As someone who lives in Los Angeles (let alone any other part of the U.S.) recognizing the huge impact that the Latina community has on this country is a neccessary step towards truly accepting this country for what it is. This is even more relevant now as we face the upcoming presidential election, and the debates that have sprung from the various candidates.
Maybe its because I'm actually an immigrant myself (I was born in Helsinki, Finland), but I truly believe there is no difference as to where someone is from in consideration of if they should be allowed to live in this country. If we truly believe we are a 'melting pot' nation we have to allow everyone to embrace their heritage and culture to the fullest.
Even though you might not think this is relevant to my normally fashion/ art based blog, but I believe these to be great mediums to express opinions and ideas. Because of this I'm excited to present to you Ella Loca, an upcoming brand focused on empowering Latina women and embracing characteristics which are often frowned upon in communities across the world.
What is Ella Loca and when did you get started with the brand?
Ella Loca is an online clothing store I created to bring fashion to women but also help promote feminism within the Hispanic culture. I started brainstorming in January of 2016 and my first release was in late March of 2016.
How did you come up with the three specific shirt designs (the cochina, llorona, and puta)? For ex: what was the design process like
One night I just had a dream about a shirt with Puta on it in Old English text. I think that Old English is so beautiful and very based in Spanish culture. I came up with Cochina and Llorona later on. My idea was to create a way for Latinas to reclaim words made to put them down. These shirts aren’t about shock value, each design has its own story. Puta, for a woman who is strong and independent, often knocked down by those that are intimidated by her. Cochina is for women that have been shamed because of their sexuality. I think Latina women are very fetishized, if you search #latina on instagram it’s mostly porn, but once a Latina woman wants to take control of her sexual nature she is considered a disgusting slut that nobody wants, and that’s wrong. Llorona is for any woman who has ever been shamed for showing her emotions which in Hispanic culture is considered “feminine” and “weak.”
Do you think there’s less respect for feminism in the Hispanic community versus in other communities?
I think there’s less respect for women in most colored communities. I think that in a lot of these colored communities women are taught that they are meant to be wives. We are meant to learn to cook, clean, and be beautiful all in an effort to find a man to provide for us. There is so much pressure to stay thin, have long hair, dress nice, etc. We are taught that we should have all these Eurocentric traits that are often impossible to achieve. Domestic violence is more prevalent in families of color, and I think that’s due to the fact that women are taught to be obedient to their husbands, we aren’t given the confidence to speak up for ourselves.
(This one is slightly off the topic off fashion) Since you embrace being Hispanic and are trying to have an impact on your culture, how do you feel about people like Donald Trump who (in my opinion) don’t respect the diversity in America?
I have actually cried over the fact that Donald Trump is a respected candidate. The year of 2015 was such a progressive year with the legalization of gay marriage and I really believe America has taken 10 steps back with the support for Donald Trump. It has truly shown how alive racism still is. It is so scary knowing that this many people have so much anger towards people of color. If Donald Trump was to become president some of my friends families would be separated, and although it isn’t right to be here illegally I believe everyone deserves a chance at life and some can’t get that in their native country. You may think Trump has good ideas and decide to push the racism to the side, but if you do vote for him I think you’re still a part of the problem.
What do you want women to get from wearing these pieces of clothing?
First off I want women to feel confident, I want women to embrace their bodies. For years we have been ashamed of our big hips and thick thighs, until recently the Kardashians have made it trendy to be thick. I also hope to share knowledge, I think a lot of my peers don’t even realized how oppressed we are still being. I want these garments to be conversation pieces, I want a girl to be walking down a street with her “Puta” shirt and have an opportunity to inform a commentator on the movement I am trying to create.
Describe the Ella Loca girl?
An Ella Loca girl is any Latina who is ready to embrace and grow her culture. She’s a woman who wants to create a progressive community for the next generations to experience. She is strong and independent.
Where do you want to take the brand in the future, what’s your ultimate goal?
I will be releasing more clothes for Summer, Fall and Winter in 2016, all of which will have the same intention of empowering Latinas. My ultimate goal is to create a group of informed women.
Be sure to follow Ella Loca on social media to stay up to date!