When Elena Victoria was just twelve years old, her grandmother taught her how to sew.
While the two of them worked to complete curtains for her bedroom, she realized just how easy sewing was. She ran home that evening to start on her first dress. “I was filled with excitement over the scrappy dress,” she says with a laugh. “It was then I knew that I would someday become a fashion designer, deciding on the label ELENA VICTORIA.”
After finishing her degree in Fashion Design & Technology at Purdue University, Victoria was hired as a designer for Abercrombie Kids in Ohio, creating digital patterns and unique designs for their denim line.
Despite the new and exciting challenges that came with such a job, she longed for a more creative career. A year later, she left to start her own business, ELENA VICTORIA to teach youth how to sew and to chase after her dream of designing for her private label.
The company grew quickly, reaching over 700 students within five years. While her sewing class offerings grew, so did her custom design line.
“Before I graduated from Purdue, I had taught hundreds of students how to sew,” she says. “I developed a fun and unique program that simplifies the art of designing custom clothing, making it achievable for kids of all ages.”
When Victoria moved back to Chicago in May 2021, she left 700 students in Detroit in the capable hands of her teachers. She’s since cultivated her student base in Chicago and nearby suburbs, including Barrington.
“Our boutique sewing classes are taught by real designers in the industry looking to make a positive impact through their passion for art and design,” she explains. “As I continue to hire and recruit more talent, I’m able to take on more of the management role in overseeing these classes as a true business, while continuing to design gowns,” she says.
With so much attention to the quality programming she’s offering students, it’s hard to believe that this entrepreneur has any time to work on her custom designs.
“When I first started my dress line, I said ‘yes’ to too many things,” she remembers. “I think there was a year when I made 40 custom dresses. I was stretching myself too thin. Now that my brand is more established, I exclusively commit to four to six clients a year, allowing me to dedicate the proper time and energy into each design.”
It was Victoria’s own wedding gown that truly launched her as a reputable designer. “Once people discovered I had made my own gown, orders followed quickly,” she says. “Today, I love that I can design custom dresses for women of any age specifically made for them. It really is a dream come true.”
To learn more about ELENA VICTORIA, visit elenavictoria.co.