The influence of La Morenita (the affectionate name Mexicans give to the Virgin of Guadalupe) goes far beyond people’s beliefs. As a true pop icon, the image of this religious figure has transitioned from being revered in churches and altars to becoming a regular presence in catwalks and boutiques all over the globe.
For better or worse, the familiar faces of Frida Kahlo, Pablo Escobar and Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara have been immortalized by the fashion world, so it’s refreshing to find the gentle presence of the Guadalupana trending in this environment. Despite what you might think, “wearing” the representation of the Virgin isn’t frowned upon. On the contrary, it’s become a symbol of pride and honor for the Mexican-American culture.
Patty Delgado, a graduate of Religious Studies from UCLA, is the mastermind behind the Hija de tu Madre brand, which aims to bring millennials closer to their roots. “Latinos are so eager to reflect their culture in their attire… They feel connected with my designs because they’re a strong statement of our identity,” explains Delgado.
“For me, the Virgin of Guadalupe speaks volumes about where I’m from and my own personal history, both as a Mexican and as a Latina,” adds the designer. Curiously, the first item of clothing she came up with was a handmade denim jacket with the image of La Guadalupana made from sequins. The rest, as they say, is history.
Following her lead, fashion powerhouses like Dolce & Gabbana, Jean Paul Gaultier, Dior and Ed Hardy, among others, have hopped on this religious imagery trend during the past seasons. Far from being disrespectful, designers and fashion critics alike point to this style as a way of representing one’s faith, of feeling “protected” by our beliefs without caring what others might think. After all, fashion should be a way of expressing who we are on the inside, right?
Whatever your feelings on the subject may be, the Virgin of Guadalupe as a fashion icon restores hope among young Latinos who have strayed from the path of religious belief in order to join a world which is more materialistic than ever. Hispanics in general –and Mexicans in particular– are so appreciative of La Morenita that they have embraced this new iteration of her image, not caring much for how it may look to outsiders.
What’s really important is for the new wave of designers who rely on religious imagery for inspiration to always show respect, a sophisticated approach and a true appreciation of their subject. This has been the norm so far and we hope it stays that way.
If you need proof of this, just take a look at how the Virgen Morena has captured social media through bold and vibrant designs that are also millennial-friendly…
Distroller, by Amparín Serrano, has distinguished itself for cartoony designs of the Virgin of Guadalupe in brazen colors. This bag is the perfect example!