Born in Puerto la Cruz, Venezuela, with Italian roots, Maritza Fernandez spent her childhood surrounded by water, mountains and homemade pasta. Her grandmother, Filomena became her role model and treasured friend. As a young child and through Filomena’s encouragement, Maritza began to develop her creativity and fashion-sense.
This led her to The Design Academy Institute in Caracas, Venezuela where Maritza graduated as a fashion designer in 1989. That same year Maritza moved to Tokyo, Japan, where she worked as assistant designer to Kyoko Higa at Rose is a Rose. In 1992, Maritza moved to Miami and continued her career with Kyoko, selling the clothing line in the United States. After 23 years as partners, Maritza and Kyoko decided to create a new line, Filomena Fernandez, based in Coral Gables Florida.
“We love the challenge of making the ‘go to’ white blouse a special one, that is original, comfortable and easy.”
Kyoko Higa, lives in Tokyo, Japan and has an extensive background in fashion and design. In 1975 she graduated from BUNKA Fashion College and joined the World Co., Ltd team as an apparel designer. After working ten years of working in the industry, Kyoko developed her first ladies brand in 1987, Rose is a Rose in Tokyo Japan. Soon after, she was nominated as a member of the Council of Fashion Designers and won the "Silver Yarn Award" at the International Linen Festival in Monte Carlo, Monaco.
In 1990 she founded Kyoko Higa Creation Inc., and she developed the Kyoko Higa line throughout Japan with great success. Throughout her career she has participated in several international exhibitions and has been interviewed and appeared in a variety of media outlets. Currently, Kyoko sells her own line through the BS broadcasting "shopping channel" in Japan.
When Kyoko and Maritza first met (back in 1989), they became fast friends. At the time, Kyoko was an established clothing designer with a fruitful career and Maritza, a young student with passion and spirit.
Maritza spent her years in Tokyo working with Kyoko as her assistant designer and the two formed an unforeseen lasting friendship. It was their similar fascination with playful silhouettes, admiration for elegant tailoring and curiosity for uncommon fabrics that allowed the duo to flourish as a team.
At Filomena Fernandez we take pattern and design making very seriously to ensure the final product is fashionable, comfortable and durable. Each product goes through a six month creation process, which begins when the designers meet in person, to conceptualize the impending collection. Together they brainstorm over mood boards, fabric samples, colors and cut-outs, until they develop a series of drawings.
The drawings materialize into products through the pattern making process that takes place in Tokyo, Japan. It then goes through a series of samples, where the designers meticulously analyze every zipper, pocket, button, fastening, opening, and overall style, look and fit. These pieces transform throughout the process until we feel they are ready for production.
Choice of fabric plays a very important role in the development of our clothing. Fabrics are chosen not only based on rarity, color, texture and pattern but also on price. We choose fabric that results in both great quality and affordable costs.
The hands-on approach used by the designers is the most effective way to ensure a collection that is desirable, unique, useful, and elegant.