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Alvin Valley: The man behind the pants

Alvin Valley is

Alvin Valley is "The King of Pants." Photo Credit: Cristina Macaya

The "King of Pants" isn't giving up his throne anytime soon.

After struggling during the recession, when he sold his brand and name, designer Alvin Valley has been back on top in recent years, buying the rights back to his name, making a mark in e-commerce and hiring Damion Hankejh as the chief technology officer and CEO last fall to grow the brand's tech presence.

Outside of fashion, Valley, a first-generation Cuban-American, also was invited by the White House to work on its Initiative on Educational Excellence to empower young Hispanics.

From his West Village studio, Valley clues us in to what to look for Spring 2015 and his dream client.

How did you start designing pants?

I always did a full collection. A great merchandiser suggested to show pants for one season. From that moment on I started designing only pants. It wasn't calculated, it became our strategy.

What separates you from other pants designers?

Mostly the fit, how I see women and the construction. Women don't have to be careful how they walk or sit. My pants become a staple in their wardrobe.

You studied architecture. Does that influence your work?

I do see architecture in my pants. I see pants as engineered. I like them to transform your body, look thinner, look taller and make their life easier in order for do what they need to do in their daily lives.

What do you forecast for this spring?

The palazzo and dressier pants for evening.

Who are your pants icons?

Lauren Bacall personified the ultimate pants-wearing legend. She's soft feminine and has an edge. I also love Madonna, Kate Winslet and Nicole Kidman in pants.

When are you dressing Michelle Obama?

[It would be a] dream to dress her in our pants.

Tell me about your recent appointment to the White House's Initiative on Educational Excellence.

I was approached by the White House to work with and inspire Hispanics of heritage, like myself. I studied architecture and decided to go into fashion. The initiative focuses on empowering Hispanic students to make new choices. A huge amount of Latinos go into the Army or Marines, but this initiative is working on encouraging them to get higher education and to dream big.

What is the one take-away you'd like to impart about the initiative?

I'd like to open up their worlds. They can go to MIT and Harvard. I work with art and STEM programs -- science, technology, engineering and mathematics. I don't want women to be married at 18, I would like them to open up traditions and become empowered, resourceful and educated.

What your best advice to become Alvin Valley?

Stay focused and do not give up. Be resilient, forceful and have a vision.

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