Gayla Rogers is the mastermind behind the beloved luxury clothing line, Gayla Rogers Collection! With each perfected crafted design, it’s clear to see just why and how people took notice. We had the pleasure of sitting down with the fashion designer do discuss all things fashion and how she plans to build a fashion empire.

Model: Angelina Kali | photo by E.P. Photografia

Tell us about yourself. Did you always know that you would end up in the fashion world?

Well, I was born in a small town of Louisiana called Raytown. My maternal grandparents raised me in Jefferson City, Missouri. I always had an interest in being creative from art, poetry, architecture, you name it. My grandmother is actually the one who taught me how to sew. I used to sit at her feet and watch her sew. I started out making small things like pillows, clothing for my Barbie dolls and so forth. I kept sewing and my first job at 16 was at a local fabric store. I kept that job all through high school and learned more about the different types of machines there were and patterns. I always made clothes for myself all throughout high school.

I took a drafting class, which led me to become interested in home design and architecture. I ended up getting my Bachelors degree from Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

I got married and moved to San Diego but still sewed. The one thing I didn’t know how to do was make my own pattern. I started out wanting to take classes but went ahead and got my certificate of fashion design Fashion Careers College (FCC). There, I honed my skills in fashion design and learning more of the business side in fashion.

Honestly, it usually starts from a beautiful fabric or textile. I’ll usually find something that I fall in love with or just have to have whether it’s the color, pattern, or feel and I pull from there to add on. Sometimes, it comes from other things, for example, I had a love for Paris when I went there. I did Paris Fashion Week twice but before that, my thing was that I had to get to Paris! I did a whole collection that was a Persian-theme.

photo by E.P. Photografia

If you had to describe the journey you had in order to get to where you are today, what word would you use? Why?

The word that I would choose would be ordained. The reason why is because every experience that I’ve had has enhanced my skill-set in someway. You’d be surprised how many fashion designers actually have degrees in architecture. The measuring and the attention to detail that you have to have are important! I’ve pulled from all my job experiences, it’s like it’s engraved in me. I chose the word ordained because its all led to me being a better fashion designer.

Model: Lauriel Malone | photo by Keith Anthony Photography

Can you offer your best advice for aspiring fashion designers?

I actually teach part-time at the Art Institute of Atlanta. I get that question a lot. They love the information that I have for them. I always tell my students, never stop learning, draw information from everyone you encounter, take classes, get a mentor, do an internship with someone in the business, it’s important to learn the business side of it if you want to be successful. Never stop learning is my number one piece of advice.

Model: Lauriel Malone | photo by Keith Anthony Photography

What goals do you have set for yourself as a fashion designer? Where do you hope to see Gayla Rogers Collection in the future?

My desire has always been to build a fashion empire like fashion powerhouses such as Dior or Chanel. I want an empire for my brand like that! I want something that I can pass on down to my children, a legacy.

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