I recently made a mother-daughter trip to Mexico City. I came back to El Paso fully inspired by all the food, ambiance, and music. It was all truly just top-notch. As soon as I got back to the store, I immediately told Ambar Chavez, my right hand at GAL Fashion, how eager and excited I felt after this trip. I just felt the need to do something great and innovative in El Paso that would transmit the huge lively experience I had just lived. Her response to my excitement was just what I was looking for; “Why don’t you create a fashion market here? Clients always want to travel with you to the Market. Let’s just make one here”… And So, the Il Mercato experience was born.

I shared the news with my grandmother. She was the one who suggested naming this new experience ‘Il Mercato,’ taking pride in our Italian roots, our name, and our culture.

Once I had the name laid out, I immediately reached out to Adriana, my visual artist. Not only am I obsessed with her creative work, but she’s great at transforming my visions into reality. It’s always fun collaborating with Adriana to make my creative ideas come to life, and this time was no different. I showed her several pictures of my recent trips to ‘The White Show,’ one of the largest market shows in the world that takes place in Italy, as well as pictures of my inspiration and recent trip to Mexico City. Before we knew it, we were bouncing ideas back and forth and the project started taking life.

Our marketing for Il Mercato was very low-key and discrete. We did very little to get the word out. It was just part of the exclusivity of the event. We wanted to make sure you all were the ones who reached out to make an appointment. This event was intended to be one of a kind from the beginning, and we wanted to make sure that those who attended the event were as exclusive and fabulous - our GAL followers, blog readers, and lovely loyal clients. The whole thing was .. IYKYK.

I met with the stylists to empower them to pick and choose the names of the showrooms that would shape Il Mercato. We talked about what each showroom would carry and which brands would be showcased.

Nich and Co: This was Vivenne’s vision. This showroom carried some of the most original and expensive brands from Italy and Ukraine. Every piece was high-end, custom, and of course, one-of-a-kind.

Backstage by Victoria: Unique and high-end jewelry and accessories. This showroom featured a recently launched jewelry brand from India along with another luxury jewelry brand.

Intemporelle Fashion: A showroom that featured high-end ready-to-wear. Think casual meets fur. Here you would find cashmere and comfortable cotton.

Element’s Showroom: The place for all things leather, coats, and dusters from all over the world.

All pieces in the showrooms were strategically hand-selected to bring a curated mix of one-of-a-kind treasures to Il Mercato. I can assure you, some of these pieces will never be seen again. Not even on social media. That is just how exclusive everything was.

Within the first week, we were fully booked! Our clients were ready to get the unique and true market experience with food, cocktails, gifts, and models at Il Mercato. When the big day finally arrived, our clients were able to have one on ones with the showroom reps and get an exclusive look at all the pieces in the showrooms. In the end, they took home what they loved.
We had a greeter ready to meet our guests, explain to them the rules for the day and greet them with a cocktail. We had our creative film crew capture every second, and our photographer captivate every moment. Our favorite DJ brought a special beat and kept the ambiance and magic alive throughout the event. Every appointment with the showroom reps was full of magic and the event was just something worth remembering. We can’t wait to live it all over again.

That’s a wrap. The first volume of the Il Mercato pop-up was over. It was absolute bliss. A jungle of elegance where happiness and adrenaline filled the air. By all means, the most successful and amazing event GAL Fashion has hosted to this day.

A special shout out and thank you to my dream team, as well as to those who made an appointment and had the experience to share this first volume with us.

Where shall we pop-up next? Email gesuina@galfashion.com if you have any ideas for the next volume of Il Mercato. We can’t wait to do it all over again!

- Logo purple

Friends, I am sincerely excited and humbled to share that by the grace of God, today I celebrate two years of sobriety!

Two years may not seem like a long time, but more than that, I’m celebrating the journey. As you know, I’ve been extremely open about my sobriety since I am not sure I would still be on this Earth today had I not started my road to recovery when I did. This journey has been the most beautiful and gratifying gift, affording me so much necessary change and growth in just a short time. Reflecting on this anniversary, I am reminded of a Bible verse in Romans 12:2, “And do not be conformed with the world but be transformed with the renewing of your mind that you may do good and what is acceptable by the perfect will of God.”

In my first year of recovery, I focused on doing anything and everything I could do to stay sober. Year two, I had the freedom to discover myself. For the first time, I saw myself clearly, without the crutch or cloudiness of alcohol. I became my own friend. I am learning to accept and even enjoy carrying out the will of God. This is an ongoing pursuit, but so much more fruitful than trying to do it all on my own. This profound joy is a direct result of sobriety, a feeling I don’t ever want to lose or take for granted.

Today, my finances are in order, my relationships are healthy, my business is in a good place, I am debt-free (!), and I have a strong rapport with my family. I am still a constant work in progress, but I am realizing that the more layers I peel back, and the more I discover about myself, the freer I am able to live.

I’ve discovered that sobriety is about choices. In the throws of my disease, I was unable to make choices. I was a slave to my disease, unaware of the gravity and depth of destruction I faced. I was in emotional, physical, and mental pain, obsessed with the one thing at the root of it all.

Today – after much work, I am choosing to live freely. I feel happiness, fulfillment, and richness through peace and serenity that I didn’t know existed for me. Every day, I make the choice to continue the work; there has been temptation, and times I wanted to give up, but I know that if I did, I would be giving up on myself. I know where the drink will take me. I play the tape that I lived to nauseating effect; I know that is not a place I EVER want to visit again. So when I feel my thoughts and action veering into a dangerous place, I now know that I can pause, surrender, pray, and turn my will over to God.

I have also come to know the importance of normalizing recovery and sharing the gift of sobriety. If you or anyone you know suffers from addiction, I invite you to reach out to me or to another support source. I have been told that my openness has encouraged some to make the change, so if you are struggling, let this be your sign to reach out.

Thank you always for your support in my journey and God bless you!

- Logo purple

72 HOURS IN NYC

There are a few things more exciting in a fashion enthusiast’s life than spending time in New York City in September, during Fashion Week and Fall fabulousness. So I was particularly thrilled to be able to spend 72 hours in the Big Apple earlier this month for Market – touching garments and feeling fabrics – after years of virtual “visits” during Covid.

When I choose items for a collection to sell at GAL Fashion, I consider many factors: What will my customer where this with? Who am I buying it for? How many pieces and in what sizes should I purchase? How will this work alongside other items I’ve purchased?

On the first day of Market, we visited Coterie, a fashion marketplace where hundreds of brands and designers from all over the world show their collections for three days. Later we hit the showrooms, which offer private one-on-ones with the brand and sometimes the designer. Sometimes showrooms will allow buyers to choose customized and preferences according to what will be the best fit for the individual store. This trip, we saw Cinq a Sept, Ramy Brook, Delfi and other brands that our clients love.

Among my favorite finds on the trip: B-low the Belt, designer inspired handbags and Amanda Uprichard, and an up-and-coming international brand from a hidden market that will launch exclusively at IL Mercato on October. 7th.

What’s IL Mercato, you ask? IL Mercato is a project that I’m thrilled to share will be a series of pop-up shops inspired by market travel and buys. The retail experience will feature one-of-a-kind brands not sold in department stores, online or event at GAL Fashion. IL Mercato is for the true fashionista who will discover treasure pieces in a real market setting! The pop-up will be replete with mini showrooms, brand reps, models, and even local bites in the lounge (market shopping can be exhausting!). IL Mercato will be appointment-only, affording shoppers quality time with the brands, seeing the clothing on the models, and the opportunity to ask questions and feel the items.

Generally, markets are extremely costly because you have to buy full collections, not just one or two pieces. But to me and my fellow fashion fanatics, it’s a worthwhile opportunity to discover things you will probably never find again.

Honestly, I am more excited about what I bought for IL Mercato during my visit than I am or Spring 2023! The items are so limited and precious, I am curious about the response to the appointments that will be set; I am eager for my customers’ perspectives and points of view on the international luxuries we found. Will they love them? Will they hate them? Will we sell out? Will they want more? The suspense is killing me…

Finally, back to NYC:

We went from place to place to find the best and we did. Here are a few trends to look forward to for Spring 2023:

  1. Emilio Pucci Print: The classic swirls
  2. Dolce and Gabbana Florals: Amalfi and Positano-inspired
  3. Prada 90s vibe with day dresses and all 90s
  4. Techno fabric, a huge trend in the 2000s
  5. Pastels: An Easter must have

The 90s and 2000s continue their dominant comeback, so dig out the looks from Prada, Pucci, Miu Miu if they’re still hanging in your closet and call it vintage! Headbands and hair clips, low rise jeans and tie-back halters… they’re all hitting, Baby, one more time.

Other notable moments from the Big Apple: Taking an elevator with Nick and Kevin Jonas; I was oblivious meanwhile my Gen-Z stylist, Pablo, freaked out silently. Later, a slice of delicious NY-style pizza rounded things out – the perfect way to end 72-hours of fashion.

As I reflect on this trip, I’m reminded how blessed I am to be able to do what I love for a living. I know I always this say this, but it’s true. During my morning prayers, I thank God daily for giving me the opportunity to work in an industry I absolutely love.

Thank you for joining me on my journey, and I hope to see you at IL Mercato!

- Logo purple

Dear Reader, It’s been exactly two years since I last updated my blog, but it feels like a lifetime has passed. While this blog has always been an important creative outlet for me, the past twenty-four months have been a time of deep, unprecedented evolution and growth for me, and I wasn’t in the place to share until this moment. Now, tapping into my experience, strength, and hope, I feel grateful to share my journey and updates once again. Speaking of experience, strength and hope… this October will mark two years of sobriety for me. I consider my recovery God’s biggest blessing; my life and significant relationship have been restored and perhaps the most meaningful gift has been finding my True self: discovering who Gesuina really is. My journey hasn’t been easy and it’s by no means finished, but it has been rewarding in more ways than I ever thought possible. Another seismic shift? This past summer, I closed MAXIMUS, the luxury men’s store that I opened in 2020. What started off as a booming business quickly downturned, but I realized that rather than invest more time and resources into making something work, I would follow my true passions and channel that energy into my real love: women’s fashion. So. Many. Lessons. Learned. This brings me to this moment: I lead a team of eight employees at GAL Fashion. They’re the light of my life, imbuing the store with uniqueness and joy. We’ve re-branded GAL, an evolution I invite you to follow at @galfashion. I hope you will feel the special attention the quality and the high level of expertise that our team exudes on a daily basis. After six years in business, I finally feel that we are enjoying the fruits of our labor come to life. What a beautiful (and delicious!) experience. Speaking of evolution… fashion is never boring. Styles and trends change with the seasons, and I have adapted this same rhythm. The past two years have been rife with reading, learning, traveling, pushing myself outside of my comfort zone, even in the face of a global pandemic. Challenges? I now welcome them as opportunities to grow. Where I used to make decisions out of fear, I have become a Yes Girl who, like my friend Nanda says, embraces when “it’s time to say yes to the universe!” Some of the yeses that I would have said no to two years ago? Producing two major large events, judging a pageant, traveling alone, facing the closing of a business with bravery and honesty. So it’s in this inspired spirit that I welcome you back to this blog, to walk this journey with me… whether you’re in studded Valentino heels or sneakers. My recent travels and life experience have inspired a very special project. On October 7th, I’ll share the details, so save the date and join me in YES!

- Logo purple

The struggle is real. Not only are we in the middle of a worldwide pandemic but it is also summer. In the retail industry, summer is considered the worst season of the year. Sales and the amount of work drop as everyone is out on vacation, traveling, or staying at home with their kids while they are out of school. Well, my friends, that is a double misfortune for myself and my team at Gal Fashion.

Amid the silence and uncertainty, I started to talk to my neighbors. If you have driven by the Shops on Mesa lately, you may have noticed some of the shops remain unopened, while others have closed their doors permanently. I also began to conduct a bit of research regarding everything there is to know about taxes and our local economy. For instance, if we purchase items locally, those items are taxed in the county. Therefore, taxes stay within the city and we contribute to the local economy. However, whenever we make purchases online we pay taxes, but where do those taxes go? Although online shopping may be more convenient, unfortunately, it does not contribute to the local economy.

As I witnessed more and more local businesses struggling, I decided to act and do something about it. I reached out to my followers and asked if their business had somehow been affected by the pandemic.

“Has your business been affected by the pandemic? DM me for information on how to collab” - I posted on Instagram. My intention was simply to open up a conversation and figure out a way to support each other, collaborate, and grow as a community. I was astonished by the positive response and the feedback I was receiving. As entrepreneurs reached out, we explored ways to collaborate and support each other.

One of these collaborations was with Jordan Freedman and Tara Livingston from “Jordys.” By now, you may be familiar with their succulent and amazing charcuterie boards on my stories! Jordy’s has been in the catering business for a year now, but they have years worth of history in the food industry. This young couple sure knows the true meaning of hustling, especially during this pandemic when they have focused on getting creative to attain brand awareness. We have recently collaborated by becoming a support system for one another. We are young entrepreneurs who lean on each other and wish to succeed and experience growth within our city and community. Every time I have an event or a small social distancing friendly get together that requires food I go to them.
Because fashion and food don’t go hand in hand, we mainly support each other by word of mouth and referrals.

Another recent collaboration is with Balloon Ve.ga, your go-to shop for original and out of the ordinary balloon arrangements. Caesar and Jesus, two young, Venezuelan entrepreneurs, started their decoration business in El Paso in a little under a year. After they reached out to me on Instagram and a couple of conversations later, we decided to create a huge and gorgeous backdrop inside Gal Fashion that served as an instagrammable spot and a summer selfie stage. Everyone that visits Gal and our sister store, Tesori, gets exposed to Balloons Ve.ga and they can experience something different that you don’t usually find at our store. Fortunately, Caesar and Jesus have been booking balloon decoration gigs left and right, especially for drive-by parties during this pandemic. Whether you are looking to decorate your ride or add a nice touch to your lawn, Cesar and Jesus are your guys! Working with Balloons Ve.ga has allowed me to expand my creativity while supporting our community in a new way. I look forward to continuing to work with them on all of my upcoming events and special occasions, especially those social distancing drive-by parties!

The last local collaboration I will share with you today happens to be one of my favorites! I genuinely believe it was destiny for us to meet and come together to create something beautiful. Andrea Aguirre De-Leon reached out to me to collaborate. To my surprise, she is also a local fashion boutique owner, has a background in retail having worked with Ruby-Lola and we share the same age. Coincidence? I think not. We are a match made in heaven! I decided to pay a little visit to her shop downtown, Veintidos (which happens to be my favorite number), and was so impressed by the little gem I encountered. I just could not believe she has been around for so long (5 years), offering unique statement pieces to our border community as a young local female entrepreneur. My kind of Gal!

Andrea also happens to be a talented jewelry designer. We sat down, had a heart to heart, and realized that when two like-minded individuals who work in the same industry come together, amazing things happen. My favorite aspect of this story is that there is no competition but pure collaboration, all while we help raise each other to meet our ultimate goals. When I asked Andrea what she was seeking out of this collaboration, her response generated a sense of hope and excitement for the future.

” I want for us two El Pasoan female entrepreneurs to create the most innovative and unique jewelry line together” - Andrea

Surprise! Veintidos and Gal Fashion are working together to launch an exclusive jewelry line.

Every collaboration I have experienced has opened my eyes in one way or another. What I appreciate the most is people from various industries reaching out only to find that we share the same longing for our community. It is important to support one another as individuals and also to support our local businesses. We are all struggling during this pandemic in one way or another - may it be emotional, mental or economic. However, when we come together things get easier Feel free to email me at gesuina@galfashion.com if this interests you in anyway, and let’s create something beautiful.

- Logo purple