Eva Longoria should consider teaching a class on multitasking. Over the course of her nearly two decade long career, she’s continued to add titles to her resume — actress, producer, director, author, businesswoman, activist, and now, with her new collection for The Limited, fashion designer. Throwing professor on the list really doesn’t seem like such a stretch.
But don’t think that Longoria’s credentials are just vanity titles. Her endeavors are personal passions, whether trying to diversify Hollywood by producing series with realistic depictions of Latinos or advocating for disabled children or campaigning for Hillary Clinton and speaking out on minority rights.
Her new role, as designer of her own clothing line, is born from that same place of passion. Longoria is adamant that it’s not just another celebrity name on a label. An avid sewer since childhood, jumping into the fashion industry is just one more dream she’s checking off her list. We caught up with Longoria to talk about the collection, out today, personal style, and ambitions.
What made you want to do a clothing line, and what made you decide to partner with The Limited to release it?
A deep, dark secret of mine is that I sew. I’m a big sewer, and I’ve been sewing my whole life. I started sewing just pillows and things when I was little, then I moved on to Halloween costumes for my nieces and nephews. Then I started sewing dresses for my sisters and my girlfriends. I just love the construction aspect of putting something together — I love stitching and I love materials and I love pattern cutting. So, I authentically wanted to be involved in a line. I really didn’t have time to do that until now, because I knew that I never just wanted to put my name on a clothing line. I wanted it to be my DNA.
For every stitch, every piece of material, every waistline, every belt, everything, I am involved with all the decisions, which I love. I decided to start my own line and I started working with a designer and sketching and talking about the classic things that I wanted in my line. Then, at the same time, the Limited opportunity came along, where they were looking for a new line to put into their stores. So, it was just kind of a perfect opportunity.
What is the inspiration behind the collection?
I think the inspiration is every working woman, no matter what size or age. There’s something for everybody in this line. I feel like every woman wants a versatile outfit that doesn’t break the budget, and that’s what my line is. I call it “From Work-to-Wine” because you can wear one of the dresses with a jacket or blazer over it to the office, but then you take that off and it all of the sudden becomes your Saturday night little black dress. There are so many great pieces to the line with those women in mind. That’s really who I designed the line for.
How do you think your style has developed or changed over the years?
I think I’ve moved away from being trendy to now being classic and having a balance of classic pieces in a contemporary way. One example is, in my line, I have a beautiful blazer, but it’s a cape. So, it’s taking the traditional, classic blazer and putting a high fashion spin on it and it’s still functional. I love that and I think that’s where my style has moved to, to this effortless, timeless, comprehensive line.
What is the best fashion advice you’ve ever received?
Always, always, always alter things. Even if it’s a t-shirt. That’s the best advice I ever got. Always alter. Pick up the hem on the dress, pick up the hem on the sleeve, move the waistline… there’s so many things you can do. So many people go into a store and try on an outfit and go, “It doesn’t fit. I really like it, but it doesn’t fit.” I buy everything and I make it fit. I take it home and I move things — I move the seams, I pick up the skirt, I change the waistline. I do so much.
Right. There’s a lack of uniformity in sizing that makes it hard for a lot of women to find things that fit perfectly every time.
It’s hard. You can’t just buy things off the rack to fit everybody. Altering can be super affordable. Every dry cleaner has that option. If you go down to your street corner, there’s usually one little shop that actually needs your business. It’s a dying art, but I think that more people should do it. It’s the same thing as when I first discovered you could repair shoes. I used to throw out shoes when the strap broke or whatever and I was like “Wait, you can repair shoes for like $30?” I never even knew that.
You wear a lot of different hats right now — you’re an actress, producer, activist, designer — what motivates you?
I’m really driven. Everything that I’ve been doing has just been a different dream of mine. I dreamed of being an actor and I did it. I dreamed of being a producer and director and I am. I’ve always dreamed of having my own clothing line, so now I’m doing it. I think that I have big dreams that I’m willing to go after.
What advice do you have for other women who are on similar paths, who have big dreams, too, and may be juggling a lot of them at the same time?
I have an amazing team, first of all, that helps me prioritize. Prioritizing everything is super important — using every hour of the day. People waste more time than they think. Like, right now, I’m in the airport lounge about to take a flight, so I’m doing calls. On the way over here, I read a script. On the plane home, I’m going to read two scripts. You just have to be really smart about your time and how you want to use it, because when I’m not working and I’m with my family and my husband, that’s their time. Being really efficient and prioritizing what’s important at what time is the best thing to do.
Who inspires you?
You know what, most women in my family — my sisters, my mom — are my biggest inspiration. They’re my life. Really, it was my mom and dad who taught me my work ethic. Even to this day, I think, “There’s no way I could work as hard as they ever did with four kids and two jobs.” My family really inspires me the most.
Shop The Eva Longoria Collection online or in stores at The Limited. Keep up with Eva Longoria by following her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Photo credit: Randall Slavin