She Turned San Marcos Blankets Into Jackets That Were Featured In Vogue And She Credits All Inspo To Her Mom
Long before women of color found a queen in Beyoncé, Latinas like Brenda Equihua saw reinas in their mothers. The Mexican-American designer is the founder and owner of the Los Angeles-based brand Equihua and says she found inspiration in her mother when it came time to design so many of her pieces. Many of which have been featured on the pages of Vogue and purchased by fans across the globe. But, like any jefa, Brenda’s path to success includes a thread of heartache, struggle and a coming to terms with wanting to chase her identity and desires.
Long before she launched her own brand, Brenda was –as so many creatives are– working to elevate another person’s dream.
The designer who trained at Parsons School of Design spent her days creating clothes for other designers and their work. In the evenings, while so many were letting loose at happy hours with friends, headed home to work on her own future. “I would go home after work and I would work on my own ideas because I would never want to lose myself in what I was doing,” Brenda tells FIERCE in an interview.
The routine which often causes so many artists and creatives to burn out worked out well enough for Brenda for a while.
Then her mother suddenly passed away and Brenda found an urgent sense of motivation to focus on her own work.
“I became very interested in art from an early age and my creativity was the one place that I could go to [and] kind of make sense of the world,” Brenda explains. “I had my mother’s passing and for a long time, I was thinking everything has to be in order for me to have the confidence to go out there and make this happen. That really impacted the way I saw life in general after that and I just decided I’m just gonna do it.”
She took some time to evaluate her life and what it was that she wanted to manifest in her future. “I was taking the train every day and I kept a notebook with a series of questions that I’d ask myself like who are your people what do you believe in what are your fears what motivates you just life stuff,” she explains.
One day inspiration struck Brenda with a new passion. She realized a dream she had that she would soon refuse to let go of.
“What happened was that my brother had picked up and we were on our way to Six Flags and the idea just came to me,” she explains. “It was in the most bizarre scenario and when it happened I knew it was a really precious thing and I held it like an egg.
Eventually, Brenda quit her job to become La Jefa of Equihua with memories of her mom to throttle her designs and push her to ensure her business excelled.
“My mom was a very fashionable person so I think it was a combination of art and fashion that really led me to where I am today eventually,” says Brenda. “That really impacted the way I saw life in general after that and I just decided I’m just gonna do it. I grew up seeing my mom as my Beyoncé. So you know you grow up and a lot of people have people that they idolize that are famous and for me, that was my mom. She was just very glamorous and just over the top and that had a lot do with how I developed the brand as well.”