Vineland student fashioning a future with clothing line
VINELAND – When you run into Fabricio Lobo on the go, his bags are brimming with handcrafted clothes he wants to send home on someone else.
“When I make something, I want to get rid of it,” the local fashion designer told The Daily Journal. “I don’t want it anymore, I want someone else to have it.”
Lobo, a Cunningham Academy senior, is preparing to graduate in five months and set out to establish his “Animations” collection, also known as "Ani," in boutiques in the Philadelphia/New York region.
“Take the risk,” he said, encouraging others pursuing their passions to do the same.
“He has been designing clothes since we met him,” said Hamidullah Lundy, the school’s program director. “He would do odd jobs to buy materials. He’s come a long way to overcome problems, really struggled early but has found his niche through practice and training.”
Lobo, 20, started out designing graphic T-shirts.
“I was 15, 16 years old and paying $300 to do 20 T-shirts,” he said, knowing even then that was unusual. “A lot of kids would take the $300 and go buy sneakers.”
When the shirts failed to sell, Lobo wasn’t discouraged.
“It was because I didn’t know what I was doing; I needed something that I could get out and do myself,” he said. “I just went out and bought myself a $100 sewing machine at Walmart.”
His grandmother, Georgina Ramos, passed on the basics, starting with the single stitch and worked up to button holes.
But when it comes to making clothes, Lobo is self-taught.
“I went to Goodwill and bought a jacket and I took the thread off the whole thing,” he said, detailing the deconstruction. “I used that as my blueprint – this is what a jacket is supposed to look like before it’s assembled.”
Two years later, Lobo no longer uses pattern pieces.
“I have it all up in here,” he said, tapping his temple.
“People ask me, ‘Do you have a design book,'” Lobo said. He doesn’t sketch his fashion concepts. “I don’t plan ahead. I see a material or a color I like, I figure this goes nice with that, I put them together.”
“If it doesn’t look right, I can always take it apart,” he said.
Fabricio Lobo, a Cunningham Academy student in Vineland, makes and sells his own clothing line called ANI. Lobo uses his sewing machine to create garments such as shirts, pants and jackets. Adam Monacelli, Vineland Daily Journal
His fashion style is inspired by the music of Tyler, the Creator, which he describes as colorful but at the same time has a dark edge.
“You’re going to see denim rips, dark colors and harsh words there,” he said.
Lobo finds inspiration every day, recalling seeing a woman with “a really big bag with all these pockets.”
“I was like, man, I wish I could take that apart and put it back together my way,” Lobo said. “I liked the material and I liked the way the pockets were.”
His one-of-a-kind designs include rejuvenating seven pairs of jeans into a trench coat/hoodie and re-purposing upholstery fabric into a winter jacket with faux fur cuffs and collar.
"When I hear that machine going, I'm creating, I'm inventing something," Lobo said. 'It's not even made yet, it's not done yet, it doesn't exist until I make it."
Lobo connects with customers through www.animtns.bigcartel.com and recently fulfilled an order from Denmark, which was purchased through an app and paid for using PayPal.
Curious about the odd address, Lobo researched the location.
“Damn, this is really far away from here,” he said, proud of his first international sale.
Over the whir of his sewing machine, Lobo’s words come in a rush when he shares his love for design.
“It’s mine, that’s what separates me from everybody else,” he said. “I’m known for sewing, it’s really crazy – you don’t really see a teenager my age on a sewing machine, but I like it.
“People definitely look at me weird,” he said with a hearty laugh. “You should see my work, it speaks for itself.”
Deborah M. Marko: 856-563-5256; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @dmarko_dj
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Some scenes from Mr. Vineland 2019 at Vineland High School on Thursday, January 11. Adam Monacelli, Vineland Daily Journal