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Frank Polanco

Fashion for Passion Leads From the Runway to the Stage: Alberto Arroyo


Alberto Arroyo is a Puerto Rican fashion and costume designer and the founder of Arroyo Studio. Arroyo is a designer who considers fashion to be an extension of someone’s personality. While gifted in many artistic crafts Arroyo specializes in fashion. His creations range from resort wear, casual, ballet, theatre, costume, to burlesque – just to name a few.

A Genuine Passion for Different Kinds of Art

Since his early beginnings Arroyo has had a passion for the Arts. He loves to paint, draw, sculpture, and he has always been a creative person. The idea of being able to handcraft and see his own creations come to life has always been very fulfilling.

Growing up in his native Puerto Rico, Arroyo considered his mom to be one of his early muses. He got a lot of his inspiration from her. She was a fashion staple right at home. Seeing his mother getting all dressed up to attend many of the engagements she used to attend with her husband, who was an accountant, and a social activist was mesmerizing to him.

Fashion Lessons Right at Home

Arroyo comes from a big family. Having seven sisters and two brothers, he always found it interesting and was very connected with all that his sisters were learning in their home economics class. This was one of his early learning lessons right at home. His curiosity led him to learn something about pattern cutting and how to piece it all together.

Arroyo remembers making his first garment, a pajama for himself which turned out very decent. After that he started practicing by making dresses for his nieces, they became his models.

Searching New Beginnings

The 80s brought a much awaited turn of events to Arroyo’s quest to be a fashion designer. By now he knew that his artistic ability to construct a garment also required an education. That’s when he decided to approach Universidad Mundial in Puerto Rico, his dream school.  Arroyo was found they provided an excellent curriculum that met his needs so he enrolled. This school was a spring board for Arroyo into the world of fashion couture. Here he was able to learn a lot more about sketching, pattern making, draping, and how to perfect his skills as a designer.

This amazing part of his formation as a fashion couturier unfortunately came to a screeching halt when the school closed after his first year and a half. Arroyo was not able to finish but he was by no means done with his journey to become a designer extraordinaire.

In the early 90s Arroyo made the journey from Puerto Rico to Miami Beach in search of new beginnings and the ability to further his education. This was a very special era in South Beach. It offered Arroyo the opportunity to create unique and extravagant outfits for the many legendary and elite drag personalities that ruled South Beach’s nightlife. Those personalities included Adora, Damien D’Vine, Kevin Aviance, Paloma De Laruente and Sexilia, among others.

Oakland Park: A New Chapter for Arroyo

Years later Arroyo meets his significant other which led him to yet make another move to Oakland Park, Florida where he currently lives with his partner.

In 2001, while working full time, Arroyo enrolled at The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale. This was the place that prepared him on how to do computerized fashion pattern designs as well as how to do mass production, marketing, sourcing, merchandising and be able to work for a big company.  Arroyo earned the degree he had been in search of graduating with Associates Science of Fashion Design in 2004.

When working on his degree Arroyo gained invaluable experience,  especially when he created designs for a casual wear company based in Palm Beach. As the designer he had to travel frequently to the factory in Guatemala to oversee the production.

A Garment as a Form of Expression

Creating a garment is an art form for Alberto. He really enjoys the creative process, and finds it interesting how a garment may tell a different story from one woman to another. The language expressed based on their personality.

While his designs are in a large spectrum, Arroyo defines his fashion design style, casual but elegant and he can find inspiration in a painting, exotic destination, a color just about anything. He loves to work with silks, although very challenging to work with he loves the way it drapes, moves, looks as well as fabric that can be sculptured.

Fast forward to 2006 when Arroyo decided to open his own atelier in Oakland Park. Bearing the name Arroyo Designs, he created his own label focused on resort wear. A very tropical flair that included all types of garments locally handcrafted by Arroyo. Here he was also able to cater to his clients by private appointment. After a successful run Arroyo decided to move forward with other new exciting opportunities that were promising for his future.

The Theatre World Comes to Arroyo's Life

And just like that, The Theatre world came knocking on his door. Unlike creating his own line Alberto now moved into this new adventure and began working as the Resident Costume designer at The Cardwell Theatre in Boca Raton. This was a great experience that allowed him to grow and present his artistic ability for many audiences to enjoy.

Unlike a personal fashion designer, working for a Theatre company required for Alberto to share his creative vision with the Director who ultimately makes the final approval of the design. This is different from Arroyo’s previous work as a fashion designer because the vision of what goes down the catwalk is all the designers vision. Despite the shared vision Arroyo thrived in theater fashion design. 

The Head of Wardrobe for a Latin Sensation

Perhaps one of Arroyo’s highlights of his career has thus far been the opportunity to be able to work as The Head of Wardrobe for latin sensation super star Chayanne during his world tours from 2010 to 2019.

While the pandemic has been a challenge for everyone, Arroyo has used this time to once again explore his artistic side by creating new paintings as well as making facial cover masks, which are also available upon request.

No matter what the struggles or challenges Arroyo thinks that hard work, dedication and professionalism are the key to all of your success.

As a local resident of Oakland Park, Arroyo is available for private consultations for all of your personal and or commercial needs in the field of fashion design.

You can find more information on his official website and on his Instagram.


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