Texas border native helped make Vice President Kamala Harris’ purple inauguration outfit

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Kamala Harris is sworn in as vice president by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor (R) as Harris’s husband Doug Emhoff holds the Bible on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on January 20, 2021 in Washington, DC. During today’s inauguration ceremony Joe Biden becomes the 46th president of the United States. (Photo by Andrew Harnik-Pool/Getty Images)

HARLINGEN, Texas (KVEO) — A native of Texas’s Rio Grande Valley made the pattern and sewed the stunning purple outfit that Vice President Kamala Harris showcased on Inauguration Day.

Inauguration fashion: Purple, pearls, American designers

Arturo Castañeda Contreras is originally from Heidelberg, Texas, which is part of the McAllen-Edinburg-Mission-Metropolitan Statistical Area.

In an interview from his studio in Brooklyn, New York, Castañeda told CBS4 evening anchor Faith Woodard he made the pattern and sewed the top coat. It was designed by Christopher John Rogers who along with Sergio Hudson dressed Harris for Inauguration Day.

Castañeda also made the suit jacket and dress, which Harris wore later in the day.

“The designer on this is Christopher John Rogers, amazing designer. He has dressed Michelle Obama before, he has done a lot of people,” Castañeda said. “Through my networks and friends we met and he asked if I could partner in this.”


“The real story is found with my mom. An immigrant to this nation that has not been the kindest. From the fields as a migrant worker family to the halls of the White House.” — Arturo Castañeda Contreras

Castañeda said Harris’ dress was patterned by his colleagues at Hips, a custom design company, but her coat and blazer were patterned by him and San Antonio del Coyote, who is from Mexico.

“We got the call two, three weeks ago. But, we were told like we need the jacket in three days, and then the dress in a day in a half,” Castañeda said. “Then I got a call on Thursday from Rogers and he asked, ‘Arturo can you make the jacket?’ And I’m like, ‘What?'”

Castañeda said the team finished the project at midnight on Saturday.

“It’s typical for people that are a big deal, you know? It takes a village,” Castañeda said.

Castañeda said he was selected, along with his team, because of their craftsmanship and the work they have done with other big designers like Rogers.

Growing up in the Rio Grande Valley, Contreras tells the story of how his mother worked at a sweatshop and how his dream was always to dress a president, or in this case a vice president.

“This story is really about my mom, we were labor workers. From the fields to the White House,” he said.

Designers Rogers and Sergio Hudson, are from Louisiana and South Carolina.

Harris’ husband, Doug Emhoff, wore a Ralph Lauren suit.

Watch the complete interview here:

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