Giovanni Sanchez

Through Grit Comes Fashion

Designer garments come from a place of creativity. Think about all the hours that are poured into choosing the perfect fabric and color, creating the style and the cut. The needle and the thread, the pins, the scissors, and the vision, all working tirelessly for that one special piece. There is no doubt about it that designers are hardworking, dedicated, and tremendously imaginative. However, every now and again, a designer comes along that has all of these components and makes gorgeous pieces, but paired with that has a story to tell about perseverance, passion, and strength that is truly remarkable. Giovanni Sanchez of Studio GV in New York city, has such a story.

Giovanni began his journey in Costa Rica at 16 years of age. In a unique twist, his start in the fashion industry was with not with gowns but with napkins. Taken under the wing of designer Orlando Gonzalez, Giovanni was taught to create intricate paintings of fruit onto cloth napkins that they later sold as artisan gifts. The popularity of the napkins grew considerably and women began requesting the paintings be applied to the front of blouses as well. Noticing the interest of the community for custom clothing and realizing his skills were limited, Giovanni entered the design school of the Modern System Verona. He took advantage of every opportunity possible to learn and build his skills set, and began creating his own pieces. His passion continued to blossom as he entered his works into fashion runway shows. His designs began getting noticed by very influential people such as the First Ladies of Costa Rica, celebrities, and singers. He found himself quite busy working every single day while mastering his skills.

One of the most interesting things about Giovanni is where his path went next. Not only did he start in the fashion industry in a unique way with his grape painted napkins, but before he ended up in New York City with his own fashion design company, Giovanni had a few more twists and turns. First, he worked in two seminaries making pants, shirts, and habits for the brothers. The second seminary he worked for was struggling financially. With a generous heart he started selling his skills as a tailor to raise money for the convent. He made wedding dresses and men’s suits and gave his proceeds to the convent for food and other necessities

With his hand in design again, Giovanni realized he missed the fashion world and opened up his own shop. He worked with journalists and television stars, and he was even featured in the newspaper “Al Dia, Queens of Beauty”. But with every new adventure, Giovanni’s drive to grow and learn took over him and he was back in school at the National Institute of Learning taking an online industrial pattern course. Before he knew it he was making garments in mass production for Capaz Vaqueras, a company that supplies uniforms for the US Army. He then started working for Canada, Chile, and Brazil making patterns for VF and Goretex companies.

Fashion Designer Gio Sanchez

Giovanni has had his hand in so many different styles. At this point in his life he has made clothing, seminary habits, army uniforms, and he even started making theater costumes for Opera Don Giovanni. But it was after helping to prepare the collection for Sonia Chang Diaz, a very prestigious designer in Costa Rica, that he really got courageous. It was then that he was inspired to take his dreams, his passion, and his vast skill set and move to America to make it as a top fashion designer.

His first big move to Denver, Colorado to live with his brother yielded nothing in the fashion world. He worked hard in the construction business and continued to put away money and allow his dream to keep him motivated. Gifted with some money his sister sent him, and armed with his savings and his sewing machine, Giovanni began his 3 day journey across the states to New Jersey. He, fortunately did find some work right away as a cutter and pattern maker for a Brazilian designer. He also continued doing odd jobs such as gardening, painting houses, and making clothing for friends. As an illegal immigrant, he struggled to stay afloat but his dream kept him from sinking.

And as Cinderella story as it may sound, Giovanni met this incredible, handsome, and successful lawyer who supported and adored him. They fell and love and got married. Now that he was a US resident, Giovanni’s husband encouraged him to make his dreams happen. So finally, after years outside of the fashion world and it all but a dream, Studio GV was born. Since then he has had numerous fashion designers hire him to make their pieces for their new collections. His first designer was Laquan Smith, who hired Giovanni to make pieces for each of his collections for NYFW. Through him, Giovanni has made costumes for Beyoncé, Niky Minaj, Rihanna, Kim Kardashian, Cardi B, and many others.

Through all this success and happiness, Giovanni still kept looking for opportunities. He still felt the need to grow and stretch his arms out further. He applied for a job working at FIT in their MFA Fashion Design program. Through that program he met Ethan Ianniello, a Fashion Designer with FIT. Together Ethan and Giovanni created a collection to be launched at the Costa Rica Fashion Week event. Although they were based in New York, they wanted to stay true to their roots and create a line that embodied the feel of Costa Rican and Latin American Women while infusing the style of New York with it. They decided to keep the collection small to start so that their focus could be on quality. The collection features colors and cuts that reference the 80’s glam era. They also put a huge emphasis on comfort, creating wearable styles that are short with a long overlay giving a modern take on an old throwback.

Giovanni’s story is intense, starting at such a young age and then working tirelessly for decades in seminaries, through poverty, in opera houses and making military uniforms in bulk. He has traveled miles with a sewing machine on his lap and has graduated from as many educational programs as he could get his hands on. He has gone from hemming pants, to creating wedding dresses, to putting together his very own fashion collection. He has worked tediously to raise money for his convent taking care of the poor congregation, and has now fallen in love with a man who helped take care of his dreams.

Giovanni has not only an incredible eye for quality and style, he has grit. His story sounds like it is at the end, but honestly, his story is just now beginning. This new chapter is the start of the story he always wanted to tell, one of Fashion Design. A story loved and adored, by not only the people in the industry, but by people everywhere.

To find his designs, go to his storefront at 152 West 36 Street Suite 204, New York City, NY 10018
Or contact him at 732-789-0202

You may also visit his Facebook Page GV Studio or Instagram @Giovanni_sanchez_Studio_GV_nyc or his website giovalente.com

Images from Costa Rica Fashion Week Runway Show