miguel1JJ wears Miguel Pena Lacquered dress (available at OAK 28 Bond St.), Miguel wears OAK combo racer jacket.

We are extremely proud to present one of our own, Miguel Pena, debuting his first collection at OAK. To celebrate the collection’s arrival to OAK 28 Bond St., we talked with the designer about growing up on the west coast, finding his voice in NYC, and his graduate collection making it to the racks.

View Miguel Pena at OAK.
Miguel Pena is available exclusively at OAK 28 Bond St.
For ordering and other inquiries please call 212.677.1293

OAK: Can you tell us about your experiences growing up in Northern California?
MIGUEL PENA: I’m originally from the wine country in the North Bay and most of my teenage years were spent taking adventures on foot or long drives into the woods. Everything was accessible within an hour. San Francisco was just an hour south, Bodega Bay was only an hour east, and I was already surrounded by redwoods, so there was really nothing to complain about. I guess my hometown, Healdsburg, only has like 2 claims to fame. Aside from being a big vacation spot, Scream was filmed there and Seth Rogen was married there in the spring.

OAK: And after that you moved to LA, right?
MP: Straight out of high school, I went to Los Angeles. I attended FIDM in downtown LA but my experience was not at all what I wanted. The curriculum wasn’t challenging enough and being 17, careless, and living in the downtown area wasn’t an ideal experience. Once I moved back home for a year, I focused on studying fine arts. That’s were I got my painting and figure drawing background.

OAK: What changed for you when you got to New York?
MP: Everything. I never wanted to leave. Of course the first year or two that I was here, I had a very cliché and naïve perception and experience in New York. I was going out all the time and spending too much money. Once I realized that the people that really make it and stay in New York are the ones that sacrifice all the bullshit and really work hard towards what they set out to do, I knew exactly what I wanted.

miguel3JJ wears Miguel Pena Pully dress (available at OAK 28 Bond St.).

OAK: As a student at FIT, you interned for a number of designers and began working for OAK. How did that shape your attitude towards the fashion industry?
MP: I interned for Mandy Coon, VPL, and most recently at Tess Giberson. They were great experiences, especially with Tess Giberson. I learned so much through her and the company. If it wasn’t for OAK and Tess, I feel that I wouldn’t have the opportunities that I received in the last few months post graduation.

OAK: What have been some post-graduation highlights for you?
MP: OAK BOUGHT MY GRADUATION COLLECTION! It was such a surreal opportunity. When the buyer approached me about buying the collection after showing her my feature on, I took the leap and said “yes.” Around the same time, my look during the graduate show was being shown on and on the WWD Tumblr. It was a really weird feeling having people I worked for in the past tell me that they saw me on the cover page of a website like WWD. I didn’t know how to react.

OAK: What can you tell us about your collection?
MP: The collection itself wasn’t really inspired by something. I took pieces from my portfolio that I wanted to see in the physical. It was more like choosing a handful of pieces that intrigued me in terms of construction because of their difficulty. The pieces just happened to be cohesive and have the ability to be styled with each other. Having such great internships, I already had a relationship with factories in Midtown where my collection was made. Of course I had a helping hand throughout the way. I had friends that were working in production for great companies and they offered their expertise whenever I had any questions.

miguel2JJ wears Miguel Pena Fagoted jacket (available at OAK 28 Bond St.), Miguel wears OAK combo racer jacket.

OAK: What are you currently listening to?
MP: Mariah Carey. Ricardo Villalobos. Autechre. TRS-80. Blacken the Black.

OAK: And what are you watching?
MP: Elementary. Anything with Lucy Liu. Long Island Medium, Dance Moms, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy (I pretend I haven’t watched certain episodes so I can keep watching it), and Kitchen Nightmares.

OAK: What are your favorite things to do in New York?
MP: Dim sum, people watching in any neighborhood, wandering around and finding new shops and stores.

OAK: Any Thanksgiving plans?
MP: Watching my superstar chef friend Ryan Bartlow make a Thanksgiving feast for me and my friends. And it’s my birthday the next day, so I’m just going to imagine the whole day is focused on me.