This year Latino Fashion Week in Chicago celebrated its 10 year anniversary, “A Decade of Elegance.” I was honored to do media coverage at this 3 day event located in the heart of Downtown Chicago, at the Block Thirty Seven Mall. If I had to choose one word to describe my experience at Latino Fashion Week it would be “PHENOMENAL.” Each night models rocked elegant and sexy outfits from different designers, boutiques and stores. Although the event is Latino driven it is an event for EVERYONE. The designers, entrepreneurs, models, make-up artists and media were from different ethnicities who came to support and be part of the movement.
As I walked around taking photos I stopped to interview a few entrepreneurs that were showcasing their products. The first individual I met was Mr. Garrick Jones who owns Chica Fina Apparel. Mr. Jones mentioned that it was his first time exhibiting at LFW. The apparel displayed were V-neck shirts and tank tops that said, “Chica Fina” in stitching and in rhinestones. He said his inspiration of having the rhinestone shirts came from his sister. “I was motivated by my sister because she does rhinestone designs,” he said. Mr. Jones stated the name Chica Fina was inspired to capture the energy of a Latina woman. He also hopes to come back next year and to contribute more. Chica Fina Apparel is sold at http://www.chicafinaapparel.com
Another entrepreneur I met was Ms. Erin Leary who is the owner and creative director of Bebuddha Jewelry. During her time in college she started making jewelry for herself as a hobby and would sell them. After graduation she traveled and lived abroad for a few years. While traveling Ms. Leary came across many different stones and beads. She stated that after college she had plans to pursue other dreams however, she decided to invest her time in making jewelry. “I started to do shows about 2 to 3 years with jewelry and in July of 2015 I launched the website and ever since it has been very steady,” she said. Her brand manager Ms. Amanda Gregus stated that Ms. Leary will be attending her first show in Los Angeles in 2 weeks. The amazing pieces of jewelry are all hand-made from bracelets, earrings to even key chains and more. BeBuddha Jewelry is sold on their website at http://www.bebuddhajewelry.com and on Esty as well.
Last but not least BrandBUILD (Broader Urban Involvement & Leadership Development) is an organization whose mission, as stated on their website, is to “…engage at-risk youth in the schools and on the streets, so they can realize their educational and career potential and contribute to the stability, safety and well being of our communities.” At the LFW BrandBUILD displayed some of their jewelry that is hand-made by the youth between the ages of 14 to 18 years old. “The idea is to instill positivity and showing the youth another part of life and entrepreneurship,” said Ms. Bowman. Angela Bowman is the instructor of the class and gives the students jewelry techniques on what they will be making. Not only is Ms. Bowman an instructor but a mentor as well. She said during the time when the class is making jewelry they sit around a table and have inspirational and positive conversations. I was stunned to see such fine pieces of jewelry from bracelets, necklaces to intricate rings that came from hard working students. For more information you can visit BrandBUILD at http://www.buildchicago.org
Latino Fashion Week was definitely a successful 3 day event filled with positivity and FLAVA! and I look forward to attending next year. Thanks to the Co-Founders and producers Ms. Arabel Alva Rosales and Cesar Rolon Jr. for having an event that brings ALL people together to showcase their designs, fashion, art, and most importantly their CREATIVITY.
For more information you can visit Latino Fashion Week at http://www.latinofashiowk.com