One of my favorite aspects of being a fashion editor is discovering exciting new brands and designers. Whether it’s small labels in their infancy or more established brands that catch my eye with their unique designs, it’s always a thrill (and an honor!) to share their creativity with a wider audience.
Being half-Paraguayan (I grew up in a household fervently proud of our Latin-American culture, from the Latin music that filled our home to the Yerba Mate we drank daily), so there’s no doubt that I get particularly giddy when I discover talent that speaks to my Latin-American roots and culture. So today, in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, I'm excited to shine a light on a number of brands and designers from the Latin community who are making a mark in the fashion space. And who better to highlight some of the coolest up and coming brands than the talented Latina editors and journalists—from East Coast to West—whose job it is to write, discover, and keep abreast of up-and-coming fashion talent. Scroll below as they share who the Latin brands they’re most excited about right now.
Mekita Rivas: Fashion Features Writer, Bustle
"I cannot get enough of Maygel Coronel's gorgeous swimsuits. The colors are so dreamy and the dramatic puff sleeves make a major statement. While I didn't get my tropical vacation this year, these pieces have me fantasizing about whenever I'll be able to travel again and spend a couple of days on the beach under a cabana with a piña colada in hand."
"I discovered Jen Zeano Designs after seeing their cotton candy pink 'Latina Power' T-shirt all over Instagram. I had to have it! I love their creative, playful designs that help me showcase my cultura. Plus, the tees are super soft and comfortable. The founder writes personal notes with each purchase, which makes it feel that much more special."
Monica Mendal: Freelance Fashion and Lifestyle Editor
"My family is Colombian, and mochilas are the native bags there. I love wearing elevated versions because it's such a beautiful way to keep me grounded to my roots on a daily basis. Verdi does stunning mochilas in gold silver-plated copper threads and ecru organic silks that you can easily take from day-to-night."
"For ready-to-wear, I love Peruvian brand Escvdo. They use traditional weaving techniques and locally sourced fibers to create modern designs that still feel wholly Peruvian. And in true Latin-American form, Escvdo's collections are always super feminine, but without the traditionally loud ruffles and frills. I especially love their crochet styles. Such a comfortable way to look and feel sexy."
Thatiana Diaz: Senior Editor, Refinery29
"Viva La Bonita is a Los Angeles–based brand that landed on my radar after I spotted one of their T-shirts on Instagram, and I instantly became a fan of their Latina-focused apparel. I'm all about comfort wear, so I appreciate a brand that gives me loungewear that's stylish enough to wear anywhere, but this one comes with a side of Spanglish phrases on the clothes. If I ever need a kick of empowerment, having a shirt that reminds me of my inner power as a Latina has been the perfect go-to."
"From the Indigenous name (WASI is a Quechuan word that means 'home') to the textiles sourced in South America, I love the heritage that lives in the DNA of this Bolivian-American brand. While the brand's roots brought me in, I stayed for the affordable, eye-catching designs. Additionally, every garment is made to order to mitigate the environment, which is a major plus."
Frances Solá-Santiago: Editor-in-Chief, Emperifollá
"Selva Negra is a Latinx-owned brand of womenswear founded in Brooklyn and now based in Los Angeles by two former Parsons classmates. Their collections are full of elevated basics that make everyday dressing easier and chicer. I especially love their monochromatic looks because who has time to color-coordinate an outfit these days?"
"One of my favorite things about fashion is how it allows us to express who we are, and Yayi's collections highlight the unique experience of Puerto Ricans in the diaspora. The clothes are made with natural fibers by its designer Yayi Pérez in Puerto Rico, but carry the nostalgia of home, which was inspired by Pérez's own time in New York City, with utilitarian, feminine styles perfect to wear while sipping cafecito in a reclining chair during quarantine."
Angela Melero: Deputy Editor, The Zoe Report
"I discovered Farm Rio for the first time last year when I paid a visit to the Brazilian brand's pop-up in Los Angeles. It was literally love at first sight for me! I was instantly won by the vibrant prints, colors, and mixed textures that transformed otherwise simple silhouettes into wearable works of art. I went home with a pair of intricately embroidered wide-leg pants that bring me so much joy. And I think that's essentially what the brand is about—creating rich, vivid pieces that make the wearer feel lighter."
"As a Mexican-American woman with a heart for color and traditionally feminine detailing, Pink Magnolia is a dream come true. Voluminous floral tops and flowing vintage-inspired midi skirts are standard for the Mexican brand, so clearly I'm on board."
Elena Garcia: Editor, Buzzfeed
"If I could only have one aesthetic for the rest of my life, it would be the one presented to me through the designs of Columbian designer Silvia Tcherassi. Her pieces are just perfection! They're intricate, playful, and feminine while presenting an elegance and craftsmanship that very few designers can ever accomplish. She just really knows how to create a perfect silhouette. Obsessed doesn't even begin to describe it. La amo! "
"I've really been loving Mexican designer Roberto Sanchez. I learned of his designs just about a year ago, when I was exploring the selection of a great shop in Mexico City called Hi-Bye World, and have been hooked ever since. I love the interesting fabrics and prints he uses—the perfect mix of playful and sexy. He's had a small capsule collection at Opening Ceremony before and his designs have been worn by a bunch of celebs, specifically Bad Bunny, who I'm obsessed with. "
Bianca Nieves: Commerce Editor, Teen Vogue and Deputy Editor, Emperifollá
"When I think about 'vegan leather,' I think about glorified plastics. However, I've been really intrigued by Mónica Santos Gil's eco-friendly approach to this fabric substitute because Santos by Mónica's vegan leather made-to-order bags are actually crafted from cactus fibers! The designs are also really fun and I love a good merch tee."
"Krystal Paniagua's approach to design and knitwear is like no other. Her creations feel like art pieces and most can be worn in various ways, which brings excitement back to dressing up during these times."
Irene San Segundo: Lead Latina Editor, PopSugar
Photo:Irene San Segundo
"Cuyana is a super-chic accessories line founded by Karla Gallardo and Shilpa Shah. They focus on having fewer but better pieces in your closet that will last forever and that you can combine with basically everything. I'm obsessed with their convertible satchel bag that is also a backpack, a crossbody, and fits my computer! I would be happy just wearing this one bag every day for the rest of the year."
"Clandestina is a Cuban brand based in Havana that I love for its fun and sustainable philosophy and the upcycling techniques they use when it comes to materials. The bags, T-shirts, and jackets they sell in their Havana workshop/store and at The Canvas, here in Brooklyn, are made from reused or repurposed materials. I particularly love their Glorias Deportivas bags made out of recycled nylon bags the designers found in Cuban markets."
Arianna Davis: Digital Director, O, The Oprah Magazine
"I'm a longtime fan of Yo Soy Afro Latina, a community and brand that highlights the experiences of Afro Latinas. I especially love their tees, which manage to nod to the experiences of both Black women and Latina women. These are my favorites."
Jessica Chia: Contributing Editor, Allure
"I adore Camila Coelho as a person, and I also adore the Brazilian influencer's clothing line because it offers feminine and fun options for everything from going out to going swimming and going to the office. I especially appreciate her use of rich textures and slightly offbeat colors, like periwinkle blue, fiery coral, velvety gold, and understated khaki that really make the pieces stand out."
"This line is dear to my heart because the Mexican designer, Vero Solis, named it after her grandmother, Josefina. My own great-grandmother, who was born in Chihuahua, Mexico, was also named Josefina. Her clothes make traditional Mexican motifs feel fresh, chic, and totally unapologetic. Check out the bandana-and-loteria tailored suit, chamarras with Sagrado Corazon and Virgen iconography, and patchwork cubrebocas (so 2020)."