Having grown up in predominantly white cities, it took me more years than I’d like to admit to fully embrace being Mexican. How this affected different aspects of my life varies, but in terms of fashion, this evolution pushed me to make an effort to seek out and support Hispanic and Latinx designers. And, let me tell you, this journey has brought me nothing but an immense amount of joy.
Upon discovering designers like Victor Barragán, Raul Lopez and Paula Canovas del Vas, I gained a renewed sense of pride. Over the years, I’ve watched these creative forces disrupt societal expectations and create forward-thinking, contemporary designs that still honor heritage and tradition.
As we kick off Hispanic Heritage Month, I wanted to share and celebrate some of my favorite Hispanic and Latinx designers, from up-and-coming names like Bailey Prado and Willy Chavarria to established forces in the fashion world like Gabriela Hearst and Manolo Blahnik. The diversity of their influences, techniques and aesthetics is a reflection of their wide range of cultures, upbringings and generations.
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Designer Adriana Manso’s playful jewelry brand, La Manso, was inspired by her grandmother’s collection of glamorous acrylic accessories. Her array of recyclable, colorful rings feel both retro and contemporary at once.
Alejandra Alonso Rojas
Sparked by a plethora of archival photographs of her family in knitwear, Alejandra Alonso Rojas launched her everyday luxury brand in 2016. Rooted in traditional and experimental handwork, her pieces also draw from from a deep understanding of Spanish tradition and sophistication, met with her New York-informed taste for modernity.
Brazilian-born designer Ana Khouri believes that adornments should be considered an extension of the body. Khouri’s practice stems from her degree in sculpture at the Fundação Armando Alvares Penteado in São Paulo, and all pieces are made exclusively with 18K fair mined, fair trade gold or platinum and ethically and responsibly sourced gemstones.
Bailey Prado launched her namesake brand in 2019, and she’s definitely one to watch. Her handmade creations aim to push the boundaries of the way yarn and textiles can be transformed, with the underlying goal of empowering young women of color.
Raised in Mexico City and now based in Los Angeles, Daniela Villegas is renowned for blending classic jewelry styles with surprising and exciting elements like feathers, wood and porcupine quills. All pieces are handcrafted and one of a kind.
Elena Velez, who is of Puerto Rican heritage, designs clothes that are an affectionate and feminine interruption of Midwestern masculine elements. She credits her single mom and her upbringing in Milwaukee as essential reference points for her creativity.
Uruguayan designer Gabriela Hearst’s luxury ready-to-wear and accessories line has become a modern, beloved classic. Each garment—from colorful knit ponchos to minimalist boots and bags—is made with care, purpose and extraordinary attention to detail. In 2020, she won the CFDA’s American Womenswear Designer of the Year Award.
Krystal Paniagua’s knitwear line is all about a sense of community. Her fluid and adaptable pieces mould themselves onto a wide range of body types, creating a dynamic, constantly-evolving conversation between designer and wearer.
Having lost her job during the pandemic, Marina Larroudé and her husband launched Larroudé in February 2021, and it has already become a fashion girl favorite. She works directly with a factory and designer technicians in Brazil, where she’s from.
There are shoes, and then there are Manolos. Spanish designer Manolo Blahnik’s designs are so iconic—so elegant, comfortable, and impeccably crafted—that most fashion obsessives are on a first-name basis with him.
Colombian knitwear designer Monika Silva launched Gauge81, a brand that puts a modern twist on ‘90s nostalgia, in 2018. Silva’s collection includes seasonless pieces such as high-waisted pants, spaghetti strap crop tops, miniskirts and satin dresses.
Nicole Saldaña, an Opening Ceremony and Tory Sport alumna, is known for her playfully chic footwear brand, but she’s also a major behind-the-scenes influence: Recently, she collaborated with Heavn on Olivia Rodrigo’s VMA performance dress.
Designed in Barcelona by Paloma Lanna, Paloma Wool (a play on the translation of her name) is a brand inspired by the muted, organic colors of Catalonia. Lanna also uses her platform as a space to collaborate with artists like Awewave, Kimberley Cookey-Gam, and Júlia Esqué.
Paula Canovas del Vas
Paula Canovas del Vas founded her label in 2018, and she’s known for playing with the juxtaposition between the beautiful and the grotesque. Her standout designs include short dresses that explode with vibrant patterns, shoes with reverse peaked toes, and statement bags with whimsical shapes and texture.
Brooklyn-based designer Raul Lopez began to design at the age of 12, inspired by the fluidity of the downtown New York scene. After a three season hiatus from his label, LUAR, he returned this month with a fresh perspective. Lopez’s new collection is full of thoughtful tailoring, beautiful shapes, and unique but still wearable pieces.
Born and raised in Mexico City, Sabrina Olivera is a fashion designer based in Brooklyn. Throughout her life, she has always been fascinated by the stories we tell with clothing, fabrics and textures. Her latest personal and professional endeavor is a fashion and art project called Soldaderas, which is rooted in the costumes and behaviors of women who fought in the Mexican revolution.
Sayana and Claudia Durany
If there’s any label that encapsulates the feeling of endless summer, it’s Gimaguas. Founded by Spanish twin sisters Sayana and Claudia Durany, the collection emits a nostalgic warmth that evokes the sensation of vacation, no matter what you’re doing.
With her brand Blobb, Sofia Elias has been leading the wave colorful ‘90s-inspired jewelry that’s been building lately. In her Mexico City studio, she sculpts her one-of-a-kind resin and gemstone pieces by hand.
Mexican designer Victor Barragán never had any formal training in fashion design. His NYC-based label initially began as a small-scale experimental T-shirt company in 2010, but has since evolved into a visionary ready-to-wear line that pulls from his architectural background.
Known for his oversized silhouettes, Willy Chavarria brings a fresh perspective to the world of menswear. Chavarria’s pieces are inspired by his Chicano heritage, which he transforms into a contemporary streetwear silhouette.