Growing up obsessed with fashion, I was too young to realize an industry-wide problem with representation. The lack of designers with last names just like mine didn’t phase me—it was just the way it was. Since the beginning of time, glossy catwalks have been a European designer’s game; one often only playable if you were white, nepotistic and a product of structure and tradition from fashion’s pump-and-dump system. As the ‘80s and ‘90s led to Latin designers rising on an international stage—Oscar de la Renta, Carolina Herrera and Isabel Toledo come to mind—their Hispanic identities came second behind their American tendencies. Easily commodified and marketable to an audience who may not be familiar with all of the countries in South America, Latinx designers have a long history of shrinking themselves and their culture to fit into fashion’s most rigid boxes.
Over the past few years, several young designers emerging from Latin America have begun to take their rightful seat at the table, forcing the fashion industry to evolve with them. For so long, glossy magazines and public relations firms relied on a handful of Latin designers who had “made it” in the industry, only choosing to acknowledge safe, corporate-backed brands instead of rising talents that highlighted Latinx design.
As fashion changes, the names pushing the boundaries in our current cultural zeitgeist have changed with it, forcing us to pay attention to the communities that have been shut out for so long. If you’re looking for young designers to support, whether by buying a bag or giving a follow on social media, look no further.
Here, eight young Latinx designers to keep on your radar.
LUAR by Raul Lopez
Heavily reflecting his upbringing as a boy in Brooklyn, Raul Lopez’s label LUAR is unapologetically him. Most recently, Lopez’ latest foray into ready-to-wear accessories has included the Ana handbag—a purse set to become the next It Bag, with fans like Jane Fonda and Dua Lipa.
Gypsy Sport by Rio Uribe
Within designer Rio Uribe’s world, there aren’t many brands like Gypsy Sport—a pure reflection of queer aesthetics working against a colonial system upholding white supremacy and toxic machismo. Gyspy Sport feels like a celebration of the beautiful and strange, a mixture of genderless athlesiure and spandex-wear that allows every body to feel sexy and confident. Uribe’s designs are currently on display at the “In America: A Lexicon Of Fashion,” exhibit at the Met, so you’re sure to see the label around for years to come.
Sánchez-Kane by Barbara Sánchez-Kane
Geometric prints and sculptural design influences most of Sánchez-Kane’s work, whose menswear designs helm from Mexico. Her experimental vision, propelled through stylistic cuts and bold silhouettes, serves as a form of radical expression discussing feminism and politics.
Silués by Sebastián Ascencio
Despite being headquartered in Rome, Silués is quintessentially Colombian. The womenswear label by Sebastián Ascencio lives in the gray area between femininity and protest, using garments and textiles as a way to convey a sensitive, yet violent, state of being. The house’s latest collection prominently features deconstructed tulle, using the material to create cascading evening gowns.
Simonett by Simonett Pereria
This self-titled label by Venezuelan fashion designer Simonett Pereria has been making waves within the Miami fashion scene for a while now, with her viral knit sweater sleeves and strappy, deconstructed designs among the fan favorites of models off-duty.
Collectiva Concepción by Concepción Orvañanos
Conceptualized with the highest materials and artistry, Mexico-based Collectiva Concepción relies on the spirit of the country and its craftspeople to lift itself up. Simple silhouettes and muted color palettes prove to be versatile, with the brand’s garments created by local artisans in an effort to recognize the working class community as the backbone of the fashion industry.
Annaiss Yucra by Annaïss Yucra Mancilla
Serving as an ode to a bright bubblegum world, Annaiss Yucra plays into the hands of a nostalgia-obsessed generation. The Peruvian designer’s creations feel lifted straight from a ‘90s catalog, with colorful prints and bold knitwear to make any inner child swoon. Heart prints, pastel pinks and iridescent bubbles make up the brand’s signature look, with a lighthearted approach to Peruvian culture and tradition.
VELÁSQUEZ by Mateo Velásquez
Founder Mateo Velásquez’s Colombian heritage is present throughout his work at his self-titled brand, with edgy details transforming menswear collections. With a strong focus of deconstruction, VELÁSQUEZ imagines a world in which masculinity isn’t defined by immaculate power suits, but rather, a punk aesthetic meant to liberate queer men. Mixed patterns, motto accessory motifs and form-fitting garments presents a bold vision, one not defined by gender constructs or stereotypes.