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Meet the Designer Behind Escapada Living

Interview with Natalia Castillo 06.10.2016 Photographed by Patrick Brickman for Charleston Home + Design Magazine

Fresh from a colorful collaboration with The Ritz-Carlton, Escapada Living founder Natalia Castillo reveals her design inspiration and the secret to her fashion line’s global success.

How would you describe Escapada Living?

As a frequent traveler, I wanted to create a line of resort wear for the modern woman. From printed tunics and chic dresses to easy cover-ups, our line takes women from the beach to cocktails. Escapada Living exudes a vibrant, yet relaxed aesthetic perfect for a beach vacation.

What inspired the name?

“Escapada” can be translated to “getaway” in Spanish. I see the Escapada Living woman as a sun seeker, a traveler who collects experiences alongside souvenirs. Our line imbues tropical culture into everyday life, offering fresh, colorful styles inspired by the rich lifestyle of the islands.

What was your inspiration for the Jade Maxi Dress, a style designed exclusively for The Ritz-Carlton?

We looked to The Ritz-Carlton guest: sophisticated, well-traveled and effortlessly put together. We wanted the dress to be an instant wardrobe classic, but still evoke a bit of the fun that comes with travel. We started with the large, whimsical windmill print and sea-inspired color, then added refined details, like an iridescent beaded neckline and keyhole cutout. The overall look is carefree elegance.

The exclusive Jade Maxi dress can be found at coastal Ritz-Carlton resorts.

How do you see Escapada Living’s style evolving in coming seasons?

We want to remain true to our core customer and continue to offer classic, ageless designs. I feel like the future, though, is in collaborations — like the dress we have designed with The Ritz-Carlton. I’ve been meeting with so many interesting people to figure out how we can work together and create new experiences for our customers. 

You describe Escapada Living as a “brand with a conscience.” Why was that important to you?

Escapada Living is committed to making the world a better place. We support global charities that enhance the lives of those in need, educate the minds of children and aid environmental causes. In 2014, we created the Escapada Living Children's Fund, which supports the education and well-being of students in Indonesia, where our brand's clothing is beautifully produced.

How do you balance running the different outposts of your global company, from your manufacturing facility in Indonesia to retail operations in the United States?

I spend a lot of time in meetings, completing strategic work with my managers and talking about issues and tactics to build the business. Our factory is over 40 hours away in Indonesia, but I’m working with the same team I’ve worked with for 17 years. I know the people there, and I trust them. I have an amazing production manager, Andrew, who lives in Indonesia with his son. Andrew and I Skype every night to stay up to date on production.

You’ve created a successful business with a modern, global perspective. What advice would you give to those wanting to follow a similar path?

Follow your dreams, but always trust your intuition. There are so many ways to start and run a business. There are endless options, and people will tell you different ways to do things. It’s most important to listen to your instincts.