10 Latina Designers About to Break Into the Mainstream Fashion Industry


Prissilya Junewin

Karina Gamez, the designer behind KARIGAM, takes inspiration from the architecture and landscapes of Venezuela.

By Carson Kessler, Staff Writer

From Manolo Blahnik to Oscar de La Renta, Latina designers prove themselves as some of the most valuable and talented contributors towards the fashion industry. Some agencies, such as CREO Consulting, hope to increase Latino representation within the United States fashion sphere. Founders of CREO, Giovanna Campagna and Cloclo Echavarria told Man Repeller, “There are so many talented designers who don’t receive the attention they deserve, or who lack access to global market.” Due to an increase in awareness and exposure, many Latina designers are finally receiving the recognition they have long deserved. Here are a few of the Latina designers to watch.


Sofia Arana


Originally from San Juan, Puerto Rico, Arana, at the age of 14, was the youngest Latina fashion designer to participate in Nolcha Fashion Week in 2014. Now 22, Arana studies Art History at University of Puerto Rico while keeping up with her own fashion line. Her whimsical yet elegant collections scream contemporary with a hint of vintage flair. Her style includes versatile basics with eye-catching statement pieces, all of which can be bought through inquiry at [email protected].


Mariana Valentina


Valentina, of Argentinian descent, started sketching her designs at age 8 while living in New York, soon after teaching herself how to sew. She launched her label in 2012, which consists of designs characterized by a fusion of sexiness, strength, romance and femininity. Designs from her collections can be bought at her boutique Pamela Gonzales SOHO or at www.marianavalentina.com.


Paola Hernandez


From Mexico City, Hernandez studied philosophy in her hometown, then fashion in London and lastly shoe design in Milan. Through her collections, Hernandez explores the connections between philosophical concepts and contemporary art. Hernandez is drawn to simple colors, repeated patterns and versatile basics, all of which can be found at 188 Broadway in Brooklyn, NY.


Johana Hernandez


Born in California to Salvadoran parents, Hernandez spent the majority of her childhood alongside her parents, who worked in sweatshops. Growing up accustomed to fabrics and fashion, at age 19 Hernandez began her first job as a head designer. At 22 she became head designer of Seven7 Jeans, and a mere two years later launched her own line — a collection of curve-hugging, bold and confident pieces which can be bought online at www.glaudishop.bigcartel.com.


Norisol Ferrari


Staying true to her Venezuelan and Colombian heritage, Ferrari and her designs address the confidence held by the Latin women she grew up with. Paying great attention to the shape and construction of each look, Ferrari is known for her dependence on exotic skins to complete her creations, such as alligator jackets and fox cashmere coats. Her designs are available only through appointments at 11th Ave. and 28th St.

Layana Aguilar

Aguilar, from Brazil, made her fashion debut on season 11 of “Project Runway,” where she yearned to make designs that were unique, modern, and practical. In 2012, Aguilar launched her own fashion line, a collection focused on the busy lives of modern women. Her most famous designs include shift dresses, crop tops and flouncy skirts with feminine attitude, all of which can be bought on her website, www.layanaaguilar.com/shop.


Karina Gamez


As a young adult, Gamez contributed to her family’s export/import business, providing her a background in operations and logistics that served as a useful tool in. Waldrip attended SCAD, where she was mentored by designer Rachel Roy, then promoted to assistant of a New York designer. In 2014, Gamez began KARIGAM, a line of clothing that is always minimal, fresh and effortless. Inspired by her home country of Venezuela, Gamez designed each look based on linear architecture and country landscapes. The online shop will open soon.  


Stella Nolasco


Originally from Puerto Rico, Nolasco grew up in a household which greatly celebrated its Latin culture. Nolasco’s Latin background gives her the cultural pride to add a flirtatious and ambitious side to each design. Characterized by their romantic, whimsical feel through exploration with tulle and lace, Nolasco’s collection can be found at her boutique in San Juan, Puerto Rico.


Stephanie Waldrip


Born in Georgia with Colombian roots, Waldrip attended SCAD, where she was mentored by designer Rachel Roy, then promoted to assistant of a New York designer. Soon after, Waldrip released her own line in 2012. Waldrip greatly emphasizes fabrics, including a history of mills and origination of fabric upon each of her designs. Her colorful and unique patterns delicately placed upon reliable fabrics can be found on her website, www.waldripnyc.com.


Berjheny Del Mar


Born on the coast of Venezuela and raised in Aruba, Del Mar grew up with the beach as her playground. Her grandmother was a couturier who greatly instilled in her the importance of handiwork and tailoring techniques. Del Mar decided to use her knowledge of tailoring and  love of the sea to create a travel-inspired brand of beachwear. The line celebrates artistries and worldly cultures through bright patterns and intricate crochet, all of which can be found at www.delmarswim.com.

Email Carson Kessler at [email protected]