Local dad is tailor for the stars

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SOUNDVIEW -

The awards season in show business means serious business for a dad from Soundview.

Jason Santiago turned his high school hobby into a career sewing together stage and red-carpet looks for celebrities. Most recently, he tailored an outfit for fellow Bronx native Cardi B to wear during her performance at the Grammys.

"I had like three hours of sleep that night, it was crazy," he says. "But when it's finished, done and on TV -- and it looks good -- that's success to me."

Santiago grew up in Soundview, shy and without money to buy things like Nike Air Jordan sneakers.

"I couldn't really afford the Jordans and the matching throwback jerseys," he says. "So I turned to cutting and pasting and gluing and air brushing."

At 15, he asked his mom for a sewing machine. In college, he majored in fashion design. Then he placed third in a competition for MTV and P Diddy's clothing line, Sean John.

The top-three finish got him an internship at Sean John -- but then a stroke of luck led to his big break. He helped out a stylist with a wine stain on a Dolce & Gabbana suit.

"It was that moment that opened up many doors for me," he says.

Since then, he's tailored for Pharrell, Zendaya, Lauryn Hill, Naturi Naughton and more. 

But his biggest client, he says, is his 5-year-old daughter Jaylee.

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