It’s no secret that the fashion industry has always grappled with the issue of representation, and Latino representation is no exception. The glossy catwalks of the 80s and 90s were nearly completely dominated by the (white), nepotistic European fashion houses of the day with little room for Latino designers to showcase their talents, let alone share their culture with the world; for the few that did exist–Carolina Herrera and Isabel Toledo come to mind–their Latino identities were noticeably secondary to their work.
But now it’s 2023, and though the industry is not without faults, Latino/a fashion enthusiasts can now see their cultures and experiences reflected in fashion at all levels. While plenty of Latino men have made their way in the fashion world, I’d like to specifically focus on the women–who have been historically vastly overlooked–who are changing the game and pushing the boundaries of design by bringing Latin America to high fashion.
- Georgina Treviño (Georgina Treviño Jewelry)
Georgina Treviño of Georgina Treviño Jewelry is a San Diego-based contemporary jeweler and artist hailing from Tijuana, Mexico. Her work, which features bold designs that parallels the colorful, multi-cultural tapestry of Mexico, has been worn by A-listers like Beyoncé, Bad Bunny, and Dua Lipa. Her designs have also been featured in several national and international exhibitions.
- Monica Sordo (sordo ©)
Born in Caracas, Venezuela, Monica Sordo spent years working abroad in Christian Louboutin’s PR department before she knew she was destined for more. Upon returning home to her father’s industrial design workshop and her mother’s creative drive, Sordo underwent an artistic metamorphosis to create pieces that pushed the boundaries of design. Her work draws from multiple inspirations, such as art deco and eclecticism to the landscapes that defined her youth on Venezuela’s Carribean coast; according to Sordo, Peru’s pre-Columbian iconography stands “at the core” of her sordo © jewelry line.
- Catherine Padilla (Azul Selva)
Representing Venezuela, Catherine Padilla is the soul behind Azul Selda. From bright bikini tops to ruffled skirts, Padilla’s clothes echo the rich elements of South America’s lands, particularly its rich and vast coast. Azul Selva, which means “blue jungle” in Spanish, is also creating change in Colombia where its garments are made by hiring Colombian workers to boost the local economy and using ethically sourced materials.
- Monica Santos Gil (Santos by Monica)
Monica Santos Gil has been a seamstress, photographer, customer service representative, logistics manager, and more. But when it comes to fashion, she is the Puerto Rican designer behind Santos by Monica. Her lengthy work experience and cultural background has wholly influenced her approach to her bright and geometric clothing designs, often pushing Santos Gil to her furthest reaches with the limited resources she sometimes works with. Says Santos Gil, “Puerto Rico represents everything. Part of my mission with the brand is to celebrate my Puerto Rican heritage by collaborating with local or Latinx talent […] I also think I chose such bright colors for the branding because of my upbringing on such a vivid island.”