Part of the magic behind the collectible dolls from The Ashton-Drake Galleries, is the stunningly-detailed couture. Every single one of our dolls has an outfit designed especially for them, inspired by their individual look and personality. From the delicately scalloped lace trim on a bride’s dramatic drop veil; to the tiniest pink ribbon flowers adorning a baby doll’s beautifully knit sweater, every minute detail of each doll’s costume is meticulously designed and custom crafted.
Pictured below: Meghan, Royal Romance Bride Doll
We’d like you to meet the visionary behind many of these creations, our very own Master Seamstress Yermen Romero. Originally from Colombia, South America, Yermen learned to sew from her mother, a seamstress who specialized in high-quality, expensive dresses. As a child, Yermen would take advantage of any leftover fabric she could get her hands on. She’d sneak off with her mother’s sewing scissors (which, she recalls fondly, were strictly off limits), and tailor the fabric into her own creations.
Pictured below: Yermen sketching out Meghan Markle’s bridal gown as she watched the royal wedding.
It was never Yermen’s goal to sew professionally, in fact, she studied accounting in college. But then an opportunity to sew women’s clothing came her way, and she was drawn to it. Her boss, impressed by Yermen’s speed and creativity, encouraged her to open her own business, which she did in 1981. Over time, she had as many as 30 employees, at first sewing women’s pajamas and robes, and then children’s clothing.
As it happened, one of her employees had a side job cleaning the home of Yolanda Bello, the Master Doll Artist who sculpted our very first Ashton-Drake doll, Jason. Yolanda asked for an introduction to Yermen, and soon asked Yermen to dress all of her original dolls. Yolanda then introduced Yermen to Ashton-Drake, and in 1984, Yermen began costuming our dolls. In 2008, we asked her to join us full-time, and she happily agreed! Now she devotes her incredible talent exclusively to costuming Ashton-Drake dolls.
Pictured below: Yermen selecting the perfect fabrics to use in the Meghan, Royal Romance Bride Doll.
Yermen’s design process starts with imagining the doll’s environment and scene. By putting herself into the doll’s setting, she’s able to visualize the perfect costume. To Yermen, every costume she makes is a piece of art that embodies both her experience as well as her heart. She believes that her ability to sew and having work that she enjoys is “a gift from God,” making her a truly happy person.
Pictured below: Yermen fitting Meghan’s bridal gown.
Throughout her time with The Ashton-Drake Galleries, Yermen has dressed hundreds of dolls. While her favorite costumes to design and sew are our collectible baby dolls, she also enjoys working with bride dolls and fantasy dolls because of the level of detail involved. Most recently, she was part of the team behind our royal wedding dolls, where she meticulously drafted and then created perfect doll-sized replicas of Meghan and Harry’s wedding attire as within hours of the ceremony.
Pictured below: Yermen tailoring the royal groom’s attire, while Prince Harry looks on.
We are so fortunate to collaborate with Yermen, and all of the artists who bring our amazing dolls to life, investing their talent, skill, hearts and souls into each beautiful new creation. Thank you so much, for sharing your creativity and joy with us, Yermen!