Designer Trina Turk: Cool and on Trend

Having a long relationship with a design house can pay off with extra benefits, like the surprise we received recently from Trina Turk, that iconic lifestyle brand that’s perfect for our region.
The designer’s collections have been successful at Tres Mariposas for many years and we were thrilled when they sent us a delightful bonus addition to regular shipment: a fun package of popular pieces from their pre-fall collection.

We’re holding a special two-week Trina Turk trunk show where you can buy these limited bonus items on the spot. Women love the fresh Trina Turk look, which celebrates cool and casual “California modernism,” as Trina calls it.
Founded in 1995 by Trina and her husband, Jonathan Skow, a stylist who became an expert photographer, the company has a consistent appeal that hasn’t changed in 20 years. Trina Turk’s success involves the best of classic American design, yet staying on trend.

I thought about why Trina Turk has been successful at Tres Mariposas for a sustained period of time, and here are a few reasons:

Trina Turk’s fuchsia lace skirt

Trina Turk’s fuchsia lace skirt

• Color. Trina Turk’s line consistently includes bright colors. El Paso women always want color. When we’re shopping the fashion markets, finding enough color is always a challenge and Trina Turk offers great options.

Zigzag print dress

Zigzag print dress

• Prints. Women in El Paso and Juárez seem to want clothing that is interesting, energizing and visually engaging. That means that many women find solid color apparel a bit lackluster. Vibrant patterns are part of Trina’s DNA.

Fuchsia romper

Fuchsia romper

• Youthful styling that fits. It’s easy to find youthful-looking apparel. But youthful-looking outfits that look good on a normal body? That’s another story. Trina gets it right. Her fit is relaxed and works for a women of a wide age range.

Over the years, I’ve learned a bit about Trina. I find it interesting that Trina’s mom taught her how to sew when she was 11. Her mother was a creative seamstress who showed her how to modify a pattern and make it her own style.
“In the old days of home sewing, you basically bought a pattern and made the style as it was pictured,” Trina recalls on her website. “But my mother showed me how you could change the style. That lit a light bulb in my head.” The idea led Trina to launch her namesake brand in her apartment’s spare bedroom in 1995.

Amazingly, Trina has been successful for 20 years – but she didn’t start off with a business plan or manufacturing experience. Sometimes it seems that so many young women – including every other job applicant who comes into Tres – aspire to be successful fashion designers. Most have no idea what it really takes.

“A challenge I faced was naiveté: not really knowing what I was getting myself into,” Trina Turk says. “I never did a business plan and had I done one, I would have scared myself out of starting, because the idea of starting an apparel company from the ground up is a daunting proposition. But I was on a mission to do it so I thought ‘I’ll just do this!’”

To help the Trina Turk look come alive for this column, Eduardo Munoz, who does our social media photography, did his magic. Eduardo has a “day job” at BMW of El Paso, but he’s also a very talented photographer. With the rise of social media, many retailers post to Facebook, Instagram and so forth. This has created a new cottage industry and given a platform to many amazing photographic artists. I am really appreciative of Eduardo’s talent.

The model, Keri Smithers, is another talented young person. Keri works almost behind the scenes as an assistant in the Tres Mariposas fine jewelry department. She has also been a great model for our social media photography, another new role prompted by digital marketing. She is slender, sweet, unpretentious – and an natural fashion model. If we take a photo of five models in the same outfit, photographs of Keri will invariably look the best. She is not a traditional “glamour girl,” but it’s as if she has a secret magic. I’m also really appreciative of Keri and her talent.

Here are some of Eduardo’s pictures of Keri in typical Trina Turk styles, including “the romper,” basically a jumpsuit that’s short instead of full-length, and lace that’s young and hip. As you know, prints have their own fashion cycles, and zigzags are in. These prints can be bold and bright – it just takes the right attitude to wear this on-trend look!