Latino Fashion Week -Chicago Recap

img_1345This 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. img_1411

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

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 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 

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. IMGP9306.jpg

For more information you can visit Latino Fashion Week at

La Verdad Podcast

“Quien dijo miedo,” meaning “who said fear,” is a quote that Christian Alequin’s grandmother used to tell him and is now his advice to anyone that is trying to pursue their dreams and goals.

Christian Alequin and his friend Carlos Martinez launched La Verdad’s podcast and blog in 2016 where they began documenting and telling stories from the point of img_6225view of two Urban Latinos. However, the journey began before that in 2015 when they started creating apparel designs. As time went by their customer base grew as well.

The idea of having apparel was driven by 2 single fathers Christian and Claudio who is no longer working with them. “We also had an idea to help out other single fathers and show them personal development through workshops,” said Alequin.

Soon after Carlos joined the group, their apparel line evolved and they began selling shirts that said “Cultivo” meaning “Cultivation,” onto their website

As Claudio left the group to do his own thing Christian and Carlos revamped La Verdad into a podcast and began selling more apparel onto their site. As their site says, “La Verdad is focused on being true to our roots through originality.” 

Their 6 fundamentals are:

  1. Culture
  2. Tradition
  3. Art
  4. Community
  5. Inspiration
  6. Scholarship

La Verdad recently grew from 2 to 4 when Vanessa Figueroa, also known as Vfig, and Natalie Reyes, known as Nati, joined the podcast. The ladies give their perspective from a woman’s point of view. 

The group is mobile therefore, they do not have a set location. Carlos lives in Michigan and takes the time to drive out to Chicago to do their podcast recordings and Christian will also drive to Michigan so that the two can take turns traveling. The two have become dedicated to their work and keeping their fan base up to date with new shows. At one point during the summer the team went on a hiatus due to their lives and careers outside of the podcast. During that time their fan base would ask where is their show and what has happened. The amount of people who showed their interest in the podcast has given the group inspiration to continue on with their podcast/blog. 

Although the group has relied on viral marketing which has been working well for them, they have also thought about doing a street team and passing out flyers about La Verdad. Another idea that they had was to have a family podcast.

La Verdad has had a few special guests from Abel Muhammad a Student Minister who is devoted to helping out communities of color. Also, Adriana Almanza who you might remember, posted an “open letter” to Facebook as a response to what Donald Trump said about undocumented immigrants. These are just some of the podcast’s special guest to name a few. The group continues to reach out to individuals as a way to not only help their podcast grow but to also give their audience something new each time.

“Align yourself with positive people and go for it but have a plan,” said Carlos. 


By: Lucia A. Crespo

You can listen to new shows on and make sure to subscribe to their website. 

  • As well as follow them on the social media outlets listed below.
  • Facebook – La Verdad Ltd 
  • Instagram @Laverdadltd 
  • Twitter @Laverdadltd img_6258
  • From left to right: Carlos, Me (Lulu), Vanessa, Natalie, Christian.

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