Paola Estefania migrated to the United States and settled down in Florida. She quickly realized that being a Venezuelan native would have its challenges in a new city but she adapted and thrived. She eventually realized her passion for design and moved to Los Angeles after finishing college to continue her education in fine arts in Interior & Architectural Design. After finishing her internship, she decided to ultimately focus her career on fashion. She created an online business, designing and manufacturing her own clothing brand called Humble Hustler. Her collections for both men and women began with a series of form-fitting activewear, streetwear, and ready-to-wear lines. After 4 years in the garment industry, Paola discovered her passion for haute couture design. It was then that she decided to create a new label of custom made garments with the finest craftsmanship and materials. Paola describes her own personal style as sophisticated, bold, and feminine which have translated over to the garments that she creates. Her goal as a fashion designer is to cater to the needs and desires of the modern international women who love distinctive, and luxurious garments. Paola has collaborated with publications like Harper’s Bazaar and Maxim to create custom pieces for their cover stars. She has also worked with a number of women in the WWE to design custom pieces for them to wear in the ring such as Mandy Rose, Leah Van Dale, and CJ Perry.
How have you approached this reset time in 2020 to find your light and balance?
I have been extremely fortunate to continue to work full-force during the pandemic. At the beginning of quarantine, it was a bit overwhelming adjusting to all the new regulations and safety precautions. But being able to work from home and spending more time with my family has definitely brought more joy to my overall working routine.
Take us through your first memories of Fashion in your younger years in Venezuela?
Growing up in Venezuela, I remember watching beauty pageants and the Miss Universe competition with my family as if we were watching the Super Bowl. These pageants are a big deal in my country. Seeing all of the contestants wearing beautiful dresses definitely inspired me when I was younger. From a very young age, my sister and I were always in beauty competitions in school. I remember my mom taking us to a local seamstress to make us the most beautiful dresses and costumes for these competitions. I was exposed to couture from a very young age.
You Migrated to the US finding your feet in Florida but it’s your LA journey that has defined the new you. Take us through this journey and some of its highlights?
While I was living in Miami, I only wanted to focus my career in Interior Design. It wasn’t until I moved to Los Angeles that I discovered my true passion for Fashion Design. It’s been 8 years since I moved from Florida, and I have transformed myself into the woman I have always dreamed of. Becoming a mother has also contributed to my success. Ever since I found out I was expecting, it was like a rush of creativity and inspiration came over me! My daughter has always inspired me to be the best version of myself.
You’ve gone from Streetwear into Haute Couture and dressed a lot of amazing names. What made this transition happen and also who are some of the fave celebs you’ve dressed?
I would say designing ring gears for WWE wrestlers has definitely been the highlight of my career. When Leah Van Dale first contacted me to design her ring gear, I had never made a custom garment before. Thanks to my background in active wear and ready-to-wear design, I was able to modify my existing patterns to come up with the design for her first gear. Her fans truly loved her new image and the response from the WWE community was truly amazing. We continue to work together, and I love coming up with new ideas, challenging myself to make sure she can perform and look her best. Designing couture pieces of cover international models like Sunshine Shen has also allowed me to showcase my talents as a designer. One of my favorite garments I have ever made is the gold metal chain dress featured in Harper’s Bazaar Vietnam’s fall edition.
You do a lot of custom gear for the WWE. How do you approach this in terms of aesthetic compared to a red carpet or cover shoot?
The first thing to take into account when designing ring gear is ergonomics. The movement of the body while wrestling is completely different than when walking a red carpet, as you can imagine. These girls go through a tough series of impacts, and most times, get hurt badly. There are only a selected few materials that one can use for wrestling gear. I have had my fair share of small mistakes; when I design their gears, I always think of innovation and how I can make their gears look more fashionable. But just because something might look amazing on them, that doesn’t necessarily mean it will work in the ring. The wrestlers I have worked with can assure you they absolutely love their gears. It is my interpretation of their own ideas to bring their characters to life.
How do you balance everything as a mother, businesswoman and find time for yourself?
I try my best to spend as much time with my daughter as I do at work. I am very fortunate to live with my mom who has been helping watch over my daughter while I have to go to work. There are days where I do get overwhelmed, and this is normal for most moms. But I wouldn’t trade it for the world, I love my role as a mother and as an entrepreneur.
You have some exciting news that you’d like to share with our readers? What’s next for you?
Well, yes! I am launching a new swimwear collection and I couldn’t be more excited! 2021 is going to be an amazing year, I can feel it. I will be working on new designs for my couture collection and who knows, perhaps I will be showcasing my first couture fashion show in the fall next year.
Any final thoughts as we move into the end of 2020 and into 2021?
I am so grateful for all the opportunities that have been presented to me this year. The best advice I can give to my followers and your readers is to never give up, to always do your very best, and even when you feel like you have reached some level of success, continue to challenge yourself. It is important to strive for greatness no matter what your field of interest is. Stay motivated, optimistic and continue to grow both personally and professionally.
Photography by Ryan West https://www.ryanwestphoto.com/