Community Training Institute Trainers
Margarita Ayala, Master Seamstress
Margarita Ayalla, SoHarlem’s Master Seamstress, is a self-taught sewer, with expertise in French seaming, baby hems, blind stitching, cording and many other techniques that enable her to work effectively with contemporary designers to create high quality styles of clothing. Born and raised in Cuenca, Ecuador, Margarita began sewing when she was only eight- years-old. While employed at the Matbri Factory, a 40-person factory specializing in denim and suede, she helped fulfill wholesale clothing orders. Once Matbri closed in 1997, Margarita left Ecuador to move to the United States, where she worked in the Garment District for two decades and gained expertise on a range of industrial sewing machines. Margarita is a master at working with knits and woven fabrics. Since joining SoHarlem, she has contributed her numerous talents to the manufacture of designs by members of the SoHarlem Collective, including Blue Olive, TJ Hyde and KP Indie.
Katerine Phillips, Visiting Designer
Katherine Phillips, is Founder of KP Indie. She has devoted her career to mentoring emerging designers in the practical and detailed steps for bringing new fashion collections to market.
Katherine’s experience spans twenty-five years with major industry labels that include: French Connection, Nicole Farhi, Nordstrom, Talbots, and Bon Marche, Paris. Like many new market leaders in fashion, she advocates sustainability in all aspects of fashion creation. Katherine has studied at the University of Paris/Sorbonne and graduated from Columbia University, New York, NY.
During her tenure at SoHarlem she developed a team of expert seamstresses, patternmakers, fabric illustrators and embroiderers. Katherine has opened a second location in New Delhi, India where she has spent more than two decades cultivating and leading a group of artisans who create beautiful fabrics and apparel embellishments. From this location she also directs a fabric sourcing facility and the manufacturing of apparel for some of America’s top specialty retailers of women’s apparel.
Maximina Vidals, Seamstress & Designer
Maximina Vidals, is a professional seamstress at the Rebecca Schoneveld Bridal Studio, a haute couture house for bridal gowns at the forefront of eco-friendly designs. She has worked in the fashion industry since 1981 as a production designer and supervisor, fashion designer, wardrobe advisor, seamstress trainer, and has worked extensively making professional alterations. Maximina’s company designs and manufactures haute couture gowns. Her other industry affiliations include: Lee And Jean, New York City; and Creaciones Millymoy, Mexico.
Maximina has an Associate Degree in Liberal Arts from Hostos Community College, and a BA in Spanish with a Minor in Middle and High School Education from Lehman College, part of the City University of New York (CUNY) where she also earned her MA. She also studied Industrial Patternmaking at the Fashion Institute of Technology, State University of New York; and Fashion Designer, en la Escuela de Diseño de Modas y Sastreria Corregidora de Queretaro in, Mexico City.
Vicenta Zeigler, Master Pattern Maker
Vicenta Ziegler, Master Pattern-Maker & Seamstress brings more than three decades of experience to the craft of apparel making. She began sewing in her native Ecuador at the age of seven. This was her mother's occupation, and when she realized Vicenta’s passion and innate ability to sew when she was 16 years old, she found her daughter a teacher because she was too busy working to provide instruction herself. Years later, when her mother went blind, Vicenta was able to step in to do the sewing her mom had done before her.
Vicenta migrated to New York City in 1983 where she worked as a freelancer with Adam Bill Sample Room, Bijack, and Elmora based in the Garment District. At these different shops, she enriched her craft and developed new skills that include working with leathers, suedes, knits and other fabrics; the art of ironing in designing garments, and traditional grading.
She worked for 14 years with Danny & Nicole as a seamstress, draper and quality control; 10 years with Maggie London as a draper; two years with 6199 on production, draping and pattern making; and five years with Lilac Sample Room on patterns, draping and sewing.
Vicenta is a graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology where she majored in pattern making.