Outlook Ohio News: In Scene with Encinas

Gerardo Encinas came to Columbus in 2001, traveling from northern México to work in his field of International Business. He soon met his partner, Miguel Estrada, who had a background in Photography and Graphic Design. Together they founded an event planning business that grew into a creative contracting company, offering services of photography, catering, and interior decorating. As they grew in popularity within the Hispanic community for their array of services, Gerardo and Miguel opened their first brick and mortar location in Columbus in 2010. By 2013 Gerardo was invited to organize and plan the Miss Ohio Latina state pageant, opening the doors to design evening and pageant gowns for the organization’s fashion shows and finale. He became co-director in 2014, designing his first full collection. In 2015 Encinas began a fashion blog under the name g.everydaystyle, which currently has over 23,000 followers. The blog focuses on pairing male pieces, coordination of colors and accessories in both casual and semi-formal looks, expanding his influence to the male fashion sector. In 2016 Encinas was one of six local designers showcased in the annual Columbus Fashion Week, with a collection inspired by his Mexican roots and the theme of legendary Mexican artist “Frida”.

SM: What made you choose to settle in Columbus Ohio over NYC or LA, especially as a designer.

GE: “In our culture, the potential support we can receive at a new location is more important than the location itself. I had family in Columbus, Ohio and that’s what drew me in. However, I also saw the vast opportunities a smaller, but vibrant and open city could bring me. NYC and LA are great places to visit, but my life, my work and my heart are all set in Columbus. We have a saying in Spanish that translates to “He who is a parrot, will be green anywhere he goes”. [El que es perico, en donde quiera es verde]”

SM: Tell us about your experience in Columbus Fashion Week last season, and are you planning on participating again this year?

GE: “I was initially nervous to participate, insecure about my English, and not knowing exactly what I would be coming up against, especially because I had such as strong stance on exposing Mexican influence in my designs, and even the music I chose while the pieces were showcased the day of the event. It was easily the first event where I felt that I could fully integrate my culture, and I have nothing but gratitude toward the CMH Fashion Week team as well as those who came to the various events throughout the year and supported my work, allowing me to converse more about my passions. If I am invited again, it is definitely something I would consider, it was a great experience.”

SM: What top three things does every man need to improve his style?

  1. Know who you are (know your “why”)
  2. Understand clothing fit
  3. Choose timeless pieces

SM: What are the key components to your collections, generally speaking?

GE: The collections I have generated thus far have all been inspired by the pageant industry. I strive to accentuate the woman’s figure in every one of my designs, creating dresses that are form fitting but elegant, in some instances making carefully selected sheer material the protagonist of my designs for a flirtatious twist that allows a body to peak through, while allowing a very feminine mystery to what lies underneath. I tend to use bold colors, and when using print, it tends to be either large and noticeable, or very sublime. I believe most of my pieces are exclamatory.”

SM: What has your experience w the Columbus LGBTQ community been like, and what would you love to see more of?

GE: “A refreshing change from the atmosphere in my hometown in Mexico, Columbus offers an LGBTQ community that is not only a large part of the city’s persona as a whole, but that among the community, there exists such a great amount of support, understanding, openness, diversity and pure fun. I would like to see more of the talent that undoubtedly exists come forth in an organized fashion to make our LGBTQ community not only a staple in our vibrant city, but also reason for our city to be known at a national and international level. There is so much potential here, we can be the pioneers of many new great things.”

SM: As an immigrant and contributing member to Ohio’s culture, creativity, and diversity, what’s one thing you’d like our readers to take away from current heightened political events affecting our community and country?

GE: “All generalizations are dangerous”, and to generalize any of the topics loaded in this question would require me to write a book. I am an immigrant. I am Latino. I am gay. There are so many political topics currently affecting each one of those communities mentioned both locally and nationally. I am a businessman and an artist, but never a politician. All I can truly say is that this country is the ONLY country in the world where anyone can come and do anything they set their mind to. This is what is attractive of this country; it was founded by immigrants and has become a world power thanks to the contributions by many talented people from all walks of life who were simply given an “opportunity”. Just as I state that it is imperative to fashion to know who you are, it is also imperative to life, and if we must poke our noses into politics, let us remember that politicians are elected to serve us, and it is US who must guide that service, and we should do so by truly knowing our roots, where we come from, and what we can contribute to the wellbeing of our society, in partnership, in cooperation, and in acceptance.”

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