Brownsville native makes dreams come true designing for Disney on Broadway - Brownsville Herald: Local News

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Brownsville native makes dreams come true designing for Disney on Broadway

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Posted: Sunday, August 25, 2019 9:40 pm

Marianna Gonzalez started developing her love for fashion design at an early age. Her first designs were for the “Trash Fashion Show” at Saint Joseph Academy several years ago and now, living in New York, she won a competition to design for Disney and has worked for the Vogue Fashion Fund.

Gonzalez is a Fashion Design major with a minor in Art History at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. Scheduled to graduate in 2020, she hopes to continue designing and being able to share her love for fashion with the world.

“I started with art at a super young age and I’ve always loved everything that had to do with art,” she said. “I come from a very artistic family, my grandmother is an artist and I was probably 4 when I was in my first art class and there, I discovered that I like to express myself with anything.”

Gonzalez was one of the few selected out of more than 100 applicants to design a costume for Disney on Broadway. She designed two pieces for Jane from Tarzan to celebrate Disney’s on Broadway 25th anniversary.

“There were 10 characters to choose from and Tarzan has been my favorite movie since I was very young, so I knew that I wanted to do Jane and I wanted to design for her,” she said. “They wanted for us to visualize what the characters would wear now and create two looks, one for the day and one for the evening.”

The young designer was notified she had won the contest in May and soon after she started meeting with Disney to work on the project while still going to school full time and working at MONSE, a fashion brand. The dresses will be part of an exhibit in the Art and Design Gallery at FIT.

“When I won for Jane I was so, so happy because I’ve loved Disney my whole life. I grew up with Disney and Tarzan was my favorite movie,” she said. “I love Jane and I love that she is so eccentric and intelligent and that she cares so much for animals. As I was designing, I found more and more similarities between her and I.”

During her high school years, Gonzalez made dresses out of coke cans, wires, fishing nets, toiler paper rolls, magazines and newspapers for her high school recycled fashion show. Since she was in middle school, she dreamt of the day of finally being able to design and show her dresses to the whole school.

“I couldn’t wait for the day when I would be able to design a dress for that show,” she said. “I designed my first dress when I was 15 and I made it out of coke cans and I made another dress out of magazines and as the years went by, I started to think of other things that I could also use for dresses.

“The following years I made it out of paper toilet rolls, I did another of newspaper and the following year I remember my dad was remodeling his office and there were a lot of cable wires and I made a dress out of that.”

When the time to start thinking about college came, Gonzalez was already sure that she had to leave to New York City if she wanted to pursue a career in Fashion Design. She visited the Big Apple several times before finally moving there. Every time she visited, she would fall in love with the city more and more each time.

“I remember when I was in tenth grade I was looking for the best fashion design schools in the country and they were all in New York,” Gonzalez said. “I remember when I went with my mother and grandmother to New York to visit the colleges … after going to FIT, we went to Parsons and they had a fashion show that was FIT versus Parsons and in my head I said ‘I’m going to go to the school that wins’ and so FIT won that year which was like a sign, FIT hadn’t won in such a long time.”

The young designer said she would not be able to be doing everything she does today without the support from her parents. She said they are her biggest fans and the ones who encouraged her to leave her home and go to New York to achieve her dreams.

“My parents have always been super supportive. I couldn’t be doing this without them because they are my number one fans and part of the reason why I left was because they really encouraged me to do so,” Gonzalez said. “I’m very close with my family so if they wouldn’t have insisted, I don’t think I would have had the guts to actually go. I remember having this conversation with my dad, we were both in the living room and he said ‘this is what you have to do, you were born to do this’ so I decided I was going to FIT.”

Gonzalez said living in New York is a dream come true and she hopes to one day become a creative director for a fashion brand.Her favorite designers are Christian Dior, Carolina Herrera and Oscar de la Renta.

“I knew that I was supposed to be in New York” she said. “When I moved there and it became true, I was like ‘wow, this is real life and is no longer a dream’.”

nreyna@brownsvilleherald.com

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