Senia Soto from Jarix Fashions

Breaking into the fashion industry isn’t easy, but don’t tell that to 18-year-old Orlando designer Senia Jarix Soto. Her inaugural fashion show awed a full house at Leu Gardens, showcasing her playful but sophisticated designs. The event featured 21 pieces, from casual to formal wear, and plenty of entertainment, including live music acts and local media personalities.

Soft-spoken, shy, and hardworking, Senia not only designed every piece, but sewed them all, too. This drive and passion for designing has generated a lot of community and family support; her parents arranged the show for her 18th birthday to reward her dedication.

The first half of the show introduced animal-inspired pieces and sleek separates in the Into the Wild Collection, followed by the primarily black-and-white Battlefield Collection. Up next were the edgy Pink Rock and colorful and funky It’s a Vibrant Life collections. Pure Sophistication presented dramatic but feminine designer work attire.

Following intermission and a second round of live entertainment, the models returned with the striking metallic Golden Globes Award Collection. The finale’s glamorous gown, “Diamonds,” was worthy of the red carpet.

Orlando Style talked with Senia about her show and future plans.

Orlando Style: What sparked your interest in designing?
Senia Soto: When I was 13, I loved a TV show starring Raven Symone, where she used her everyday life to inspire her fashion designs. Watching the show inspired me to become a designer. Another famous show, Project Runway, was a huge stepping stone for me to follow my dreams and make my designs come to life.

On my 13th birthday, my aunt bought me a Project Runway sketch book and I started playing with different styles and colors, and that’s how I arrived to where I am today!

OS: Where does your inspiration come from?
SS: My inspiration comes from God. Sometimes, I find myself just going through my daily schedule and a dress just pops into my head … and sometimes I have dreams of new designs.

OS: Are you a fan of any specific designers?
SS: I am a huge fan of Michael Kors and of Project Runway winner, Anya Ayoung-chee. They both worked hard and never gave up on their dream.

Michael Kors began his journey as a young teenager. He endured many rejections, but he stood firm in his designs until he became a huge success in the fashion industry.

Ayna showed her audience her daily life through her work. She expressed herself by utilizing colors, patterns, and flowy fabrics to show that she’s proud to come from her island roots.

OS: Are you enjoying the increased attention?
SS: It’s definitely life-changing. I’m used to being quiet and reserved and working behind the scenes, where I don’t have to talk publicly. Now, stepping into this huge competitive industry, I’m learning to be outgoing and getting used to the attention.

OS: Are you planning a career in fashion design? What can we expect from you in the future?
SS: Yes! My goals in life are to own my own boutique by the age of 21, inspire young girls to follow their dreams, and to be a light in the fashion industry to show everyone that you can be classy without exposing too much of yourself. I’d also like to design for celebrities on the Red Carpet and win a “Fashion Designer of the Year” award.

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