Being on the red carpet multiplies a designer’s fame and demand, as corroborated by Diego Medel, the Mexican designer who has caught the attention of Hollywood’s fashion industry and who recently opened the doors of Casa Robertas in South Omaha.
For someone like him who lives in this world of glamour and haute couture, the actresses, actors and musician who have worn his creations have become the best style reference for his clients, because his designs have been seen at the Oscars and the Golden Globes, setting the trend for what will be sold this season.
Medel is without a doubt living the American dream – no one would ever imagine he worked cleaning houses back in 2006.
He was born and raised in Michoacan, Mexico, where he met Berenice Rodriguez, a person who would play a crucial role later in his life when he decided to spread his wings in Omaha.
Ever since they were kids, they grew up to become great friends and each took a different road to the United States to try and make a name for themselves and their business.
Medel arrived in the United States back in 2004 after he had already become a haute couture designer. He had a college degree and several years of experience working on patterns, shoes, and glasswork. However, despite his experience in design and also in teaching programs that he created for single mothers in the city, when he got here he had to start by washing dishes. While he worked hard in going back to fashion, Berenice had become a mother and was struggling to keep her business buying and selling gold afloat.
“I was always a strong woman, but I had to work even harder to be able to fight in a world of men so that I could provide for my son,” said Berenice, who came to the United States in 1998.
“I got involved in very bad sentimental relationships, and I had to learn how to survive, finding out that I’m a woman who has to face life on her own, and that I shouldn’t be afraid of it,” she said, adding that, like her friend Medel, she also had to work cleaning floors and bathrooms.
It was in 2005 that Diego decided to once again venture into the world of fashion, and it was then that the phoenix was reborn.
“I moved to Los Angeles and after five years I was already on the red carpet at the Grammys, the Billboard, the Oscars, Cannes…it was amazing! Without a doubt, I began to live the American dream.”
As for Berenice, she was looking for a way to make a comeback after her jewelry business had to be shut down.
“I went back to cleaning houses, but I decided to aim higher,” said the now owner of a cleaning company with a solid set of clients that include both private homes as well as construction companies who are working on new buildings and who keep coming back to her.
They always kept in touch, so one day Berenice suggested to Diego that they should open up a store. This was a very ambitious project that motivated them and made them look for a place to make it a reality.
Berenice evaluated areas with a large economic growth and with a high demand from the Latino market. They soon realized that Omaha was the best option.
“I found the business district on Vinton St. and I learned about the growth in the area, but I was told it was impossible to get a place there. And it was true – I walked through the area, and it was packed. But one day a dear friend let me know that there was an open spot, and that’s when we began working on Casa Robertas.”
The location opened its doors in August, and Diego and Berenice were joined by diplomats, business owners, government officers, media outlets, family, and friends. The ribbon was cut by Minister Guadalupe Sánchez Salazar, Consul at the Mexican consulate, who recognized Casa Robertas for its hard work, showing what Mexicans who work hard can do.
Today, Diego and Berenice join their business and design talents to offer an alternative in fashion and haute couture, with a special focus on Quinceañeras.
“Every client has a dream of looking good at that big event, and it is our job to take that and make it become a reality in the patterns we design so that they can have the distinct Diego Medel look, creating unique dresses that can be delivered within the established budget and schedule, because any delay can make us lose money, not to mention our reputation and our clients,” said Berenice.
A few days after opening its doors, Casa Robertas has already presented fashion runways shows and has already received requests for dresses for Quinceañeras, for brides and even for local music groups. For now, Casa Robertas manufactures most of its creations in California, a place that most fashion designers call home and where Medel has managed to showcase his talent, not only for clothes but also for jewelry, tiaras, headdresses, bouquets, and shoes. Speaking of shows, he was recently called upon by Disney to design part of the shoes for the recent film Alice Through the Looking Glass.
“Diego and I are happy. We recently received a request from the Mexican Consulate to take care of the decorations for the official ceremony to celebrate the Independence of Mexico at the Museo Latino. This is a very important diplomatic event that will take place at the consulate, and it signals how Casa Robertas has truly been accepted in Omaha,” concluded Berenice, who along with Medel is working hard and making waves in the local fashion business as well.[:]