In Honor of Hispanic Heritage Month We’re Celebrating these 10 Latinx Designers (2023)

Written by Kathryn Andes

Here at DoubleTake we are honoring ten of fashion’s most influential and talented Latinx designers from Spain, Dominican Republic and Latin America. Although we love to celebrate these visionary designers every month of the year, we’re especially excited to pay tribute to them during Hispanic Heritage month.

You may be asking yourself why we’re mentioning these Latinx designers at the beginning of October. Hispanic heritage month began on September 15 and will conclude on October 15. This is because it's the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries such as Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Additionally, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September 18.

Many aspects of modern fashion were drawn from Hispanic and Latinx cultures such as saddle bags, boleros, cowboy boots, off the shoulder blouses, ponchos, panama hats, raffia bags, and espadrilles. Latinx culture has not only influenced clothing designs but also beauty trends. Techniques such as dark brown lined lips, winged eyeliner, braided hair with brightly colored ribbons, bold colorful makeup, and avocado masks are all rooted in hispanic culture. Whether it be your favorite beauty ritual, or fashion trend we give special homage to these Latinx designers.

1.Alejandra Alonso Rojas

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Born in Madrid, Alejandra Alonso Rojas learned how to design from the women in her family. Rojas studied at IADE, Central Saint Martins, and Parsons School of Design in New York and Paris. She then went on to earn a master’s degree in fashion at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and a business degree from Universidad Carlos III in Madrid.

She launched a casual luxury brand in 2016 focused on the duality of Spanish tradition and modernity. You can see design aspects in her work like hand-knits, incredible tailoring, hand-crochet pieces, and buttery leather. Rojas holds sustainability at the heart of her brand, creating cashmere from recycled fibers and using natural dyes. What makes her brand so special is the connection to the women in her family and her Spanish upbringing.

2.Daniela Villegas

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Los Angeles based Mexican jewelry designer, Daniela Villegas has styled many celebrities such as Salma Hayek Pinault and Demi Moore. Villegas draws inspiration from her Mexican heritage and her love of nature. Many of her designs feature insects like ladybugs and spiders to creatures like crabs, lobsters, turtles, and fish. One of her more compelling sources of inspiration for her jewelry collections are alebrijes, Mexican sculptures based on folklore, made from cardboard, wood and/or paper.

In one of her most recent collections titled “Sisterhood” Villegas payed tribute to the feminist movement with a line of bee rings. Honing in on the “Queen Bee'' theme, she emphasized women’s empowerment, stressing that sisterhood is more important than the “Queen Bee'' paradigm.

3.Gabriela Hearst

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Born in Uruguay, Gabriela Hearst grew up on her family’s 17,000-acre ranch, Santa Isabel in Paysandu. After getting her degree in Communications and working for ten years in design in New York, she launched her label in 2015. One of the leading philosophies of Hearst’s brand is tradition over trends. That sentiment can be seen in all of her designs.

Hearst prides herself on caring for women and their wellbeing which is why all of her jackets and coats are lined with this special silver fabric that prevents cell phone radiation from reaching women’s reproductive organs.

Recently her brand gained a minority investor LVMH. After her label gained major success she went on to make her brand plastic free and in 2020 she even successfully organized the first ever carbon neutral runway show. In 2020, she won the American Womenswear Designer of the Year Award at the CFDA Fashion Awards. Most recently she was named the creative director for Chloe.

4. Nancy Gonzalez

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The Columbian born designer began her career in 1998 debuting her small collection at Bergdorf Goodman. Her handbags are now sold in over 300 luxury retailers around the world including Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Harrods, Tsum, Lane Crawford, Net-a-Porter to name a few. She created handbags that celebrated the natural beauty and rich culture of Colombia. Quality, luxury, authenticity and timelessness are the trademarks of the Nancy Gonzalez brand.

Gonzalez works with her son Santiago Barberi Gonzalez, President and Creative Director of Nancy Gonzalez. He has been the force behind the global expansion of Nancy Gonzalez, taking the luxury handbags business internationally, to New York.

5.Marina Larroudé

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Marina Larroudé started her brand after working in the fashion industry for 20 years. She worked in director roles at, Teen Vogue, and Barney’s. However she knew it was time to take a leap of faith and start her own brand, something she has always wanted to do. Her brand’s motto is You. Us. We. All. something that resonates with her audience. The Larroudé brand gives off New York City cool girl vibes while staying classy and versatile. Her aesthetic is meant to be fun and uncomplicated, featuring bright colors and daisy prints.

6. Manolo Blahnik

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Manolo Blahnik was born in Santa Cruz de la Palma in the Canary Islands, where his family owned a banana plantation. Blahnik traveled the world for years before his career took him to New York City. In 1969 he began work at the store Zapata where he designed men’s saddle shoes. He then started freelance work designing his iconic shoes. They did not prosper as anticipated, but gained popularity in the press and were soon recognized by Harper’s Bazaar and Women’s Wear Daily.

In 1978 he introduced a line exclusive to Bloomingdale's, and in the 1980’s he opened a store on W 54th Street and limited the distribution of his shoes to retailers such as Barneys, Bergdorf Goodman, and Neiman Marcus. After the iconization of his shoes on the show “Sex and the City”, there was more demand than there was supply. Now he is one of the most popular shoe designers of the twenty-first century and his Hangisi design is beloved by the masses.

7. Oscar de la Renta

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Óscar Arístides Renta Fiallo, known professionally as Oscar de la Renta, was a Dominican fashion designer. He was born in Santo Domingo and was trained by Cristóbal Balenciaga and Antonio del Castillo. In the 1960s De la Renta became internationally known as one of the designers who dressed Jacqueline Kennedy. In his early years he relocated to Spain and worked under Cristóbal Balenciaga. In 1961 de la Renta settled in Paris, where he worked as the assistant to Lanvin-Castillo’s head designer, Antonio del Castillo. Shortly after he moved to New York City, he started designing couture and ready-to-wear collections for Elizabeth Arden and established his own company in New York.

His designs first gained traction in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s for his gypsy- and Russian-inspired collections. Some classic elements of his designs include a saturated color palette, delicate silk prints, the use of ruffles, and soft silhouettes.

He achieved major success in the United States by dressing first ladies such as Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama, but he also maintained his roots in Latin America, contributing to charities and organizations. In 1993 he became the head designer at Pierre Balmain and in 2000 he received the CFDA Womenswear Designer of the Year Award. His legacy in the fashion community lives on today.

8.Cristobal Balenciaga

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Cristobal Balenciaga was a designer who made elegant ball gowns and evening wear. As a couturie in Paris, Balenciaga helped popularize capes for women and focused on creating clothes without waistlines in the late 1950s. A few years later in the 1960s he instilled the use of plastic for rainwear. Balenciaga later retired and closed his business.

However in 1987, the label was brought back and Michel Goma created the debut collection. He remained at the house of Balenciaga for five years, when he was later replaced by Dutch designer Josephus Thimister in 1992. The restoration and newfound popularization of the brand can be credited to Thimister. In 2001 the Kering group bought Balenciaga, the current creative director is now Demna Gvasalia. Today Balenciaga is best known for the reissue of its most popular handbag from 2001, the Motorcycle or “the city” bag as seen on the arms of Paris Hilton, Lindsey Lohan, and the Olsen sisters. Recently it has been spotted on influencers and celebrities making a comeback in early 2021.

9.Carolina Herrera

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Venezuelan-born designer Carolina Herrera has become one the fashion industry’s most prominent creators. She started her design career in the wedding industry where she designed Caroline Kennedy’s wedding gown in 1986. In 1987 Herrera debuted her first bridal collection. In 2001 she opened CH Carolina Herrera, alifestyle collection with ready-to-wear and accessories for men, women, and children. The first store premiered in Madrid, Spain. In 2004 Herrera received the Council of Fashion Designers of America "Womenswear Designer of the year" and the Glamour "Woman of the Year award".

Her brand gained major success in 2011 when she designed the wedding dress that Kristen Stewart wore as Bella in the Twilight series. In the years to come she continued her work in the fragrance industry creating her most popular scent to date, Good Girl. In 2018 with over 72 shows in her portfolio the icon took her final bow after presenting her Fall 2018 collection at the Museum of Modern Art.

10. Paco Rabanne

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Francisco Rabaneda y Cuervo was born in Spain in 1934. Shortly after he and his mother, a seamstress at the House of Balenciaga, escaped the Spanish Civil War by fleeing to France, where he changed his name to Paco Rabanne. By the 1960s he was working with several French fashion houses as an accessory designer. In 1966 he presented his line, Manifesto, where he experimented with looks made from molded plastics, hammered metal, aluminum jersey and knitted fur. Rabanne was known for his glitter and glam style, he designed mini dresses with gold plates and diamonds. Many fashion icons were known to be his muse including Brigitte Bardot, Jane Birkin, and Audrey Hepburn.

In 2013 Julien Dossena was named the new creative director of Paco Rabanne, continuing the brand in Rabanne’s vision. You can see elements of his Spanish culture in his designs like conquistador inspired jackets. There is an equilibrium between his Spanish heritage and his name sake glitzy style in the new age Rabanne brand.

How are you celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month? Let us know in the comments below and follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok.

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