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Designer Rose Paulino on Passion, Persistence, and Distinctive Fashion


Designer Rose Paulino on Passion, Persistence, and Distinctive Fashion

If you have a goal or a dream, but you’ve experienced some setbacks, you’re not alone: probably the majority of people are right there with you. In need of some inspiration? What about some glittering sequins to go along with it? You’ve come to the right place… 

LittlePinkTop interviewed Rose Paulino, a Latinx designer and self-taught seamstress who is taking her namesake brand to new heights. The female founder talked about her startup’s approach to design, retail, and marketing.

Rose Paulino, who came from the foster care system, also shared how personal hardships shaped her into the strong and motivated person she is today. She’s not just motivated, actually, she’s motivational. And honest. If you are just embarking on a career in fashion, Rose has some pieces of advice for you on how to get noticed and turn your passion, or even your frustrations, into a rewarding career. 

The Interview 

Your whole approach to design comes from a very personal place, turning something painful into something creative and aspirational. Could you share a little bit about that story and your mission?

As a former foster care child, I’ve been through so much. I’ve often felt stuck as if I couldn’t breathe. Until I was introduced to fashion, it became my emotional outlet. The time it stuck out the most was my first time in love. Unable to identify the bad pattern of abuse I fell right into it. One day who I thought was the love of my life left and I felt abandoned. The fear of abandonment is my biggest fear. He hurt hurt me where it really Hurt. I did not know what to do with all that pain. One evening, unable to sleep I let my hands get to work and created my first swimwear collection. In all darkness there is light, out of all that pain, something beautiful blossomed. That’s what I mean by that. 

You started as a customer service rep at Steve Madden before being recognized for your innate design talent. I know there are a lot of people working at entry-level positions in various companies and industries, sometimes with the secret hope of being noticed for their not immediately appreciated or still developing abilities.

What general advice do you have for someone who feels like their moment will never come? How important is it for women especially to communicate their interests and abilities, and how should they handle the issues of timing or tactfulness in the workplace?

I will say this, network as much as possible. Be friendly and share your thoughts. People will appreciate honest opinions. Don’t get employee star-struck. I treated Steve Madden like another person when I met him. Money doesn’t make anyone powerful, what makes you powerful is your mind. As I networked and met different people at Steve Madden, I met Micheal Roth. He inspired me and introduced me to the world of slippers. I started designing slippers and my LED slipper for kids is what got me noticed. Always be you and network, someone above is always watching. 

All your designs are made to order with uniquely crafted prints and patterns. How has that affected your brand’s approach to retail?

I started off as a made-to-order business. When Covid happened, my Macy’s deal went south. I lost so much money and inventory. It was then I had to be resilient and transition my business to retail. Today I make 2 of every size of each design. If customers want customizations, we discuss the alterations prior to shipping. Most customers end up buying standard sizing. 

These days, fashion brands have a lot of factors to consider when they pursue partnerships with celebrities or influencers. Many brands think that it’s important to make sure that everyone’s values are aligned. How did you decide that Carmen Carrera was the right brand ambassador for your venture? How does Carmen reflect your brand’s energy, philosophy, or approach?

I have to be honest and say that I met Carmen Carrera via Miami Swim Week 2018. I had no idea who she was, all I knew is she was beautiful and I wanted her in my gold metallic one piece. I learned more about her later on and even then all I saw was a beautiful, intelligent, confident, radiant, and bold woman. She was a different version of me, just like my designs and that’s why she aligns with my business. Her confidence lights up the room and that’s how I want all women to feel. 

How are people reacting to your designs? Has there been a particular compliment or review that you’ve received in response to one of your items that really touched you personally, or made you feel like you accomplished your fundamental goal?

People love my designs, they relate to the story behind each one. Each one is named after a woman I met who has inspired me at some point in my life. My favorite comment was made by my foster mom Sonia Galarza: “I am so proud of you, you’ve never forgotten where you come from — instead you embrace it.” It touched me because every design is me and me embracing my pain to inspire my younger brothers and sisters. If I can overcome so much, so can you. If I can be an entrepreneur, you can be one too. My business is the inspiration to inspire minds. That’s why a portion of sales is donated to the kids in foster care.

Wow! What a moving interview!

Now LittlePinkTop readers are probably curious about her clothing…  

The Clothes

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Passion and love can definitely be seen in her clothing. Rose Paulino creates styles that are truly special, with a highly creative and high-end feel.

This is exactly what I thought when LittlePinkTop received a complimentary sequin dress and lace jumpsuit from Rose Paulino.  

Photo from Rose Paulino

This multicolored sequin dress is a perfect choice for a Christmas party (the sparkles are inherently festive). The dress has a sweetheart neckline, which is universally flattering.

The sleeves are so wavy, and the sequins are so colorful, that I felt like an exotic bird in a tropical paradise while wearing this dress! To be honest, I can’t get enough of this dress but I need to pace myself because it’s more of a special occasion dress. I can’t just soar through the aisles of a CVS while wearing this dress… or can I? Hmmmm.

The flared sleeves that are narrower at the top and wide at the bottom are just unbelievably fancy and will catch everyone’s attention. You can place them on the shoulder for a more modest look, or wear it off-shoulder to make the look even sexier.

Rose Paulino also sent LittlePinkTop her brand’s lace jumpsuit, which is unequivocally sexy and provocative with its thigh-high slit and scallop detailing.

Photo from Rose Paulino

Jumpsuits have been worn stylishly by Chanel Iman, Heidi Klum, Hailey Bieber, Blair Eadie, Zendaya, and Emma Stone (view the images here). Jumpsuits are also wardrobe staples for “High School Musical” reboot star Sofia Wylie and “Black Widow” comic relief Florence Pugh.

To view other fashion creations from Rose Paulino, visit the brand’s website at (pssst there’s a sale right now)! 

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