Meet Ohad Seroya: The Designer Behind Fashion’s Favorite Brand For A Night Out, Retrofête

A few years ago, a new brand took the fashion industry by storm by the name of Retrofête. Founded in 2018 by Ohad Seroya alongside Aviad Klin, the brand redefined what glamor really means in a modern era — quickly becoming the industry’s go-to for luxury, “life of the party” pieces that garnered the attention of some of the most notable celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow, Taylor Swift, Alessandra Ambrosio, and Jennifer Lopez, among others. It’s Seroya’s unparalleled passion for design and evoking emotion through his one-of-a-kind silhouettes that have set him apart in the industry. Ahead, Haute Living sits down with Seroya to hear how he got started in the industry, how he built Retrofête as well as another brand in 2021, and how he continues to evolve as a designer.

Meet Ohad Seroya: The Designer Behind Fashion's Favorite Brand For A Night Out, RetrofêtePhoto Credit: Courtesy

HAUTE LIVING: Can you tell us a bit about how you got started in the industry?
OHAD SEROYA: I was born and raised in Israel and spent much of my childhood surrounded by fashion via my mom. At 16, I got a retail job working at the Diesel boutique in Tel Aviv. During this time, I really began to understand the world of denim and how to style product. Working on the floor and dressing customers really inspired me, and I felt like I had found my calling. They could feel my passion for product, and I could hear the confidence customers had in me when asking for my styling opinions and advice. I constantly wanted to elevate my wardrobe, even though I didn’t have the money to buy expensive clothes. Instead, I started to make unique creations of my own by cutting holes in my shirts and bleaching denim. Customers started asking where they could find these pieces, so I started selling them. My boss was amazed about what I could do with a basic t-shirt and a pair of jeans—I think, in a way, I was always a designer.

HL: What made you decide to create your own brand, Retrofête?
OS: My husband and I worked in wholesale and private label manufacturing for contemporary ready-to-wear and luxury resort wear brands. Aviad pointed out how much I was helping these brands grow and how involved I was in their process—and their success. He pushed for us to create a brand of our own DNA, and in 2018 Retrofête was born.

Meet Ohad Seroya: The Designer Behind Fashion's Favorite Brand For A Night Out, RetrofêtePhoto Credit: Courtesy

HL: Retrofête truly took off in the industry — did you plan to have the growth that you have experienced?
OS: While I knew Retrofête was something special, never in my wildest dreams did I think we would reach this point. I am lucky my husband is stubborn because originally I did not want the responsibility of owning a brand. He believed in me to take this next step, this risk, and challenge in my career. I believe that when you do something, you make it your best, or you don’t do it all. It is a lot of pressure to constantly bring fresh designs to the industry season after season. I think I have been able to achieve this because, to me, Retrofête is not just a brand; it’s a story. It’s not all about designing beautiful clothing but rather understanding who our muse is, where she is going, and how she is feeling. Designing with emotion has truly brought us to the place of success that we have reached today.

HL: Who is the Retrofête girl?
OS: The Retrofête muse is confident, sexy, and always the center of attention. She embodies the brand’s life-of-the-party aesthetic and has a taste for the finer things in life. She is always herself and is never afraid to stand out. Over the past five years, she has grown with the brand and elevated her palette.

Meet Ohad Seroya: The Designer Behind Fashion's Favorite Brand For A Night Out, RetrofêtePhoto Credit: Courtesy

HL: What continues to inspire you as a designer?
OS: I am always inspired by my friends, my husband, and the people around me who bring good energy to my life. When I feel love, I am able to explore myself and push my creativity to new heights. My husband and I also love to travel the world and learn about new cultures. This connection that we experience when visiting new places has allowed me to dig deep and find more stories about myself that I was once afraid to expose—each season, we are able to show a little bit more about who we are and what we represent. I like to call the root of my inspiration my “muses.” Whether they are the models for our campaigns, the celebrities or influencers that wear the brand, my team that helps bring my vision to life, or our loyal customers who support us and keep coming back—they all give me the confidence to keep designing and bringing fresh, innovative designs to the industry.

HL: What season are you currently working on? Are there any trends that currently excite you?
OS: We are currently working on designing Fall/Winter 2023 and Holiday 2024. We are working a year in advance to bring our new collections to life. Retrofête is known for its more-is-more energy, but we are currently seeing a demand for minimalism and sophistication. We are learning how to give this trend a Retrofête twist. For example, I am obsessing over the “naked but covered” trend. We are using super sheer fabrications and showing customers how to wear them on a night out—and, of course, adding a hint of crystal and sparkle. We are also really excited about expanding the brand’s accessory and leather category.

Meet Ohad Seroya: The Designer Behind Fashion's Favorite Brand For A Night Out, RetrofêtePhoto Credit: Courtesy

HL: What are your must-have pieces from the current collection?
OS: A must-have piece from the current collection is our Vinci Sequin Dress. This limited edition long-sleeve gown features crystal embellishments throughout and is cut in a sheer mesh fabrication that will have you turning heads. This “naked” look is one of my favorite trends right now. Another must-have is our Talia Crystal Bag. The way the fringe moves with your look evokes so much emotion. It is a piece of art itself and proves that an accessory can also be the main attraction. Our silk blazers are also the perfect accent to throw over any look. It really elevates any outfit. I am excited to continue expanding this category in the collections to come.

HL: In 2021, you founded SER.O.YA — can you chat a bit about that band and how it co-exists with Retrofête?
OS: Before the pandemic, I would walk through NYC with a vision that the streets were my runway. I dressed up every day, planned out my outfits, and merchandised my looks. I started taking pictures of what I was wearing and sharing them on Instagram. It made me think more about designing clothes for myself. Fast forward, COVID hit, and my husband and I quarantined in Miami. We went from the peak of going out, people wearing Retrofête, talking about us, to being stuck at home. With the support of my friends, family, and team, we decided to turn this difficult situation into an opportunity. Casual wear was now the main category for ready-to-wear—and SER.O.YA was born. It was the perfect time to pursue a lifelong dream and dive deeper into this category. What started out as a sweater turned into a full collection of perfect wardrobe essentials for men and women. The goal is to make you look effortlessly cool and feel comfortable no matter what you are doing or where you are going—to the gym, boarding a flight, going out to dinner, or a club.

HL: What does 2023 have in store for you and the brands? What are your goals for this year?
OS: A few years ago, when I was out in Miami, I saw someone wearing a Retrofête design. In a crowd of people, it was truly humbling to see someone catch my eye and then realize it was my clothing. It was really the defining moment that made me realize that we had created something super unique and special. My goal for the new year is to see more girls on the street wearing Retrofête. There is nothing more emotional than to go out and see that customers are choosing to buy and wear our brand—this motivates me to keep going, to keep designing. In December, we also opened our first-ever pop-up in Soho, NYC. We saw such huge success with the store that we decided to keep it open indefinitely. We are thrilled to finally have a space of our own where we can put down our roots and really connect with our customers on a personal level.

Meet Ohad Seroya: The Designer Behind Fashion's Favorite Brand For A Night Out, RetrofêtePhoto Credit: Courtesy

HL: As a designer and business owner, what are some key lessons you have learned throughout your journey? 
OS: I think that, first and foremost, you must be a listener. It is so important to listen to the people around you—you don’t always have to think that they are right, but you need to respect their opinion. Your team, your family, and your customers can all give you a different perspective, and in the moment, you have the opportunity to decide which path you want to take. Sometimes you need to compromise. It’s not always about “you” but rather “us.” Always believe in your dream, but take it slow and be patient. When things get hard, push harder. Build it slowly, and it will build strong.