As the bus turns on to East Main Street in Rochester, New York, we catch a glimpse of Raul Siro Ferreirra, fast at work completing a custom Civil War inspired suit jacket for a clients upcoming nuptials. Raul is not only a world renowned designer; he is the owner of a hidden fashion gem, tucked away in one of Roc City’s most creative and eclectic locations, The Village Gate. Each 1 Stitch 1 is a sewing house that provides everything from sewing machines to t-shirt presses for use by anyone—including the designing rookie or the seasoned seamstress. As we entered the facility, we were warmly welcomed by Raul and invited to take in the atmosphere of a designer. One wall donned racks of designs that were not only created by Raul but also by up and coming hopefuls and students.
Raul was an open book and candid about his modest beginnings in the fashion industry. A native of Queens, he began sewing at the age of 9 making his own clothing but found there were not enough patterns available for boys. This prompted him as a preteen to begin creating his own patterns. Another fact is his original career path was that of a veterinarian. He graduated from Cornell University and along with a friend opened up a practice which was short lived for Raul as he found his allergy to cats was too much to manage. This gave way to reigniting the designer’s spark.
Back to NYC he went, where he studied and graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT). He went on to design all over the world including for Calvin Klein, Broadway and the costumes for Spiderman 2!! In 2007 he decided to begin his own business as he believed Rochester had a talent pool and a market for manufacturing along with tax incentives. Unfortunately the business fell prey to the recession but Raul did not give way to defeat.
Lemons? No way! He turned these circumstances into a tall glass of lemonade, creating, Each 1 Stitch 1. As he shared his journey with my fellow students and me, he would at times give way to a slight chuckle which would follow his words of fashion business truths. He advised us to stay true to ourselves and business comes first. Friends and associates will try to monopolize your time but you must insist on taking care of your customers first as it is business not personal. Also, know your niche as a designer, as you should only be making a limited amount of merchandise until you have a profitable client base. His hope is to continuing growing his business and paving the way for all who want to learn construction and design, especially the youth who otherwise would not be afforded the opportunity to explore their creativity. As a parting sentiment of inspiration, he let the students take remnants from his material collection. Raul’s love for fashion is evident. A veteran of Rochester’s Fashion Week, he still has a lot of designs left to share. Stay tuned as we are sure to see more fabulous fashions in the very near future.
Interested in broadening your sewing technique? Each 1 Stitch 1 located at 1115 East Main Street, Rochester, New York. The facilities are available for a low nominal fee; $10 per hr, $50 for 20 visits and $100.00 per month for unlimited visits. Private instruction available upon request. www.each1stitch1.com
Written by Raquel Goff