For the longest time, only European fashion designers were highlighted and honored for their achievements. Their styles and influence, in cities such as Paris, London, and Milan, were the dictators of what was we saw in fashion. Trends trickled down to the mainstream based on what was seen on the runways and in the couture salons. European fashion was the be-all and end-all — period! Fashion magazines featured their designs, wrote on their successes, and promoted their way of doing things. If there were any Latinx designers killing it, we wouldn’t know because they were hardly being covered or talked about.
But the truth is, Latino designers have been adding their spin to and claiming their stake in the fashion world for decades. Designers, like Carolina Herrera and Oscar de la Renta made it to the top of the fashion game, but there are so many more designers who have made a name for themselves in the fashion industry. Although Latino designers are covered much more in mainstream fashion media these days, we don’t see their names as much as they deserve and as much as we’d like.
Because It’s often so difficult to find a roundup of Latinos who paved the way in the fashion world, we’ve put together a comprehensive list for you. We also made sure to include designers from a variety of Latin American countries, and at different stages of their fashion careers. We hope this list of fabulous fashion designers inspires you, while also giving you a major dose of orgullo Latino — check it out!
Carolina Herrera is probably one of the first names that come to mind when you think about Latinx fashion designers. The hugely-successful Venezuelan fashionista started off as a socialite and publicist for Emilio Pucci. Her personal style was so elegant and celebrated, that Carolina was encouraged to start her own clothing line. Ever since, the brand has been synonymous with elegance, style, and timeless chic. Some of the stars Carolina Herrera has dressed include Renee Zellweger, Sofia Vergara, Jessica Alba, Nicole Kidman, and Sarah Paulson. This year, Carolina Herrera passed her creative director role to designer Wes Gordon, but we will always associate the brand with her sharp eye and incredible elegance.
Dominican-Lebanese fashion designer Giannina Azar is newer on the scene but is nonetheless making a splash in the fashion world. She dressed Jennifer Lopez for several performances. This year, she designed garments that the star wore at the DIRECT TV NOW Super Saturday Concert, the 2018 Latin Billboards, and the “Somos una voz” benefit concert. Both outfits were body-conscious, sparkling, and showed skin — all integral parts of J.Lo’s aesthetic. Other stars that Giannina Azar has dressed include Thalia, Gwen Stefani, Chiquinquirá Delgado, and Zuleyka Rivera. We can’t wait to see what other beautiful red carpet and stage-ready gowns and outfits Giannina Azar designs next!
Macario Jimenez is a fashion designer from Mexico. The Guadalajara native launched his eponymous label in 1994 after studying fashion design at Milan’s Marangoni Institute. Jimenez’s clothing is known for being super feminine, featuring floaty fabrics, and an overall lightness. In addition to ready-to-wear, Macario Jimenez also has a bridal line.
Puerto Rican designer Carlota Alfaro is a big, legendary name in Puerto Rican fashion. Known for her exaggerated mermaid-style gowns, the fashionista has been designing clothing as a business since 1950. Her clothes have been sold in major stores, such as Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Bloomingdale’s. In addition to being one of the best-known fashion designers in Puerto Rico, Carlota has given back to the community and has fostered the careers of other Latinx fashion designers by opening Carlota Alfaro College. This year, a section of Calle Loiza in San Juan, Puerto Rico was named after the iconic designer.
Haider Ackermann is a Colombian-born designer who presented his first collection at Paris Fashion Week in March of 2001. After studying fashion design in Belgium at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp, he landed an internship with John Galliano. According to the fashion site, Business of Fashion, Ackermann is “known for his signature draped forms and a colorful textured design aesthetic.” His work in fashion won the designer a Swiss Textiles Award in 2004, and a Fashion Group International Award in 2014, presented to him by designer Karl Lagerfeld. Lagerfeld personally wanted Haider Ackermann to take over for him at Chanel. The designer was also approached to take over at Dior and Maison Margiela.
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. 💛 Printed organza bow hat by Adolfo 💛 ✨ The beautiful Wilhelmina Cooper. ✨ Photo by Irving Penn. ✨ Vogue March 1st 1965 from my collection. 'The fun of a glorious hat in a blaze of silk organza flowers with a great pour of bow and broad streamers pouring down over the shoulders—a delicious way to surround yourself with sunlight all spring and summer. On the lips, Pink Love lighted by an undercoat of Secretly Coral. By Jaquet. Hat by Adolfo, of Bianchini fabric at Saks Fifth Avenue; Rich's; Halle Bros.; Neiman-Marcus.' @voguemagazine @dvdianavreeland @the.irving.penn.foundation #fashion #vogue #voguemagazine #vogueus #usvogue #americanvogue #fashionhistory #fashionmagazine #fashionphotography #fashionphotographer #irvingpenn #penn #irvingpennphotography #beauty #makeup #makeupartist #maquillaje #vintagefashion #wilhelminacooper #adolfo #adolfosardiña #vintagebeauty #flowers #flower #flora #spring #millinery #hat #vintagehat #dianavreeland
Adolfo Sardiña (known as Adolfo) was a Cuban designer who started in millinery and then expanded into women’s clothing. He was born in Cardenas, the son of an Irish mother and Spanish father. Raised by his aunt, who loved French haute couture, Adolfo was encouraged to enter the fashion world. He started as an apprentice milliner (hat maker) at Bergdorf Goodman, and at the Cristobal Balenciaga salon in Paris, during the 1950s. He then became the chief designer for milliner Emme; his work earned him a Coty Fashion Award in 1953. Sardiña branched out into clothing, apprenticing at Chanel in Paris to hone his skills. He received another special Coty Fashion Award in 1969 for his contributions to fashion.
Isabella Springmühl Tejada
Not only is Isabella Springmuhl Tejada a good fashion designer, but she’s also an inspiration, reminding us to never give up our dreams. The guatemalteca designer of Down to Xjabelle, who has Down Syndrome, initially wasn’t accepted to design school after having completed her bachelor’s degree. She persisted, however, and became (at 19) the first woman with Down Syndrome to be invited to show her collection at London Fashion Week. Her runway show was part of LFW’s International Fashion Showcase. Isabella also was invited to show her work at Museo Ixchel del Traje Indigena in Guatemala. Did we mention that she’s only 22 years old?!
Another Latinx fashion designer who has created both ready-to-wear and bridal wear is Angel Sanchez. The Venezuelan launched his line in 1997, after first having studied architecture. He takes what he has learned in the discipline, and applies it to his design work. Celebs seen in his work include Elsa Pataky, Uzo Aduba, and Kate Bosworth,
Oscar de la Renta
If you didn’t think of Carolina Herrera first when thinking about successful Latinx fashion designers, you probably thought of the iconic Oscar de la Renta. The Dominicano’s genius was evident, in his elegant, timeless, and stylish clothing. Celebrities who have been photographed wearing his gowns include Cameron Diaz, Kerry Washington, Lupita Nyong’o, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Jennifer Lopez.
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Oscar de la Renta was a mentor and boss to the following Latinx fashion designer we are going to talk about: Francisco Costa. The Brazilian designer worked for de la Renta, before becoming the award-winning womenswear designer at Calvin Klein. Costa has recently launched a skincare line called Costa Brazil.
Cubana Isabel Toledo is another Latinx designer who has made a name for herself in the fashion industry. She presented her first collection in 1985 and has been designing ever since (she also collaborates closely with her artist husband, Ruben Toledo). Toledo designed the yellow dress and coat Michelle Obama wore as First Lady to Barack Obama’s first inauguration.
Lazaro Hernandez is one half of the brand Proenza Schouler (the other designer is Jack McCollough). The duo’s collection for their senior thesis at Parson’s School of Design was bought (the entire collection) by Barneys New York. Hernandez was born in Miami to Cuban parents. His clothing line with McCollough has expanded from clothing, to include footwear, handbags, swimwear, and a casual basics line called PSWL.
Representing Belize is the Central American fashion designer Rebecca Stirm. The Roaring Creek native started designing custom occasion clothing and realized that she wanted to do better for the environment. She closed Rebecca Stirm Clothing to open the environmentally-conscious TWIG & PEARL. The line uses at least 75% natural materials in each product and uses the skill set of local artisans.
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North Hollywood native Willfredo Gerardo is a Cuban-Mexican fashion designer. He has dressed various Latinx celebs, including Lucero, Ninel Conde, Rashel Diaz, Alejandra Espinoza, and Roselyn Sanchez. His designs are perfect for the red carpet —they’re glam, sparkling, dramatic, and body-conscious. Before focusing on couture gowns, Gerardo designed wedding gowns for clients, created the dresses for Nuestra Belleza Latina (2015 and 2016), and showcased a couture resort collection at Miami Swim Week.
Brazilian fashion designer Carlos Miele is another Latinx who has made a name in the world of la moda. His self-titled label was launched in 2002, with his second one, Miele, coming out in 2006. Carlos also designs a premium denim line. His work has been known to blend the artificial and natural, technology and nature.
We wrote about Francesca Miranda in a previous story on Latino fashion designers to know. The San Salvador, El Salvador native currently designs clothing in Barranquilla, Colombia. Her clothing is created for both men and women; there is also a bridal collection. Francesa Miranda designs are available for sale around the world, in places such as New York, Beverly Hills, Japan, El Salvador, and South Korea.
Selena Gomez, Jennifer Lawrence, and First Lady Michelle Obama are just three of the famous women who have been seen in beautiful creations by Narciso Rodriguez. The Cuban-American designer worked for Anne Klein and Calvin Klein before launching his own label in 1997. Like many other designers, Narciso Rodriguez has released fragrances, including the popular Narciso Rodriguez for her.
Colombian designer Silvia Tcherassi was the “originator of Latin flair,” according to Women’s Wear Daily. She launched her womenswear line in 1987 and has been creating ever since. In addition to fashion design (ready-to-wear and atelier collections), Tcherassi also created the Tcherassi Home Collection and has dipped her toes into the hospitality industry, opening the Tcherassi Hotel + Spa in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia.
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Parece que fue ayer cuando todos veíamos en la televisión algunas imágenes de la hermosa boda de Thalía con Tommy Mottola. Como sacada de un cuento de princesas, la cantante apareció en un precioso vestido blanco de hombros caídos y con una enorme sonrisa en la cara que describía todo lo que la mexicana sentía en ese momento. . Hoy, 18 años después, esa sonrisa sigue intacta cada vez que Thalía habla sobre su esposo y el amor de su vida. Habiendo formado una feliz familia con sus hijos, Sabrina y Matthew, la pareja sigue acumulando momentos alegres y en la especial fecha de su aniversario. . Ellos son de las parejas más estables del mundo de las celebridades y han sabido formar un hogar lleno de amor y alegría, siempre manteniendo los valores e incluso han sabido combinar las tradiciones mexicanas que tiene la cantante con las del país en el cual viven, para educar de la mejor manera a sus hijos….💟💟💟 @thalia . . #thalia #thaliaythommy #bodadeprincesa #cuentodehadas #bodas #weddingday #thaliawedding #invitacionesdeboda #tarjeteria
Remember Thalia’s iconic, fairy-tale wedding dress? It was designed by legendary Mexican designer Mitzi. The Pueblo Viejo native has also dressed big stars like Maria Felix and Veronica Castro. In addition to dressing celebrities, Mitzi opened a boutique in Beverly Hills, where you could buy gowns for brides, graduations, quinces, and more.
Maria Cornejo is a fashion designer from Chile, who currently is based in New York. Before launching her own line, she designed for the brand Fiorucci. Zero + Maria Cornejo is the name of both the designer’s current store and clothing collection. Its website emphasizes that the line is “designed by women for women,” “locally produced,” and is made as a result of “responsible design.”
Beatriz Canedo Patiño
The late Beatriz Canedo Patiño was a Bolivian fashion designer. She launched her fashion house in Bolivia in 1994 and her use of llama, vicuna, and alpaca earned her the nickname “Queen of Alpaca.” Beatriz designed a suit for the President of Bolivia, including his inauguration suit, as well as creating looks for other notable people. Beatriz Canedo Patiño is known as the most famous fashion designer in Bolivia.
Fashion designer Patricia Bonaldi hails from the municipality of Uberlandia, in Brazil. She opened her store in 2003 and then decided to create an evening gown line when she started receiving requests for custom-made gowns. Her bolder PatBO brand was later launched in 2012. In an effort to give others a skillset to help support their families, Patricia Bonaldi opened the Patricia Bonaldi School of Embroidery.
Gustavo Cadile is a fashion designer from Junin, Argentina. He studied fashion design at the International Fine Arts College in Miami and later worked for Oleg Cassini’s bridal line and Perry Ellis, in New York. In 2007, Cadile launched his own line, adding in bridal in 2015. Celebs to wear his work include Eva Longoria, Sofia Vergara, and Reese Witherspoon.
We couldn’t do this roundup of great Latinx fashion creators without including those designers who slay the accessories game. Uruguayan Gabriela Hearst makes chic handbags and fine jewelry that are glam, stylish, and timeless. She also creates other accessories, such as scarves, badges, hats, and belts, as well as designing clothing.
Colombian designer Pepa Pombo has been making fashionable clothing, with an emphasis on knitwear, since 1978. Her daughter, Monica Holguin, was named as the brand’s designer and creative director in 2012. Perhaps what helps Pepa Pombo stand out is that its “intricate fabrics are always unique to the brand.” The result is a chic-yet-cool aesthetic.
If you’ve ever watched the TLC show, Say Yes to the Dress, then you are probably familiar with the bridal designer Lazaro. Brides continuously freak out over his gorgeous wedding gowns. Fashion designer Lazaro Perez, who was born in New York, and is of Cuban descent, creates for his Lazaro line, as well as a bridge collection named Tara Keely (both for JLM Group).
Miami native Brian Reyes worked for big-name designers Ralph Lauren, Oscar de la Renta, and Michael Kors. He then branched off to start his own label of ready-to-wear clothing in 2004. The Colombian creator closed his line in 2010, but after that served as a creative consultant at TSE, and vice president and head of global design at Calvin Klein Underwear.
Dominican designer Fernando Garcia is one half of the design team (the other half is Laura Kim) that serve as creative directors at Oscar de la Renta, where Garcia was once an intern. The pair also started the brand Monse and currently work at both labels. They’re a good example of how you can work brilliantly at one brand, while also having your own!
Colombian designer Nancy Gonzalez has been making luxe handbags from exotic skins since 1998. You can shop her accessories at stores such as Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Bergdorf Goodman. Gonzalez’s handbags are created in her native city of Cali by local artisans, ensuring that she gives back to her own community. Nancy’s son, Santiago, is the brand’s president and creative director.
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#Repost @maitepb with @get_repost ・・・ Para seguir con el color blocking uno de los diseñadores mexicanos q se sumó con su talento fue @benitosantosoficial me fascinó la forma de conjugar dos colores básicos de una forma tan original y classy , less is always more !!!! Ame este total look con labios rojos que nunca fallan @zulalfo utilizo niwdore @lbelonline favorito de larga duración y esta slick ponytail de mi @gabrielsamra que ya es un clásico entre nosotros . Se acuerdan de mi vídeo de… vas a querer volver ? pues retomamos esa idea y creo q nunca falla. La joyería de @bravoclavello con rubíes y esmeraldas que voló desde NY a Miami para darle el toque final todo orquestado por mi @danireyesoficial 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼
Designer Benito Santos Ramirez hails from Tepehuaje de Morelos Jalisco. After studying fashion design, at the Lanspiac Institute in Guadalajara, he made his debut in Mexico in 2008. Ximena Navarrette was wearing a Benito Santos dress when she was crowned Miss Universe in 2010. Other celebs who have worn his red carpet looks include Fernanda Castillo, Barbara Mori, Candice Swanepoel, and Anahi.