5 questions with Nicolas Villalba
Nicolas Villalba, a third generation Texan, graduated from the Fashion Design program at the University of North Texas with honors. He has won several national and international awards for his couture skills. In 2002, he began his own label and shop. Owner and designer of Nicolas Couture for the Body + Couture for the Home, he is this year’s DIFFA Style Council chair.
Why are fashion and design significant in today’s society?
Fashion is the ultimate method of expression. People use it as a means to convey personalities, attitudes, moods, messages and status. Especially nowadays, when the global community is so accessible via media, the use of fashion has really morphed from a simple wardrobe concept to a very influential world-wide commodity. Its impact is staggering.
What do you hope to accomplish as DIFFA’s Style Council chair?
My hope is to develop the humanitarian aspect of the council. Yes, these people are admired for their stylish wardrobes and lifestyles, but I wanted to tap into their inner panache. By pairing each member with one of DIFFA’s AIDS service organizations, they not only get to see where the funds they are raising are being utilized, they also have an opportunity to meet people living with HIV/AIDS. I wanted each member to learn first hand why there is a need for organizations like DIFFA, and why we need to find a cure ASAP.
How did you learn design?
Both of my grandmothers were seamstresses, and kept me busy as a child with sewing lessons. I literally was sewing with needle and thread at age five. For show-and-tell in elementary school, I would put on a little fashion show with clothes I made for my dolls. Not long after, I was selling custom doll clothes for a premium price on the playground.
How is the design industry related to the LGBT community? What does that mean to you?
In 1984, a group of designers in New York came together to do something about a mysterious disease that was killing friends and colleagues quickly and mercilessly. Twenty years later, that organization has grown to become one of the top fundraisers in the nation for HIV/AIDS. I am proud to be involved with such a dedicated group of people, and feel it my responsibility as a designer and as a gay man to participate in this battle.
Where else do you volunteer?
This is my 11th year volunteering for DIFFA, but I also work with Legacy Cottage and JPS Healing Wings. I encourage everyone to visit an AIDS service organization at least once. I promise you, it will change your life, and bring so much support to the people who need it most. What better gift to give than a few hours of your time bringing a little companionship and cheer to those struggling for life?
Soundout is a weekly column featuring people whose jobs and interests have an impact on the daily lives of members of the GLBT community. It features those who often go unnoticed by the press and community. If you’d like to recommend someone to cover in this column, contact staff writer Beth Freed at firstname.lastname@example.org
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, December 22, 2006.