Culture

This Fashion Designer Is Turning San Marcos Blankets Into Stunning Streetwear

There’s nothing like a family blanket, especially one with a story. Perhaps one your grandma quilted or an old wool blanket your father had when he was in the military. An heirloom blanket provides more than just physical warmth. It reminds us of the fabric of love and care we were born into. It reminds us of home. That’s why fashion designer Brenda Equihua is using the iconic San Marcos blankets to make stellar fashion pieces.

For Latinx people, the value of a San Marcos blanket goes even deeper than just warmth. 

CREDIT: Courtesy of Brenda Equihua

The significance of these thick, velvety cobijas is both familial and cultural. Even though they’ve only been around since the ’70s, they strike deep at the heart of who we are as Mexican Americans.

The blanket itself is more of a kitschy cultural keepsake. According to The Los Angeles Times, the San Marcos blanket was devised by Jesus Rivera Franco of Aguascalientes, Mexico. “His dream was to come up with [a blanket] that would last, that every Mexican would love,” Francisco Rivera told LA Times in 2012.

To say that Latinx people love San Marcos blankets is a huge understatement.

CREDIT: Courtesy of Brenda Equihua

For decades people have bought these blankets in Mexico, on the Tijuana border, and at swap meets across the country for one simple reason: they bring a special kind of comfort only an insider can understand. They’re camp in a way that, if you don’t know about it, you aren’t a member of our tribe.

While the glorified imagery on the blankets — lions, tigers, and, yes, Aztec Gods — brought some teens mortified shame, as time passed, and we matured, the San Marcos cobijas became poignant moments of reflection. These treasured blankets showed us that while we weren’t rich, our parents kept us safe, warm, and nestled in them.

Fashion designer Brenda Equihua wants to embody that very personal feeling that we feel from these cobijas and apply it to her designs.

CREDIT: Courtesy of Brenda Equihua

She has taken the San Marcos nostalgila and created a fashionable shield that epitomizes that Latino pride we hold dear to our hearts. She brilliantly created a fashion line so the new generation of Latinx could fashionably share their heritage every day of the year.

“I reflected on what defined my experiences,” Equihua tells mitu. “That exercise led me to question what a ‘classic’ meant to me. I thought about what imagery and iconic things I want to preserve and manifest into our future.”

Equihua — a SoCal native — thought to transform the beloved San Marcos blanket into badge of honor roughly six months ago.

CREDIT: Courtesy of Brenda Equihua

Now, our tangible childhood memory can be seen as everyday street wear — from hoodies to long coats, and even dresses. The San Marcos aesthetic is back and more vibrant than ever.  

“The cobija idea as a classic happened simultaneously with the idea of a classic as a silhouette,” Brenda says. “The hoodie was a starting place for silhouette because it’s a very democratic piece. It exists in every social class. The aim was to create something that everyone from every background and every social class could identify with.”

Brenda’s fashion company — fittingly named Equihua — launched two years ago, but she tells mitu that her San Marcos-inspired line feels like a “rebirth.”

CREDIT: Courtesy of Brenda Equihua

“The pieces are meant to be expressive, artistic, familiar, loving, and comfortable,” Brenda says. “It was something that had not been done before and a challenge I took very serious.”

But ultimately, with a concept so close to Latinx culture, would non-Latinos be into this fashion style?

CREDIT: Courtesy of Brenda Equihua

“I have a diverse group of people I hang with, so the non-Latinos think the concept and design is fire,” Brenda tells mitu. “For all my Latino fam and friends, it’s a bit more personal and holds more meaning. To them it feels like home, it’s calming and a bit like a mother’s love. In a Latino home the Cobija can be a bit of a neutral because it becomes a constant and familiar part of the interior. What I did was take it out of that environment and give it a new context. It’s definitely a conversational piece. There is some real excitement that also happens outside of that inner circle. I’ve had strangers come up to me from across a restaurant and ask, ‘is that what I think it is?’ as their eyes light up.”


READ: Juan Gabriel Is The Inspiration For This Honduran’s Latest Fashion Collection And It’s Magical

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Just In Time For Gifting Season: JLo and ARod Dropped An Affordable Sunglass Collab Collection With Quay Australia

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Just In Time For Gifting Season: JLo and ARod Dropped An Affordable Sunglass Collab Collection With Quay Australia

Just as there is a separation between the church and state, so too, we’ve been told to set strict boundaries in business. “Never mix pleasure with business,” goes the saying, as old as time. And we all know that keeping friendly, or even worse, romantic, relationships with people with whom you do business is not always a good idea —Unless you’re the ultimate power couple, then by all means, mix it up, finesse us all and show us how it’s done. J.Lo and ARod are just that couple. And their venture into business together is off to a pretty good looking start.

Jenny from the block mixed business with pleasure on her latest collab with her sportsman partner Alex Rodriguez, except for her, the partnership was more like a good idea than a bad one.

instagram @quayaustralia

JLo and ARod teamed up with Australian eyewear brand Quay Australia to create a range of glamorous statement shades that won’t set you back more than $60.

The couple shot the campaign for their collection in Miami—a place they both call home.

instagram @quayaustralia

The singer and actress posed with the former baseball shortstop in a series of sultry, tropical-infused images to promote the couple’s sunglass collection. The dynamic duo shot the campaign in Miami. “It was really special to be able to shoot in Miami with Jennifer, she was the one who introduced me to Quay Australia,” said ARod in an interview with Elle. Lopez, on her part, told People how shooting in Miami felt natural, since it’s the place she calls home. “I’ve had a love affair with Miami for many years, and now it’s our city—it’s our second home,” she added.

ARod and JLo are the only couple who can color coordinate their outfits and still look stylish af.

instagram @robzangardi

The series of photographs feature the powerhouse couple coordinating looks in bright, bold colors giving them that #couplegoals look that many of us have tried and failed at achieving. “It’s always easy when we get to do things together,” Lopez told People about shooting the campaign. “We always wind up laughing out loud.” —couple goals I tell ya.

The shades are divided into two collections, but all the styles are unisex.

Instagram @robzangardi

The dual collection is already shoppable on Quay Australia’s website. None of the shades cost more than $60, and while Alex and Jennifer have ‘his’ and ‘hers’ product pages, both ranges work pretty well on both men and women.

JLo gave her shades, witty names in Spanish while ARod chose more classic styles and names.

Instagram @quayaustralia

Jennifer’s selection is tad bit flashier —to be expected from the queen of the Bronx— they feature fancier, bolder hardware. Another detail we loved, is that J.Lo gave her shades, names in Spanish, like “La Reina,” “La Playa,” and “El Dinero.” Alex’s options though, are more understated and classic, the shapes come with a thin wire rim and they feature names such as “Poster Boy” and “Apollo.”

“I’ve followed the brand for quite some time and love how they are disrupting the eyewear category. I’ve never had a pair of sunglasses that fit so well and the fact that you can get high quality, polarized sunglasses for $50 is pretty great,” Alex said —and we couldn’t agree more on that price point remark.

The ‘Hustlers’ star first collaborated with Quay in March.

Instagram @jlo

When her first collab dropped —on the same month that she announced her engagement to Alex Rodriguez after two years of dating— J.Lo took to instagram to share the news and her love for sunglasses; “Sunglasses are my accessory of self-expression. I can wear them from the gym to the red carpet, and this line perfectly captures the sporty, but also sexy and glam vibe that I love!”

The brand has always been great at teaming up with celebrities to create glasses people want.

Instagram @quayaustralia

Quay Australia’s most recent A-list partnership was with Chrissy Teigen, who told Harper’s Bazaar that she really wanted to ensure her looks worked for all kinds of different face shapes and preferences. “I tend to lean towards oversized sunglasses because I don’t love putting on a full face of makeup every day.” This idea seemed to be kept in mind for J.Lo’s second Quay launch as well. Though there are lots of different small options available, we have to say, the big ones are still our faves.

Comprised of 18 styles, the line offers a wide selection of chic glasses – featuring bold shields, flirty cat-eye shades and classic aviators. Shop the collection at quayaustralia.com.

CNCO Just Partnered With Forever 21 On A Capsule Collection And It’s Just As Urbano-Cool As You Could Imagine

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CNCO Just Partnered With Forever 21 On A Capsule Collection And It’s Just As Urbano-Cool As You Could Imagine

The 2010s resuscitated boy bands, and we’ve been living for it. But there’s one boy band in particular that we stan, the Latinx pop group CNCO. These Latinos have quickly caught up with other heavy hitters like BTS or The Jonas Brothers, and they’ve done it both in English and Spanish. The “Reggaeton Lento” singers have established themselves as somewhat of an iconic group for young Millenials and Gen Z-ers and to further confirm their ‘pop star’ status, they’re dropping their very first fashion collab.

The group was formed during a musical competition—very much like One Direction or Fifth Harmony.

Instagram @cncomusic

Since their formation in 2015, thanks to Univision’s reality show “La Banda,” the Latin Grammy-nominated phenomenon CNCO has dazzled the music industry as one of Latin pop’s most influential and prolific hit-makers. CNCO is composed of five Latinos with different backgrounds, who are not only stylish but also eye candy —even if I’m old enough to be their cool aunt: Christopher from Ecuador, Erick Brian from Cuba, Joel from Mexico, Richard from Dominican Republic, and Zabdiel from Puerto Rico.

Since their debut in 2016 the trailblazing group has won several awards and topped charts left and right.

instagram @cncomusic

Their debut album, Primera Cita, hit No. 1 on the Top Latin Albums chart in 2016. In April, their eponymous sophomore album debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Latin Albums, Latin Pop Albums and Latin Rhythm Albums charts, becoming the top-selling Latin debut on the charts of 2017. Fast forward to 2019 and it’s become almost impossible to hear “Qué quiénes somos?” and not reply “CNCO!” at the top of our lungs.

The chart-topping, platinum-recording group have been tapped by Forever 21 for a capsule collection. 

Are you even a pop superstar if you don’t collaborate with a fashion brand? Designers and fashion brands at the low, high and midpoints of the market often team up with pop stars to reach loyal fans and —why deny it— hopefully boost sales (and we all know F21 could use some of that).

CNCO x Forever 21 capsule collection is available to shop now!

Instagram @forever21

The collaboration dropped just this week online and at Forever 21 stores in the U.S. and Latin America. The 21-piece collection includes ready-to-wear pieces such as graphic T-shirts, sweatshirts, denim jackets and accessories for men and women, ranging in price from $4.99 to $39.99. 

The pieces feature CNCO members Christopher Vélez, Richard Camacho, Zabdiel De Jesús, Joel Pimentel and Erick Brian Colón, a newspaper print, world tour merchandise-inspired artwork and the group logo.

The collection is a different take on Forever 21’s typical ‘merch’ style collections.

Instagram @forever21

“This exclusive collection is a fashion forward take on ‘traditional tour merch’ style pieces,” said Forever 21 executive vice president Linda Chang. “Each garment was designed one-on-one with the band members and features dynamic details and graphics. With a variety of styles ranging from trendy fleece hookups to a newspaper printed bodysuit, there’s something for everyone.”

“This partnership means a lot to us, because we’ve been following and wearing Forever 21 for a long time,” CNCO said. “To be able to collab with them on our own line and them be open to our ideas and culture is super cool. We’re very honored and thankful, and we really hope people like it!” 

The group shared the news on their Instagram page.

Instagram @forever21

With a combined 16 million followers on Instagram alone, CNCO, have been described as “the Latino One Direction” by Rolling Stone. The boys took to Instagram to announce the collab; “We’re so excited to announce our collaboration with @forever21 available now!!!” the Latin group wrote. “We are super grateful to be able to have this collaboration and our own line! We hope you guys like it!”

Forever 21 is launching this collection after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in late September. 

twitter @cnn

The Los Angeles-based fast-fashion retailer said it will close most of its locations in Asia and Europe but will continue to operate its stores in the U.S., Mexico and South America.Through this partnership with CNCO, the retailer will be better able to connect to the Latin American community and its music, which according to Billboard, had its highest growth year in 2018. 

CNCO is currently making the rounds with their EP Que Quienes Somos, which was released Oct. 11 and debuted at No. 1 on the Latin Pop Albums chart dated Oct. 26. Shop the collab collection now on www.forever21.com