Personal and Business Growth In the Fashion Industry [Video]

With globalization, Latina executive Tina Trevino believes “The only thing constant in life is change”.


Editor’s note: this is part one of a two part series.

“The only thing constant in life is change”—a very well used quote these days is attributed to Greek philosopher, Hericlitus from around 500BC.

It’s a statement that holds true today especially when it comes to surviving the ever-changing market place. Being open to learning new skills, envisioning your business model in different creative ways and expanding our individual roles in business —these are a few of the ways in which we can continue to advance our careers, keep ourselves relevant in the marketplace and help to generate new streams of revenue.

Not everyone finds this “constant change” a comfortable concept, but for me— as the apparel industry has gone through its share of shifts and changes, my career path has kept me continuously challenged by giving me plenty of unexpected situations to prepare for, forcing me to adapt my skill set and make choices to learn and grow from.

Tina Trevino fashion patterns

Tina Trevino overseeing fashion patterns

At the time I entered the apparel industry in 1993, cell phones were only cell phones and not smart phones with purchasing power, the internet and were still in their infancy making globalization a yet unrealized concept, apparel retailers didn’t have their own product development teams built up and there was more than an abundance of brick and mortar stores looking for fresh new product.

Early on in my career

Early on in my career, I didn’t know what any of this really meant and my job was quite typical of what I would have expected, but as the landscape of business changed with globalization and technology turning the apparel industry on its head, my career soon became filled with many new experiences that I would have to learn how to handle.

I have to laugh as outsiders looking in to my career often see a glamorous, exciting industry…and sometimes it is, but so much of the “excitement” is typically generated by today’s rapid pace of changing business and what we do to grow and survive with it.

My 24 years of experience has been a continuous refining of my design skill set to take me from an assistant designer to a design director.

My first job right out of college

My first job right out of college was as an assistant designer for a company whose strength was domestic sweater production out of neighboring Brooklyn and Queens.

We did business with mass retailers like Target, Kmart, Wal-mart—as well as many retailers that don’t exist anymore like Caldor, Bradlees, Ames, Hills.

There was plenty of business to be had, the prices that retail could pay were enough to support domestic production, and it didn’t matter what the brand or label was on the product—if it was a great product at a good price, then it was enough.

It was an era before retailers had their own stables of private label brands, their own sourcing teams, and before the “business” of strategizing for initial mark-up requirements, mark-down strategies, and margin allowance became the norm in the apparel business.

Many of the salespeople who I worked with having been in the business prior to this era always said that I missed the good old days of the ‘80’s when the business was really good, there were no purse strings on spending allowances, and the relationships of the buyer to their salesperson were what kept the business flowing…. I may have missed that period, but even when I entered the working world in ’93, the business still looked bright and optimistic to me.


Tina Trevino fashion executive at KBL 

Next- Tina’s fashion industry growth

Tina Trevino
Tina Trevino
Tina Trevino, Partner & Director of Community Relations for Latin Biz Today is President & CEO of Tocaya Design under which she does design consulting for major apparel companies as well as designs, manufactures and markets her women’s lifestyle brand, Tocaya. With 25 years of industry experience most recently as Design Director of KBL Group Intl. Ltd., she has managed large creative design teams. Trevino provides insight on upcoming fashion trends for each season collaborating with designers, merchants and product development teams to help develop brand appropriate apparel. She specializes in sweaters, knits and wovens. Having previously worked with private label brands for stores like Kohl’s, NY & Co, White House|Black Market, and Ann Taylor to name a few as well as brands like Lee jeans, Wendy Williams, Brooke Shields Timeless, Torn by Ronny Kobo, and Whitney Port, she has the ability to build brands from the design and merchandising process all the way through fitting, production, and marketing.

Featured Items