one powerful petite.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

I first stumbled upon Carolina Alvo after bonding with my boyfriend's mother one morning. For the life of us, we (I at 5'0, she at 4'11) couldn't understand why the petites section of stores were either 1. very small (were the retailers trying to be cute?) or, 2. catered to either very young/elderly women. There was no true variety, no uniform petite sizes across the board (sometimes not even in the same store), and let's not even talk about the never-ending struggle to find a proper fitting pair of pants! There were stores dedicated to curvy women, lines for the statuesque, but very limited options for petites.

So, that night I took to Google and found Carolina Misan Alvo, a 4'9" petite fashionista who decided that if no one was making the clothes that she needed, she was going to take matters into her own hands and make them herself. An event showcasing her debut line was just a few days later (talk about great timing) and I had the opportunity to view the collection and meet the Chief Petite in person! Not only was Carolina bubbly and down-to-earth, but her collection is a total game changer. Her line features 5 wardrobe essentials every woman needs in her closet, with the ability to customize everything from sleeve length to hemline on every single piece. The days of crying over 29"+ inseams and comically long sleeve lengths may finally be coming to a close!
Carolina was kind enough to answer questions regarding her collection and the inspiration behind it, and I'm so excited to share her interview! Fellow fashionistas and little ladies, meet Ms. Alvo:

Carolina AlvoTell us a little bit about yourself!: My name is Carolina and I’m the CEO & Founder of Carolina Alvo, a petite fashion brand. I am 4’9” and shopping has always been a nightmare for me, and after obsessively thinking about how there should be a better way for the 50 million+ petite women in the US to shop, I decided I had to do something about it myself!

  • What was the tipping point to make you say, "I'm taking the plunge and making these pieces myself!": Last year I started my company as a petite retailer, where I brought together other petite and petite-friendly clothing for a sale in one place. However, the selection of petite pieces was so limited, that I wasn’t able to find the most basic pieces, like a little black dress or an essential dress pant. Once I realized that I was never going to be able to create the shopping experience I envisioned because the existing supply was too constraining, it was an easy choice to change course and start to develop my own brand.
  • Where did you gather inspiration for your debut line?: The women of New York are definitely the inspiration behind my brand. I feel very lucky that I’ve gotten to meet so many amazing women since I started working in this great city seven years ago; they are smart, super hard-working, and making huge strides in changing this city, their industry and the world for future generations. I wanted to make a collection that could fit seamlessly into their lives and make them feel fabulous and put together so they can move along to the other great things they have to do in their day.
  • What was the first article of clothing from the collection that you designed?: I can’t remember exactly, because I think I had a pretty clear picture for each piece all at the same time. But once we started working on the nitty-gritty details, I think I started working on the blazer first because that was the piece I was most excited about.
The Carolina Alvo Line
  • What is the next perfect piece that you are most looking forward to adding to your line in the future?: That’s a great question, but I think the customer will drive what’s next. I’ll always stay true to my point of view, but if there is a clear pain point that a lot of customers are bringing up, chances are I will go after that and see if there is a way we can solve it.
  • If you could take any designer collaborate with you on an exclusively petite line who would it be and why?: Good question – I am going to have to think about this one. Probably someone who does a lot with prints because it would be a great way to bring in a different perspective to my very simple aesthetic. Which one is a tough question…
  • And last, but not least, what is your favorite petite fashion hack (i.e. buying regular ankle pants to wear as petite pants; rocking midi dresses as maxi dresses): Ha! I’ve definitely done all those things you’ve mentioned. But since starting this business I’ve been much more of a stickler for how things fit, so I won’t rock an ankle pant as a regular pant because I’ll look at things like the knee placement and see it’s off and it will drive me crazy! I don’t know if it’s considered a hack, but I always tend to make a point of shopping a lot when I’m abroad (I travel a lot to Latin America) because they clothes tend to be made for much shorter women.  My hope is that through Carolina Alvo I’ll have to eliminate the need for hacks all together :)

I could not agree more!
If you're a petite looking for a killer, fit-like-a-glove suit or the chicest rendition of the LBD a la Holly Golightly (that won't warrant a trip to the tailor's), check out Carolina Alvo

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