In this monthly series, IFA Paris alumni share how their studies at IFA Paris has paved the way to land their dream job. This month, we talk with Ivo Barraza Castaneda, a Bachelor Fashion Design & Technology graduate. From sewing his own Pokémon toys as a child to launching his own fashion brand, read how IFA Paris helped play a part in Ivo’s fashion journey.

Get to know:

Name: Ivo Barraza Castaneda
Nationality: El Salvador, from a town called Santa Ana
IFA Campus: Paris
Program studied: Bachelor in Fashion Design & Technology
Favourite course: Fashion Design. The course teacher Delphine Durieux, is probably the best mentor I’ve had. She has pure creativity running in her blood. When she’s working with you, it’s like she is able to go into your creative universe and guide you on whatever path you’re taking instead of shaping you into something you’re not. She really improves who you are.Chicken Turtle Collection
Current project
: I’m doing several things but the main ones are my own brand, Torofée, and Creative Director for a men’s wear brand called Buster.
Fashion inspiration: Alexander Köhler – he has an easiness of “being” and everything he chooses to wear is absolute perfection. He was actually my muse when I drew my Chicken Turtle, which was the theme of my first collection showcased during the Paris Fashion Week. I literally drew him as a Chicken Turtle.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your background – who you are, where you come from and what got you interested in studying fashion.

I was very creative since I was little, I guess it’s in my genes as my father was also very creative. I have pictures of me when I was like three, wearing costumes sewn by him. My mum too, she’s a teacher and I remember her always talking about her ideas, how she was going to do things differently than the others.

I learned how to sew at 5 years old and I was mainly sewing toys. I come from a small town so there weren’t any toy stores around me, so if I wanted to play with Pokemon toys, I had to sew them…and I would stay up all night doing so! As a teenager I made my own clothes and modified them.

When I realised I could become a fashion designer as a career, I knew this is what I wanted to do and never looked back. 

Chicken Turtle CollectionWhat are you currently doing and what’s most exciting about it?

I recently launched my brand Torofée during Women’s Wear Fashion Week in Paris. I’m extremely hands-on and creating gives me this literal chemical reaction in my body, a fire. When I’m in front of the mannequin and I’m creating, orchestrating, looking at how to do things in a different way, and seeing everything transform and grow. It’s a very satisfying process.

For Buster it’s a bit different because it’s an already established brand from El Salvador. I’m now launching the brand in Paris as creative director. Despite the fact that the brand is small, they own the factories where the clothes are made. So the creative  possibilities are really infinite, it’s just a matter of asking what I want to be made.

What skills did you learn at IFA Paris that helps you in your current role?

 The most important thing I learned was definitely having a very personal and practical design methodology. Because I was making clothes since childhood, I felt that as a creative person I could be very divergent. I was losing time, energy, and resources developing things.

At IFA Paris I learnt a methodology in how to create properly – research, getting ideas in order, how to experiment with different elements, and most importantly, all done in a way that works with your style. You’re experimenting different ways of creating clothes to help you find a way style that fits you best.

Years before I came to IFA and when you are creative person you can be extremely divergent and you lose time and energy and resources developing things. Most important thing to develop a methodology in terms of creation – proper research, ideas in order, how to experiment, in which ways it works for you too. Experiment every single way of making clothes that exists. To see what works best for you.

In FOUR words, describe your IFA Paris experience:

Joyful, stimulating, introspective, challengingChicken Turtle Collection

What words of wisdom do you have for current and any future IFA Paris students?

Work as much as you physically and healthily can. Work more than you think and appreciate for what you do well every day. 

If you could choose three things to include for an IFA Paris “survival toolkit”, what would they be?

A computer mouse, needles for the machines, a membership card for Auchan, the supermarket around the corner. You’ll go every day and you’ll get points and can redeem them!

Ivo's top tips for: Paris

Cheap eats: Mi Va Mi - best falafel in Paris at a fair price
Place to hang out with friends: There’s a Facebook group called TechNoir and they post about different parties in different places in the city. They have great ones, and this is the place where I would go.
Getting around: Velib’ (bicycle sharing) has a two euro per month subscription for students. You can literally go anywhere in Paris by bike.
Relaxing: Get out of Paris! Europe is very accessible and it’s really easy to catch a bus for cheap (Flixbus) or even cheap flight tickets. I went to Milan once for 15 Euros…being able to get out of Paris so cheaply and easily is a great way to relax from Paris.
Favourite word in local language: Baguette.

Find more information on program pursued by Ivo: Bachelor Fashion Design & Technology

It is now also available online for distance learning - find more information on our new platform: IFA Paris - Learn Online: Bachelor Fashion Design & Technology

If you are an alumn and would like to be featured, or know someone who should be, don’t hesitate to let us know at [email protected]