UNIONPORT — When Miroslava Rosado was bartending last year and found out she and her coworkers needed uniforms, she had an idea: why not just make the outfits herself?
"We weren't making [enough] money to buy these uniforms," she said. So she decided "You know what? I'm going to make our uniforms."
Rosado, who has always been interested in fashion and whose mother was a seamstress, purchased a plastic sewing machine from Kmart and got to work.
She made some mistakes with the uniforms at first, but she improved over time. Her reputation grew as her friends began wearing them around and she began getting questions and compliments about their clothing.
"I started getting orders," Rosado said, "And I'm like, what? I'm like, ok, this is getting serious."
As her outfits grew in popularity, Rosado, 39, realized that fashion was her true passion. In June of 2013 — just four months after making uniforms for her coworkers—she decided to quit her bartending and paralegal jobs to pursue fashion full-time.
Her dedication has now been rewarded with a slot in Friday night's kickoff to the innaugural Bronx Fashion Week, which runs until Sunday, Sept. 7 at the historic Andrew Freedman Home, located at 1125 Grand Concourse.
Rosado, who works in and occasionally stays at her studio in Unionport, got a call from Bronx Fashion Week executive director Flora Montes about participating in the celebration after Montes saw a piece about her designs on the news, she said.
Her show is scheduled to run from 7:45 until 8 p.m. on Friday, and she will also have a booth set up for all three days.
She said she was thrilled to be a part of the kickoff celebration.
"This is the first time that I'm actually in a fashion show with other designers, and it's really about that," she said. "And then there are so many networks. There are going to be so many people there."
Roselina Rodas, Rosado's cousin and assistant designer, said she was excited for the launch of Bronx Fashion Week as well.
"Just to see it come to life is really amazing," she said.
The theme of Rosado's show for her line, Aval by Lava, is avant garde with a glammed up hooded sweatshirt, dresses with plunging necklines and coats with structured collars.
She sees Bronx Fashion Week as a great event for the borough that will help it get more respect as a fashion destination.
"This is putting us very much on the map as far as fashion and style," she said. "A lot of people from The Bronx are very stylish and very into fashion. You can just tell by all the malls they keep building around us now."
Each day at Bronx Fashion Week consists of business expos from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., VIP parties from 5 to 6:30 p.m. and fashion shows from 7 to 9 p.m.
Montes has said she hopes to expand the festivities to five days next year, a move applauded by Rosado.
"That's what we're working so hard to accomplish: that it will be a steady thing," she said.
Day passes were $35 each for the parties and fashion shows or $25 each for just the fashion shows but sales ended Friday afternoon.
Rosado described The Bronx as a borough with several great things going on, and she included Bronx Fashion Week as part of this.
"The Bronx is improving," she said. "Now let's dress it up."