303 Style Profile is an ongoing series highlighting unique locals and they’re incredible style and stories. Go here to see past profiles.
With her work for Zeppelin Station’s fashion pop-ups, attending Parsons School of Design for fashion design, modeling with local photographers and a fabulous style of her own, Samantha Rivera has delved into Denver’s fashion scene to help bring more creativity to the city’s fashion industry. Rivera has gained experience in all aspects of the ever-changing industry, from being both in front of and behind the camera lens, to sketching wedding dresses at a young age, to helping create a fashion start-up, there is no denying that she hopes to continue to work in the field far into the future.
“I’ve always known I wanted to be in fashion since I was very young. I really like learning people’s stories and use fashion to translate that story,” Rivera said. Her passion for fashion starting at a young age is what has driven her to continue in the industry today.
303 Magazine: How did you get into fashion both personally and as a job?
Samantha Rivera: I’ve known I wanted to do something in fashion since I was little. I would sketch out wedding dresses when I was younger and thought I wanted to be a wedding dress designer. I went to school for fashion design, but now I’m doing a certificate program with Parsons. That’s where it all started for me. In high school, I feel like everyone was sort of put in a box and now I’m trying to challenge the norms that came from that.
303: How would you describe your personal style?
SR: I feel like I can either be really girly or look like the total opposite. I’m a little bit androgynous, I wear my boyfriend’s stuff all the time. Like Billie Eilish, I love her style and the oversized look she has going on with everything she wears. I think I like to look hard and soft. I opt to thrift a lot of the time too so that’s where a lot of my style comes from.
303: Tell us about your current jobs and involvement it Denver’s fashion scene?
SR: I work for Eyes Open at the Source Hotel and since it’s a startup they needed some extra help. I just got to set up photo shoots and that opened a lot of doors. I work at Zeppelin Station running the market hall and I helped set up a store at the Source Hotel. At Zeppelin station though, we have pop-ups every three months and rotate featuring a different city’s fashion. So, I help with that but I also do sales for the three shops we have there and contribute to the content creation that we have.
303: Growing up in Denver, what do you think about its fashion community?
SR: I think growing up in Denver, I was very sheltered in terms of style. I feel like as a kid I started off feeling judged by people for what I’m comfortable in. It wasn’t really until after high school that I was introduced to more brands and different styles, which got my mind turning more. Once I got to college in New York, everyone was like “fuck it.” Nobody cares about you in reality. That’s what I love about New York and other big cities — I feel like a little ant. I’m just a small person and people aren’t necessarily looking to point something out about me. But in terms of Denver’s fashion scene, I really think it’s just up to people to make a “fashion city.”
303: How do you hope to continue with a future in the fashion industry?
SR: I feel like I’ve been struggling with the word “purpose” and what I’m going to end up doing with my life. I don’t know where I want to go and there are so many things that I want to do. I like photography and I like styling but I would really want to do something with fashion journalism. I really like learning people’s stories, use that to translate that story and then make that story come to life. That’s why I love photography too because you’re able to create a story and let the viewer interpret it however they want.
All photography by Amanda Piela.