RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A high school senior attending George Wythe in Richmond received national recognition for his talent in fashion design.
Mateo Ascencio-Silvan is 18 years old, but he is already making his mark in the fashion world. At 16, Ascencio-Silvan’s designs were featured in two different shows for the 2017 New York Fashion Week.
“I did I whole collection like, kind of Mexican style for New York Fashion week,” Ascencio-Silvan said.
Since then, Ascencio-Silvan won second place at the Virginia State FCCLA, STAR event fashion category. Silvan also competed at the Shark Tank Competition through the Metropolitan Business League this year, where he placed third and won $300.
In July, the teen took his first plane ride and traveled to the FCCLA National Leadership Conference in California. The fashion designer came in third taking home a bronze medal.
As a child growing up in America, Ascencio-Silvan’s family kept Mexican customs alive. He told 8News he remembers playing dress-up with his sister or going to traditional Latino events like Quinceañeras.
“My family, we are a little extra I guess, they love dressing up, every party we used to go to they like buying something new and look the best every time and I feel like that carries on,” Ascencio-Silvan said.
Ascencio-Silvan draws inspiration from his Hispanic heritage to create his designs. But what most inspires the young designer is how hardworking Latinos are.
“[Hispanics are] go-getters, they are not afraid of anything that’s what motivates me to keep going and to grow actually,” Ascencio-Silvan told 8News.
The teen designs, sketches, embroiders and makes his own patterns, something his teacher Louquanda Hines said he should take more credit for.
“For me, I can say I am a really shy person and when I compete it’s a very different side of me, more confident, I feel like I am making a difference in like I feel like I can be the voice to somebody else,” Ascencio-Silvan said.
Mrs. Hines has been a key force when it comes to encouraging Mateo to compete and share his designs on a larger scale.
“If I had his talent at his age I would be super cocky, super confident and that’s a good thing though he is super humble,” Hines said.
Ascencio-Silvan said Mrs. Hines introduced him to recycle and redesign. Which helped the young fashion designer become more eco-friendly and use pass down materials, usually provided by Mrs. Hines, to make beautiful designs.
“If I can use something that people think is trash and make it into something amazing, I don’t know I just love it,” Ascencio-Silvan said.
Ascencio-Silvan hopes that his fashion career success inspires other students at his high school to keep being creative.
The young designer will be competing at the FCCLA conference this year. His goal is to win gold at both the state and national competition.
After high school graduation, Mateo said he would like to attend FIDM in California.
To check out Mateo’s designs click here.