Eight of the most exciting Latin designers in fashion right now
Whether it’s Raul Lopez’s commanding NYFW presence or Victor Barragán’s artistic experimentation, the industry is rapidly reaching new heights
Friday 14 October 2022 By Soho House
As the fashion industry is slowly expanding its cultural reach, Latin designers have burst through the door with collections that at once challenge our own preconceived ideas, while exposing us to the breadth of influences from Latin America that have largely been overlooked. This combination has produced some of the most exciting names in fashion, from Victor Barragán’s head-turning experimentation to Luar’s towering presence over the next wave of New York fashion.
Raul Lopez first gained attention as the cofounder of Hood By Air, but it’s his own brand Luar that has brought him to new heights. His Ana bag has quickly become the fashion insiders ‘It’ bag, but his clothes have been generating a buzz, too. That has culminated with the recent SS23 show, in which shoulder-belted jackets (another signature), 1980s-inspired tailoring and new experimental shapes made for one of the most exciting shows of NYFW.
2. Gabriela Hearst
Having grown up on a ranch in Uruguay, Gabriela Hearst wanted to maintain close roots to her culture when she launched her New York-based label in 2015. The brand prioritises fabrication, with natural materials like wool, silk and cashmere sourced from her family’s ranch, before being crafted into elegant dresses, knits, and tailored sets, with a separate menswear line, too. It’s the definition of modern, sustainable luxury.
3. Willy Chavarria
Before Willy Chavarria started his eponymous label, he had spent years honing his craft at labels such as Ralph Lauren and American Eagle. But his own brand of American fashion pulls from different influences, with particular focus on Mexican-American culture. That manifests into a distinct attitude that has never felt more relevant. Combined with the of-the-moment oversized silhouette everyone is after, Chavarria has suddenly captured everyone’s attention once again.
A favourite of New York Fashion Week, Mexico-born Victor Barragán has been a cult darling for years for his label’s bold and subversive styles. Clothing ranges from cut-out shirts and oversized, panelled jeans to printed bike shorts, all taking simple garments and redefining them to become standout pieces. His collections incorporate performance, art and strong visual identity, which merge together with the fashion to explore ideas about gender, subculture, sexuality, and other topics that invite experimentation.
5. Sánchez Kane
Bárbara Sánchez-Kane is a multi-hyphenate artist and designer born and raised in Mexico. Kane infuses her menswear with political statement and reflections on her own life, emotions, and Mexican heritage. This results in collections that are sometimes dreamlike, sometimes humorous, but always an intriguing pull into the depths of the designer’s psyche.
Miami-based Simonett is both a boutique in the Design District that champions eclectic designs, as well as the namesake label of the boutique created by Simonett Pereira. The label has grown rapidly since its inception in 2019, with collections that straddle the line between edgy and chic. Though focused on seasonality, styles like the Solar dress and the Nanu top have been hits for the brand for their wearability.
7. The Pack
Patricio Campillo’s The Pack has always made its ethos clear: sustainable production and menswear designs that are inspired by Mexican architecture and culture. The first part was clear to Campillo, who produces in-house in Mexico, with conscious attention to sourcing material and ensuring fair labour. The second part is more of a constant dialogue; he explores different subcultures through The Pack, but emphasises Charro culture – Mexican horse-riders who often don traditional garments.
8. Krystal Paniagua
Hailing from Puerto Rico, Krystal Paniagua brings a global perspective to fashion, having lived in New York, Milan and London, where she currently works. Those large urban centres may have informed her knitwear label’s practicality: pieces are designed for different sizes and shapes, are sometimes reversible to offer varied colour palettes, and allow the wearer to style them in different ways. Paniagua also prints imagery onto her knits, often capturing elements of Puerto Rico that outsiders don’t get to see.