Agustin Delgado is humble when talking about his work, yet when you see his red-carpet-worthy designs walk the runway, you would never guess the man behind these ethereal, bold looks is quite shy.
Growing up with his great-grandmother, Victoria Hernandez, in the city of Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, Delgado got his first taste for fashion at an early age. Hernandez was a seamstress who created and designed hand-sewn embroidered home goods and clothing. Her son, Delgado’s great-uncle, was a tailor. The two shared a design studio where Agustin was immersed in both womens and menswear.
At only 8 years old, Delgado left Mexico and his great-grandmother to be reunited with his parents in the United States in search of the American dream. Now 38 years old, he is a first-generation American, and for the last 16 years he’s called Omaha home.
A self-taught fashion designer, Delgado had his “aha” moment in junior high while learning how to sew in home economics. He stayed after school to get one-on-one lessons on patternmaking and fitting from his teacher, who later became his mentor.
The years between junior high and college were some of the most trying in Delgado’s life. When his family’s visa expired, the paperwork for Delgado and his siblings was lost in the immigration bureaucracy. This setback restricted the opportunities he could pursue, and ultimately led to him putting his dream on hold.
In 2014, he and his fiancee hired “an outstanding immigration attorney.” In a matter of a few weeks, his 25-year-long struggle to become a citizen finally came to an end. He’d made it.
Fortunately, he always kept sewing as a hobby. Many friends told Delgado he had the talent to be a fashion designer. He wasn’t so sure they were right until he started taking classes at Metropolitan Community College for fashion design last year and his dream was made new again.
“Now I have all this time that I lost because of my citizenship status, and I want to do everything I wasn’t able to do,” Delgado says. “It’s never too late to try something new, follow your dreams, and try to reach them.”
This spring, Delgado took a significant step toward living his dream. He showed in, and won, Omaha Fashion Week’s Innovate Featured Designer Showcase.
One of those friends he mentioned, Phillip McGuire, says he believes this is just the beginning for Delgado, who has made several pieces for McGuire’s drag alter ego, Phoenix Fallentino.
“His talent is endless. I think what’s so wonderful about him is he doesn’t reflect anyone, he’s truly himself,” McGuire says. “I told him after his Omaha Fashion Week runway show, his life is now changed.”
While the win was certainly a lovely feather in his cap, Delgado considers himself more artist than fashion designer due to his love for art and for the garments he creates. Drawing inspiration from designers Alexander McQueen, Charles James, and Guo Pei, and artist Frida Kahlo, he takes his time creating hand-beaded haute couture and avant-garde pieces that simply wow.
He says he enjoys learning everything he can about previous eras and incorporates those fashion elements into his work by modernizing them to his taste and today’s society.
“The past itself is where the future is at,” Delgado says.
Since winning the showcase at Omaha Fashion Week this spring, Delgado’s confidence in his work and his voice as a designer has soared. His plans are to expand nation- and worldwide next year and eventually call Paris home.
To live amongst all the oldest fashion houses would be a natural fit for him. His great-grandmother found similar inspiration for her work after seeing Coco Chanel’s house in Paris.
“I’m a strong believer that one must understand the past to understand the future,” he says. “I got it from my great-grandma. She believed our mistakes make us the better person that we’re going to be in the future.”
Makeup Artist: Natasha Patterson
Hair Stylist: Abigail Talkington
Set Stylist: Re’Chaun Styles
Models: Caitlyn Perman & Lena Makui
Visit amdelgado.com for more information about the designer.
This article was printed in the July/August 2018 edition of Encounter.