Alumnae Spotlight: Meg Zaragoza Velleca, Class of 1998
Her passion for clothing design began at the young age of four, and never stopped. She started drawing dresses; she loved textiles, color, and clothing, and knew that she was destined for more. Class of 1998 alumna, Meg Zaragoza Velleca, says that her parents played a huge role in her journey to becoming successful in the clothing design industry.
Meg is the Senior Design Director of Childrenswear at Vineyard Vines, focusing her attention on boys, girls, and baby products for Vineyard Vines, and has been with the company for more than 8 years.. Designing for this colorful brand is more than just putting pen to paper. Each design tells a story that evolves from Meg’s close collaboration with the marketing and creative teams. They work together to ensure that each story comes alive for their customers. Meg works with the founders of Vineyard Vines, Shep and Ian, to discuss the people and places that have had an impact on their lives, and their vision for the company, designs, and stories that each piece tells.
Meg reflects on the people and places that have made an impact on her life, and attributes a lot of her success to the support of her parents, and the opportunities they gave her to learn to sew, read books on designers, and taking drawing and painting classes. While wanting to go straight to New York to be in the heart of clothing design, Meg instead went to Florida State University where she majored in Apparel Design. The weekend of her graduation, her dream of moving to New York City came true when her close friend asked her to move into an apartment with her. Meg immediately said yes, and that’s when the rest of her future began.
Meg started her clothing design career as the second-ever employee at CK Bradley in New York, serving as the production manager and designer. Spending a lot of time in New York City’s garment district in factories, it was here that she learned where she wanted to go next in her career – a more design-focused job was her strength and passion. From there, she moved to another company, Milly NY, where she spent more than 8 years serving as the lead designer and the founder’s first assistant. Working at Milly gave Meg the opportunity to learn more about design and prints, and even worked on runway shows twice a year. Meg took to Paris a number of times for research and fabric sourcing, but that wasn’t the only time she traveled around the globe.
After leaving Milly NY, Meg went to Vineyard Vines, where she has had held numerous positions, including the head of Women’s design and men’s design, before landing the Senior Design Director of Childrenswear. Traveling to countries such as Bermuda, China, Hong Kong, Thailand, and Colombia. One of her favorite places to visit though is India, because it’s different than any place she’s ever been. “The people are generous and kind, the architecture is beautiful, the culture is fascinating, the use of colors is amazing, the fabrics, prints and the hand - embroidery work is delicious for any designer to see!”
One of the most rewarding parts of her job, Meg says, is seeing someone walking down the street, in the grocery store, or at a party, wearing a piece of clothing that she designed. Doing something that you love is important, and even more, she says that “the most important thing to remember on a daily basis, is that you have to be happy with all of the goals you reach, whether they’re big or small.”
Read more about Meg’s thoughts on Holy Child and the future of the retail industry below!
Does one teacher or class stand out to you from your time at Holy Child?
Hands down Mrs. Nem! I loved her classes and spending time with her. She taught me so much about art and always encouraged my passion to work in the clothing industry.
Is there anything about your Holy Child experience that continues to guide you today?
I had so many positive experiences that’s it hard to pinpoint just one. I loved the all-girls atmosphere and can’t express my gratitude for how the faculty and staff fostered such a positive environment, which helped me to gain confidence in many aspects of my life. The friendships that I have coming out of Holy Child are by far the most important to me. Annie Larson Corcoran, Mariel Sosa Cortese and Keagan Resler Lenihan are still my closest friends. They are incredible and accomplished women that I am proud to still have by my side.
What is the best piece of advice to a Holy Child student or alumna who is pursing her career/dream?
Talk to anyone and everyone about your dream; you never know who can put you in touch with the next big step to reaching your goal. Research and learn as much as you can about the career you want. Learn all computer programs needed for your dream job. Do an internship. My biggest career regret is not doing an internship that Hermes of Paris offered me, but then again, I am pretty darn happy with where I have landed so far.
What types of changes to you foresee taking place in the retail industry due to the COVID-19 pandemic?
Nothing will be as it was for sure. I think people will be more conservative shoppers; they will focus on quality, and will buy things from brands that they believe in.
Written by: Krista Montes de Oca Kelly '05
Do you know of a Holy Child alumna with an interesting career, service project, or hobby that we should spotlight? Send suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org!