For some people a pair of sunglasses are just a simple accessory one wears to complete an outfit. Yet Priscilla Manzo sees them as something much more influential and, in this case, an accessory that is making a difference. Manzo is the public relations manager at Topfoxx, a New York City-based sunglasses start-up, and a proud first-generation American whose father is Mexican-born. It’s a label she never forgets and has found a way to honor and represent her cultural background with a line of sunglasses. Say hello to the Selena Collection from Topfoxx, a new line of sunglasses. Fifteen percent of the proceeds from each purchase goes directly toward helping children in immigration shelters.
Priscilla Manzo moved across the country to New York City to follow her fashion dreams.
Manzo was born and raised in Fontana, California but moved over 2,000 miles to New York City when she started college. She juggled multiple internships, studied abroad and worked with impoverished Latin communities while in school. This all landed her a job as a public relations manager at Topfoxx, where she is able to work on various styles and types of sunglasses as well as create online graphics and content.
When Helen Getts, Creative Director at Topfoxx, was working on a pair of designs she tried them out on Manzo and instantly knew she had to dedicate the sunglasses to her.
“She thought they looked great on me but more than anything she was inspired by my background and upbringing,” Manzo said. “Not your average girl was our company slogan and we wanted these sunglasses to represent that.”
Manzo created the sunglasses as a way to pay tribute to her Latina background and help children in immigration detention centers.
CREDIT: CREDIT: Topfoxx
Growing up Manzo saw poverty in different communities especially Latino ones near her hometown. While attending college she would offer her time up to volunteer and help at soup kitchens.
“I was so fortunate growing up and always wanted to give back,” Manzo said. “Having a background in community service, I wanted to incorporate charity into this project.”
That’s why Manzo teamed up with Project Paz, a NYC non-profit that works to help Latino children in the U.S. and Mexico. Fifteen percent of all proceeds from each purchase goes towards helping children that were separated from their parents at the border. She says her Mexican-born father and Latina background was a big reason she chose the charity.
“When my dad came into the U.S. when he was younger he had to cross the border. It made me reflect and what if that were me. What if he got caught? I wouldn’t be here today and my life would be completely different,” Manzo said. “I know we are a small brand but we wanted to give back in any way we could.”
She named the sunglasses after Selena Quintanilla because of what her name and image represents for Latina empowerment.
CREDIT: CREDIT: Topfoxx
When Manzo and Getts brainstormed a name for the collection they were looking for something that would instantly be recognizable with woman empowerment and Latina culture. Manzo recalls how much of an impact Selena Quintanilla, the Queen of Tejano music, had on her growing up and how she is a role-model to so many young girls. That’s why naming the sunglasses collection after her was a no-brainer.
“When we looked for a name I wanted it to be a powerful women and I thought why not Selena,” Manzo said. “I listened to her music and her movie all the time growing up. She’s not even with us but she’s still such a force in the Latino community.”
The sunglasses have been a huge success and are hopefully just a start of more similar projects.
While the collection is limited edition, the cause is just the beginning. Manzo and Topfoxx are planning to create more projects similar to the Selena Collection that will show woman empowerment and give back to the community. Topfoxx is one of the very few only woman-owned brands and Manzo expects them team up with women charities in the near future.
For Manzo, the collection is a dream come true but it wouldn’t be possible without her sharing her story and putting the time in. She says any Latina that is willing to share her story is helping create conversation and that is more important than any accessory.
“It may be scary to share your story but its important to create these conversations now more than ever,” Manzo said. “I hope this collection touches a community and inspires the next girl to be bold and more importantly be themselves.”
You can purchase the Selena sunglasses on the Topfoxx website. They are a limited-time product and come in four colors — black, blue, silver, and rose gold.