I didn't grow up telling everyone I wanted to be a fashion designer. In fact, I was encouraged to be an engineer. My dad worked at NASA and tried to lure me into the same business, starting with the cashier position at the official NASA gift shop during the summers. I refused for many reasons; most importantly, I'd have to wear a space suit. I didn't have a huge interest in couture, just didn't want to look like a fool.
I went to U.T. and got a B.S. in advertising, then shipped myself out to New York City (expensive, gleaming portfolio in hand) and became a professional cocktail waitress, eventually working my way up to weekend bartender. After five years I moved to Los Angeles to work in Hollywood and got my first job with David E. Kelley Productions on the hit T.V. series, Ally McBeal.
Meanwhile, I had always coveted my Dad’s old white v-necks. The problem is if I had worn them in public, people would have offered me spare change to go buy a fresh one. They weren’t pretty, but they were comfy, darn it. So I decided to recreate one without the unsightly paint stains and yellow-ish tint. I came up with the perfect vintage white v-neck t-shirt for women. And people wore it.
I held two jobs as long as I could and eventually Nation LTD became so big that I had to leave "the biz," an industry in which I had spent nine wonderful years.
I never did wear the space suit like Dad wanted... But I’m still reaching for the stars.
My inspiration is my mom, Mary Lou Menchaca. This photo was taken by Dad, circa 1967.