Vibe guide: Bailey Prado shares inspiration for her designs and holiday gifts

The thing about a Bailey Prado piece is that it feels like it was made by someone who loves you. The designer is known for her handmade crochet, a medium that she extends to matching sets, rhinestone cut out pants, playsuits, envelope bras and airbrushed gowns, modeled by “it” girls like Gabriette, Bella Ferrada and Princess Gollum. (Bailey Ballesteros-Prado also makes accessories and reworked pieces with vintage textiles.) The vibe that best describes her work: “feminine energy, confidence and comfort.” With a Bailey Prado design, you know that someone’s hands touched it, you feel the playfulness and charm wove through the yarn.

A Capricorn sun, Ballesteros-Prado is currently taking inspiration from growing up in Southern California in the ‘90s, and has her eye on a vintage designer bag as a gift to herself this season. The rest of the family? They’ll be getting a handmade Bailey Prado.

Bailey Prado pearl and piercing strap clasp purse.

(Jennelle Fong and Yasara Gunawardena / For The Times)

Name, occupation, neighborhood: Bailey Ballesteros-Prado, fashion designer and creative director, Santa Ana.

Playful, bold, endearing are the three words that describe my brand.

My mantra for the end of the year is: I am worthy and the best is yet to come. I have had the hardest year of my life so I am really looking forward to change and growth.

The gift I could buy myself that coincides with my astrological sign: I would buy myself really cute stationery and a new schedule planner to help motivate me to stay organized and not forget everything. A more luxurious gift would be a nice vintage designer tote bag or purse for my laptop because in my mind, if I have cute accessories and work items, it makes tasks less stressful. I never truly understood my Capricorn qualities until I started my brand and the business became a personality trait.

A Bailey Prado design feels like feminine energy, confidence and comfort (the yarn is really soft).

An L.A. artist whom I would love to see wearing my work is: Nadia Lee Cohen, who is an amazing photographer and artist. I love her ability to combine modern and vintage worlds in such innovative ways. The way she has established an identifiable aesthetic and style is really inspiring.

The designer/brand I rocked the most this year: In terms of accessories and purses, Vivienne Westwood.

The thing that has been sitting in my online shopping cart for months: New photography equipment! Through creating content for my brand, I realized I loved taking photos and coming up with new concepts.

The Bailey Prado piece I’m gifting the people I love this season: I always make my mom and grandma a custom top or sweater that matches their style, so they definitely look forward to adding to their collection every year. The rest of the family will get custom scarves and hats. I plan on gifting my friends some charm clips and other accessories like the Fairy Butterfly and Bay Earring Sets .

A boxy handbag with a tall-stemmed flower in it sitting on a table near two big red balls.

Bailey Prado vanilla velvet purse.

(Jennelle Fong and Yasara Gunawardena / For The Times)

The one thing I wish the people I love would band together and buy for me this season: A Fujifilm X-T5 camera. I would love to keep learning and working on my photography skills. I will most likely be getting a lot of Hello Kitty and cute black cat gifts (I have a black cat named Yoko and she’s my world), which I am very excited for.

The zine/book/item on my coffee table that I want people to see: The three British Vogue print magazines my brand is in.

I will never stop rocking my high ponytail/bun hairstyle and rare, vintage Betty Boop purses.

The cause or organization I’m supporting right now: A Sisterhood for Fatherless Daughters is a community of young girls and women who have experienced the absence of their fathers, whether it be due to death, incarceration, never knowing him, or emotional and/or physical absence. My father passed away this year in March, which changed my whole life. I have love and understanding for those that understand the pain and confusion that being fatherless brings. I am just getting back on my feet but I hope in the new year I can work on a project with them.

My childhood is the thing inspiring my work right now. Since losing my dad, I felt a need to relearn my childhood and think/ask questions about things I never had. In the last couple months, I’ve been going through all the photos and storage in my family home, reconnecting with so many things I had forgotten about. I realized I am extremely lucky to have been born in Southern California during the ‘90s to young parents who were immersed in the culture and shared it with me. Most of my style references and inspiration come from insanely cool photographs of family and childhood that show their amazing style and personalities. I basically started creating moodboards from images and mementos I’ve held onto, which really ignited a creativity and passion in me. Now my designs represent something greater than me and have more meaning.

In 2024 I’m manifesting a car and to be able to take care of my family. The last few years I have been living in New York and London, where it’s definitely not unusual to not drive or have a car, so I would say the hardest thing about moving back to California has been the loss of public transportation. I miss it so much! I do have my license so this will be the year I get a car and share the success of my business with my loved ones.

Confidence and a good pair of boots is the best thing to pair a Bailey Prado piece with.

Green hoop earrings on black material near a red plastic string.

Bailey Prado sea green pierce earrings.

(Jennelle Fong and Yasara Gunawardena / For The Times)

Elsewhere Vintage is the best place to buy vintage. It is actually in my hometown of Orange; I do all my vintage shopping here.

The color I want everything in: baby blue.

The 2023 drop I missed that still haunts me: Unfortunately this year I haven’t spent much time shopping but instead preparing for my own drops!

All of 2024, I’ll be smelling like: Mugler Alien Goddess and L’eau d’Issey by Issey Miyake.

The words Bailey Prado

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