For decades, fashion designers of Latin American descent such as Carolina Herrera,
Oscar de la Renta, and Haider Ackermann have been central figures of the fashion industry.
Their successes have paved the way for new generations of talented designers, including
Gabriela Hearst, Willy Chavarria, and Kika Vargas. These names represent only a few
of the emerging designers who are making their mark on the fashion scene by creating
for famous fashion houses, winning prestigious awards, and dressing celebrity clients.
The English-language media has often viewed Latin American fashion from an outsider’s
perspective—as an exoticized other—presenting the region as a homogenous entity. However,
there is no singular Latin American style but rather a diversity of talent that continues
to shape contemporary fashion.
¡Moda Hoy! Latin American and Latinx Fashion Design Today included creators from Latin American countries, as well as designers of Latin American
heritage living and working in the United States who are often referred to as Hispanic, Latino/Latina, or the gender-neutral term Latinx. This exhibition took a decentering approach to fashion studies, shifting perspectives
away from a single cultural viewpoint. The region, with its shared histories of colonialism,
globalism, imperialism, industrialization processes, and local modes of modernity,
has historically been dismissed by dominant Eurocentric fashion voices as underdeveloped.
However, Latin American fashion is a powerhouse. During the 20th century, a number
of Latin American and Latinx designers gained global recognition while the region
served as an inspiration for designers from Europe and North America, functioning
as a background in fashion publications and becoming a source of talent. In this exhibition,
the work of Adolfo, Víctor Alfaro, Maria Cornejo, Oscar de la Renta, Luis Estévez,
Carlos Falchi, Carolina Herrera, and Isabel Toledo exemplified this era.
¡Moda Hoy! Latin American and Latinx Fashion Design Today was organized by The Museum at FIT’s Tanya Melendez-Escalante, senior curator of
education and public programs, and Melissa Marra-Alvarez, curator of education and
You can read more about the exhibition via the press release (PDF).
To include deeper stories about objects in the exhibition, the curators of ¡Moda Hoy! Latin American and Latinx Fashion Design Today recorded ten short audio clips. Listen to our Bloomberg Connects digital guide content to hear how the work of designers reflect the exhibition themes
of Indigenous heritage, gender, politics, sustainability, craftsmanship, elegance,
art, and popular culture.
¡Moda Hoy! Latin American and Latinx Fashion Symposium
The symposium "¡Moda Hoy! Latin American and Latinx Fashion" provided an opportunity
for museum curators Tanya Melendez-Escalante and Melissa Marra-Alvarez to engage with
the general public and the academic community in preparation for the upcoming exhibition
of the same title. The speakers explored the work of fashion designers of Latin American
heritage, shedding new light on Latin American and Latinx fashion. Topics included
politics, sustainability, art, Indigenous heritage, gender, and popular culture. Recordings
will be made available on YouTube in fall 2023.
Fashion stylists Juan de Dios Ramírez and Beto Escamilla, and actress Irene Azuela,
present the book "Blancopop, Una Mirada al Estilismo de Moda en México". This book
brings together artists, photographers, and celebrities with whom the duo has collaborated
during their 35 years in fashion. Specializing in editorial and celebrity styling,
Blancopop have worked closely with Latino/a stars, including Ms. Azuela, Kate del
Castillo, Cecilia Suárez, and model Mariana Zaragoza, among many others.
Three scholars address issues of race and ethnicity in Latin America and the United States from different perspectives.
¡Moda Hoy! Latin American and Latinx Fashion Design Today was made possible with the support of the Couture Council of The Museum at FIT and
by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor
and the New York State Legislature.