Latinos have long played a role in the world of fashion. From runways to red carpets, and the White House to the average home, there is a good chance a Latino designed the garment you see.
In an effort to shine a spotlight on these talented artists, we are showcasing 15 designers you need to know about, by country.
Belize: Rebecca Stirm
Designer Rebecca Stirm was a contestant on the fashion designer reality show Mission Catwalk, in Jamaica, where she placed third. In 2015, she launched her “tropical chic” brand TWIG & PEARL, which consists of clothing, artisan jewelry, and bags, made from natural materials, including locally sourced, food by-product leather.
Brazil: Francisco Costa
Brazilian designer Francisco Costa was the women’s creative director for Calvin Klein for 13 years, and also worked with Oscar de la Renta, and as chief womenswear designer for Gucci by Tom Ford. The Guarini native won the CFDA’s (Council of Fashion Designers of America) Womenswear Designer of the Year Award in both 2006 and 2008.
Bolivia: Beatriz Canedo Patiño
Although she is no longer with us, Beatriz Canedo Patiño left her mark on fashion. The Bolivian designer was known as the “Queen of Alpaca,” for her use of natural camelid textiles (alpaca, vicuña, and llama). Launching her design house, she was at the forefront of using ecologically-friendly materials, decades before it was popular to do so.
Chile: Maria Cornejo
Chilean-born Maria Cornejo designed for Fiorucci, before branching off and designing under her own name. The sculptural and modern looks of Zero + Maria Cornejo have been worn by former First Lady Michelle Obama, actress Tilda Swinton, and supermodel Christy Turlington Burns, among others.
Colombia: Haider Ackermann
Although the fashion designer was raised in different countries, including Ethiopia, Chad, and France, Haider Ackermann was born in Bogotá, Colombia. He designs under his own name, but was approached to design for Dior, and considered by Karl Lagerfeld to design for Chanel. Some have compared Ackermann to Yves Saint Laurent.
Cuba: Isabel Toledo
Cuban designer Isabel Toledo was the creative director at Anne Klein after having designed under her own name since 1985. Michelle Obama wore a dress and coat designed by Toledo for the first inauguration of President Barack Obama.
Dominican Republic: Oscar de la Renta
The late Oscar de la Renta is not only one of the top Latino designers of all time, but one of the top designers of all time, period. He designed the haute couture collection for Balmain, becoming the first Dominican, and the first American designer, to design for a French couture house. Santo Domingo-born de la Renta also dressed every first lady, from Jackie Kennedy, to Michelle Obama, and his gowns are a fixture on the red carpet.
El Salvador: Francesca Miranda
Francesca Miranda is a fashion designer born in San Salvador, El Salvador, and based in Barranquilla, Colombia. She has created collections for men and women, and sells ready-to-wear, evening wear, home decor items, Colombian art, and leather handbags in her own boutiques, as well as in stores worldwide.
Guatemala: Guillermo Jop
Guillermo Jop is a designer from Guatemala. He worked at Zac Posen, designed a capsule collection for La Perla, and runs his own brand, GUiSHEM.
Honduras: Carlos Campos
Carlos Campos’ rocker aesthetic has translated to clothes worn by the likes of Justin Timberlake. The Honduran designer has also designed for the New York City Ballet, and was a design consultant for Zara.
Nicaragua: Shantall Lacayo
Managua-born Shantall Lacayo designed gowns for contestants of Miss Nicaragua before placing second in the TV show Project Runway Latin America. Lacayo specializes in ready-to-wear and haute couture.
Peru: Claudia Jimenez
Model-turned-designer Claudia Jimenez creates haute couture, ready-to-wear, bridal wear, and accessories. She is considered one of Peru’s top designers.
Puerto Rico: Stella Nolasco
Puerto Rico’s Stella Nolasco has dressed such celebrities as Eva Longoria, Juliette Lewis, Dascha Polanco, and Beyoncé. Her website describes Nolasco’s work as “luxuriant, sexy, post-modern pieces that express a love and deep understanding for Latin spirit.”
Venezuela: Carolina Herrera
Carolina Herrera is an iconic fashion designer that needs no introduction. The Venezuelan was encouraged to create a clothing line, by Vogue editor-in-chief Diana Vreeland, after having been admired for her personal style for years. She started her company in New York in 1980, and has dressed celebrities, first ladies, and royalty. On top of winning numerous awards and recognitions, her looks have appeared on the cover of Vogue seven times.
Mexico: Christian Cota
After working for Venezuelan designer Angel Sanchez, Christian Cota launched his own label in 2007. Cota’s designs have been worn by celebrities such as Jennifer Lopez, Eva Mendes, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, and Blake Lively, among others.