Behind the styles of some of the greatest athletes including NFL hotshots and NBA rockstars, stands Jhoanna Alba, the founder and principal designer of ALBA: Bespoke Clothing. She has created hundreds of styles for her famous clientele and has dressed sports heroes like Magic Johnson and Russell Westbrooke.
Having such a niche of unique customers, Alba has had quite the ride during her career. Her success lies in her ability to create what her clients want in a short time span.
We sat down with the athletic style guru to ask about her success in fashion and find out what it is like to dress superstars like Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Andre Drummond.
How did you end up in fashion?
My mother taught me how to sew by hand when I was six years old. I started sketching designs when I was 10 and making my own clothes. I always knew I wanted to be in the fashion industry.
One of my first jobs was working at a tuxedo shop in Beverly Hills. At 16, I was managing the highest volume tuxedo shop in the country. I loved working and styling Grooms for their wedding. I was styling major events and fell in love with menswear.
Tell us a little about your experience coming up in the fashion world - how competitive is it?
When I started my first company at the age of 21, I asked a lot of questions to potential clients. What would separate me from other companies? I took a lot of notes and executed a game plan. Feedback is important for the growth of any company. As far as competition, I do not believe there is competition in the fashion industry. Everyone has their own vision and purpose.
What's the craziest request you've ever had whilst making clothes?
I recently made this for Andre Drummond for The Espy's. Being 6'11, 280lbs, this was a unique design we created. We hand painted the jacket to give it a splash of color and completed the look we were going for. Red is Andre's favorite color so it was important to incorporate it on his suit.
How would you define your style?
Classic with a modern flare.
What is it like creating outfits for athletes - is it difficult given their different body dimensions?
Every client has their own input. It's a collaboration and my job is to educate them. With 36 different measurements, our master tailors cut the perfect fit for each individual.
How is it competing against the big male names within the industry?
Having a production house in DTLA, we are able to produce suits within 24 hours. ALBA is a very customer service driven company with our brand being the main focus. Other designers have their own business mottos that we respect.
What's your busiest season?
We are busy year round being we service NBA, MLB, and NFL. In addition, we have partnered with Robert Mata, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, stylists in which we manufacture clothes for the HBO hit show Ballers as well as his personal wardrobe. We also service clients in the entertainment industry, so nonetheless, we are busy year round.
What's next for you this year?
We have partnered with a family from Colombia where we have hired single mothers to make hand made custom shoes ranging from size 10-19. Our ultimate goal is to build a school across the street from the factory where their children can get an education, while their mothers work. It has been an honor working with Donum, which means blessed in Latin.
WRITTEN BYAmanda Jaguden