizing and executing them. She adores working backstage.Fashion, trends and design are her passions. In her personal blog, she provides tips and advice to brides. Her love for architecture and interior design is reflected in her work in the communication area at her family’s architecture studio @estudioemiliomaurette.