Ernesto Santalla

Class of 2023

Ernesto Santalla


Fashion Design

What made you shift your focus from interior design & architecture to fashion design?

It was more than a shift — it was an expansion. My first degree was in architecture, which led to interior design. I developed an interest in graphic design and also pursued fine art photography and furniture design. I was always passionate about fashion, so when I discovered there is a Fashion Design program at Marymount, I knew that it was time to expand again.

Was there an impactful experience you had during your time at Marymount?

Shortly after I began producing garments that I designed and constructed, the pandemic hit. With remote learning, these garments were never shown in public. My first runway show was at Portfolio in Motion 2022 and I watched these garments come alive. It was an extraordinary moment in my development as a fashion designer.

How has your Marymount experience helped you or your fashion label?

In Fall 2023, my professor Julia Ravindran forwarded me an email from the Tamron Hall Show for their up-and-coming designer series. The producers thanked me and said I wasn’t selected, but also that they’d keep my name on their list. This past January, another email came and I resubmitted. This time, I was invited to be on the show. It was an unforgettable experience to have my work shown on such a huge platform.

An example of Ernesto Santalla's design work

Where do you get inspiration for your designs?

I went to Spain before I produced my senior line and I was inspired by the country, the people and their passion for life.

What do you want to accomplish next in fashion design?

I started pursuing sustainable couture at Marymount, and I will continue with that focus moving forward. I am also developing a line of gender-inclusive garments.

What advice do you want to give current Fashion Design students?

Find what you are passionate about and pursue that, whatever it is. And then strive to be extraordinary. You can get anything you authentically want.

To learn more about Ernesto’s work, visit his portfolio website.