Hispanic Heritage month is a time to honor and celebrate the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America. This year, we wanted to take some time to highlight some Hispanic women that are leading the charge in fashion, beauty, design, and manufacturing.
Ana Bianchi of PaperGirl Collection
Bianchi is founder and designer at PaperGirl Collection. Ana’s inspiring story began when she was designing the exterior of airplanes. However, because of her daughter’s imagination, she decided to design dresses using designs that her daughter hand-drew or painted. Ana even includes some designs that she drew when she was younger. Her girls’ line can be found nationwide in retail stores.
Rocio Evenett of Unlimited Design Services
A leader in manufacturing, Evenett established Unlimited Design Services in 1998 and has since expanded into Europe. Unlimited Design Services offers development and production services for apparel lines.
When asked how being Latina has attributed to her success in business she responded, “I think it’s a huge advantage to be a fluent Spanish speaker in Los Angeles, as most of the people working at the factories are immigrants from Latin America, and even while I lived in Europe my multi-cultural background made it possible to work with clients in Germany, France, Ireland, Spain, Portugal & Italy.”
Jessica Alba of The Honest Company
Alba was born in Pomona, California to parents of Danish, Welsh, German, English, French and Mexican descent. This actress turned start-up entrepreneur has been able to scale The Honest Company to a $1.7-billion valued company in less than 5 years.
“I wanted safe and effective consumer products that were beautifully designed, accessibly priced, and easy to get.” Not only has she created safe products for family, she recently launched HonestBeauty.com that aims at “safe, high-performance color cosmetics, skincare and beauty products that celebrate diversity.”
Nicole Melendez of Nicole Melendez Design and Consulting Group
Nicole was born + raised in Ponce, Puerto Rico and moved to NYC in 2007 to pursue studies in Fashion Design and Merchandising earning two degrees from the Fashion Institute of Technology. Melendez is a fashion and textile designer, specializing in contemporary womenswear. Experienced in collaborating with brands to bring their visions to life by aiding them in technical design and pattern making, concept development, hand and technical sketches as well as creating TechPacks, and sample construction. Her clients range from start up designers to established brands.
This leading lady was born in Miami to Cuban parents. Though she has made her name as an actress, Mendes has also successfully transitioned into the beauty and fashion space through strategic retail partnerships. Eva Mendes partners with NY&Co to present modern, chic and feminine fashion for the working woman. Her most recent venture launched in Walgreens Pharmacies nationwide last year: CIRCA. Mendes serves as the creative director CIRCA, a classic and contemporary Hollywood style cosmetics line that provides professional quality cosmetics with impactful colors, high performance formula and rich packaging.
Tanya Menendez, Co-Founder and CMO of Maker’s Row
Tanya Menendez started Maker’s Row in 2012 with the goal of making manufacturing more accessible in America. “We’ve seen over 1.5 million products get produced through our site, and wanted to showcase the amazing innovation, ingenuity and diversity of designers across the United States. We are standing at the forefront of a massive movement that a couple years ago, there were only whispers to be heard. Entrepreneurship, American manufacturing and consumer transparency have collided into the perfect storm.”
Layana Aguilar of Layana Aguilar
This Brazilian-American designer was featured on Lifetime’s season 11 of Project Runway and Latina’s Magazine “Up-And-Coming Latino Designers.” Her signature style of sophisticated and feminine designs are available in her new NYC shop.
Here’s what she had to say about her creative vision: “Everything I do is a matter of heart, body and soul…I believe that is the ‘Latin way,’ letting my emotions and passion drive me and be translated into clothes.” She offers some encouragement for new designers, “Don’t get caught up in winning because then you aren’t focused on what you are doing. Even if I don’t win, for me it’s more important to stick to my artistic aesthetic and grow as a designer.”
Natalie Herrera of High Gloss
Herrera has been making waves with the launch of her ceramics company, High Gloss. This year she was featured in Forbes 30 under 30 Art & Style for using unconventional tools to create her pieces. When asked about her design she shares, “I think of creating a form like creating a logo. When you’re designing a logo, you have to design everything in black and white first. You ask, ‘Is it legible?’ Only then can you move on to incorporating a color palette.”