Culture

After Seeing Hat Prices, This Mexican Milliner Wanted To Make Them Affordable

You might not know Gladys Tamez… but you’ve definitely seen her hats. The Mexican-born, L.A.-based hat designer has fitted the heads of several big names in the entertainment industry.

Gladys Tamez is the milliner (hat maker) to the stars.


You’ve seen her hats on Jennifer Lopez…


… Alicia Keys…


… Kylie Jenner…

@kyliejenner in the "Saint Pierre" ?✨| Styled by @monicarosestyle ? @dee_larsen (? @wearetherhoads) #GladysTamezMillinery

A photo posted by gladys_tamez_millinery (@gladys_tamez_millinery) on


… Kate Del Castillo…

Thanks for the ? @katedelcastillo in the "Libra" ?✨ @olguitasegura ??✨ #Mexican #Mexicano #GTMStudioVisit #HatMaker #TheZodiacCollection

A photo posted by gladys_tamez_millinery (@gladys_tamez_millinery) on


…and, most famously, Lady Gaga.


“Gaga told me she loves pink,” Tamez told PeopleStyle. “I brought several samples, several designs and we agreed to have one, and then two and then more and more.”

Like, Lady Gaga might be obsessed with Tamez’s hats.


The L.A.-based fashion powerhouse is a proud Mexicana.


Tamez was born and raised in Reynosa, Tamaulipas, Mexico and her home country still holds a very special place in her heart.

“I grew up in and around the ‘fiesta brava’ in Mexico, and that pageantry, drama and regalia had a huge influence on me,” Tamez told Divine Living. “I’m very proud to have just started selling my hats at the boutique LOL Tulum and for all the recognition I’ve gotten in Mexico. Mexico is magic, tragic and yet full of hope and positivity. My homeland and its diverse cultures continue to inspire and inform my designs.”

Tamez has incorporated her love of mysticism in one of her most successful collections: Zodiac.

"Zodiac Collection" This Collection was inspired by the Zodiac. The 12 Zodiac symbols are derived from the suns travels through the constellations. Each hats design is derived by the characteristics represented by each Zodiac and how astrological and cosmological complexity is matched only by the inner life of sentient life on earth. The 12 designs are symbols of our primal nature and the universal desires of health, fortune and love. The Zodiac speaks to all our loves, hopes, dreams as well as our flaws, quirks and habits both good and bad. With the Zodiac all of us are drawn to and fro like tides by the power of the universe and the inescapable physics of this life on earth. #TheZodiacCollection #GladysTamezMillinery We will be displaying the 12 signs over the next 12 days. There will be 1 winner who follows all 12 days that will win their sign or a sign for a friend at the end. Stay tuned!

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“I’m a mystic; I believe in signs. For two years I’ve been thinking about how to incorporate the zodiac sign in a collection,” Tamez told Racked LA about her Zodiac collection. “Each hat features the lines of a different zodiac sign. I used the zodiac colors, too, but styles also come in black. The collection is doing very well. I’m so happy about that.”

For Tamez, a hat is more than just the latest must-have accessory, it is a physical manifestation of one’s inner being.


“A hat can say everything,” Tamez told Los Angeles Magazine. “A hat can say if you’re fun, if you’re risky, if you are mysterious.  If you have questions about someone, their hat will tell you [the answers].”

But the person wearing the hat also has the power to transform how the hat is perceived.


“I also love to see how people transform and represent a hat,” Tamez told Los Angeles Magazine. “Sometimes, when I create a hat I have a vision of how it should look on a person, but then someone will wear it and transform the hat so beautifully, in ways I wouldn’t have thought of.”

But, most importantly, Tamez wanted to make a hat line that people afford which is evident in her pricing.

Our fall color palette for #FashionIconsCollection

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“After seeing Saint Laurent’s extra-wide brim hat going for $1,400, we wanted to create an iconic collection at a price point that people could afford,” Tamez, who has hats available for less that $300, told Racked LA. “Of course, some of our hats do go up to $3,000, but you’re paying for quality.”


READ: Vogue Is Calling This 16 Year Old From Guadalajara ‘Fashion’s Latest It Girl’

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This Central California Artist Is Celebrating Latino Culture One Greeting Card At A Time

Culture

This Central California Artist Is Celebrating Latino Culture One Greeting Card At A Time

paper_tacos / Instagram

Jesus Ruvalcaba was an artist looking for more creative freedom in his life. Even after getting a job as an art director at eBay and Hewlett-Packard in Silicon Valley, the then 36-year-old felt complacent. It was a stop at a grocery store when he went to buy his mother a birthday card that a light bulb flashed in his head. 

“I looked at all these cards but couldn’t find something that resonated with my Latino culture,” Ruvalcaba said. “I felt that an entire population group was being ignored.”

That night planted the seeds of what would eventually become Paper Tacos, a greeting card business focusing on Mexican culture and traditions. From get well soon messages that read “sana sana colita de rana” ((heal, heal little frog) to birthday cards that read “sapo verde,” Ruvalcaba had tapped into a demographic that wasn’t typically represented in the greeting card business. 

“I knew I wasn’t the only one who felt like this,” he said. “This was more than just about a greeting card but seeing my culture being seen.” 

Ruvalcaba, the son of two Mexican immigrants, got most of his inspiration growing up in the Central Valley fields of California. He worked alongside his parents in the isolated artichoke fields where he learned to draw. 

Credit: Jesus Ruvalcaba / Paper Tacos

Ruvalcaba knew he wanted to be an artist at a young age and says growing up he would usually be found carrying around a sketchbook full of drawings. He didn’t grow up with much as his parents were Mexican immigrants who worked tirelessly as fieldworkers in the central California valley in cities like Castroville and later in Salinas. 

“My parents didn’t really know a lick of English so my drawings did a lot of the talking for me,” he says. “We didn’t have much growing up but they would buy me art supplies and always encouraged me to keep drawing.”

Those drawings would pave the way for a career in animation as Ruvalcaba became the first in his family to graduate college obtained a degree in graphic design at California State University Monterey Bay and eventually his Master’s degree. Shortly after, he would find himself in Silicon Valley working for companies like eBay and Hewlett-Packard as an art director. 

Ruvalcaba knew he could still do more with his talents. After attending a Dia de los Muertos art event in 2016, he met another artist selling Spanish prints with Mexican slogans. He was then reminded of that night at the market when he couldn’t find a Spanish greeting card for his mom. 

“It hit me right there and then that if I could come up with greeting cards that have Mexican sayings like “sana sana colita de rana,” I could tap into a market that was never really acknowledged prior.” Ruvalcaba said. 

After receiving encouragement from his girlfriend, Ruvalcaba put his illustration skills and graphic design experience to work as he produced his first set of 15 cards for 300 dollars. In Fall 2017, Paper Tacos became a reality. 

Credit: Jesus Ruvalcaba / Paper Tacos

About a year after the idea of Paper Tacos first came up, Ruvalcaba attended the same art festival from the year prior and sold his first greeting card for $5 apiece. The response to the cards was immediate and customers told Ruvalcaba about what it meant to see their culture on a product like this.

“It felt like my idea was validated in a way and seeing everyone respond so positively to Paper Tacos was just the cherry on top,” said Ruvalcaba. “From there it only got even bigger.”

In the following months of 2017, Paper Tacos made its launch and by the end of 2017, he had made $2,000 within just three months of launching his site. In 2018, he had made over $12,000 in sales and today has over 20K followers on Instagram alone. When he started the business, there were only 15 card designs which have now grown to over 100. He’s also branded outside of California and is currently selling his greeting cards at 25 stores throughout the country.

For Ruvalcaba, Paper Tacos hasn’t been just any business move or a little extra income revenue. It’s a tribute to his Mexican background and a reflection of his culture that he feels is being celebrated every time one of his cards is given. 

Credit: Jesus Ruvalcaba / Paper Tacos

When asked about where his inspiration for his greeting cards come from, Ruvalcaba says his parents. Those long days working along with them in the artichoke fields and holidays where all they had was each other. 

“Every card is a reflection of me growing up in a Mexican household and other people have connected with that,” said Ruvalcaba. “When I brainstorm ideas I just look back to my childhood.”

That connection is something special he says. While Ruvalcaba still has a full-time job as a designer in Santa Clara, if things keep going the way they are, Paper Tacos will become his main focus. 

Through Instagram, Ruvalcaba has begun working with more freelancers to keep growing Paper Tacos and get more artists opportunities. His business plan is to expand to other Latino backgrounds to work and reach out to Salvadoran and Nicaraguan artists so that they too can see representation.  

“This business has shown me how powerful this product can be and every time someone tells me the impact that these cards have had on a family member or a friend, it sticks with me,” Ruvalcaba says. “It’s a special thing to know a simple greeting card can do this.”

READ: Patty Delgado Is Changing The World Of Latino Fashion With Her Own Store Hija De Tu Madre

Kat Von D Just Announced That She’s Totally Cut Ties With Her Makeup Line Effective Immediately

Fierce

Kat Von D Just Announced That She’s Totally Cut Ties With Her Makeup Line Effective Immediately

katvond / Instagram

Kat Von D has become a titan in the beauty industry due to her eponymous makeup line’s ultra long-wear highly pigmented products that also happen to be vegan and cruelty free. 

And although fans have long looked to the Queen of Ink because of her unconventional aesthetic and beauty expertise, the Von D recently announced she has decided to permanently step back from her successful business to focus on other projects as well as her new family.

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This past year has been one of great change for me. As many of you know, I gave birth to my beautiful baby boy, launched my vegan shoe line, and am now busy prepping to release my long awaited album in the Spring, followed by an international tour! As much as I wish I could balance all of this, on top of continuing my makeup line, it has become clear to me that I just can’t do everything at the maximum capacity. It's hard to admit this, since I’ve always said “You can do everything and anything.” But I don’t think admitting one's limits is a bad thing. With that said, I’ve decided to sell my shares of the brand, turning it over to Kendo, my partners for the past 11 years. This was not an easy decision, but after careful consideration, I decided I wanted the makeup line to continue to thrive and grow, and I believe Kendo is primed to do just that. The transition for you, my loyal customers, will be seamless. In order to avoid any confusion with such a big change, Kat Von D Beauty will take a moment to rebrand itself, so you will start noticing the change from KatVonD Beauty to KvD Vegan Beauty. I'd like to thank my beloved fans+followers who supported my vision to create a brand that stood for compassion, true artistry, and challenged modern ideals of beauty — most of which I never could relate to. I was able to create a makeup line that made outsiders like me feel like we have a place in this “beauty” world, and gave myself and others the tools to express ourselves in our own unique way, whether it was embraced by the majority or not. And I just couldn’t have done any of this without you! Lastly, thank you for understanding+respecting my choice, as it was a difficult one to make, but one I am proud of regardless, and am confident that the team will continue the KvD legacy! Here’s to many, many more years of KvD Vegan Beauty!

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On Thursday via Instagram, Kat Von D announced the unexpected news that she was selling her shares in Kat Von D Beauty in order to focus on other projects.

@thekatvonD/Instagram

In the lengthy statement, Von D explained that 2019 had been a year of “great change” due to the birth of her baby boy as well as her expansion into music. She went on to explain that, while she tried to balance all of her projects to the best of her ability, she wasn’t able to fully contribute to each of her projects at “maximum capacity.” Therefore, she would be officially stepping down from Kat Von D Beauty.

“I’ve decided to sell my shares of the brand, turning it over to Kendo, my partners for the past 11 years,” she said. “This was not an easy decision, but after careful consideration, I decided I wanted the makeup line to continue to thrive and grow, and I believe Kendo is primed to do just that.”

Von D went on to reveal that the beauty line would be re-branded as KvD Vegan Beauty in order to “avoid any confusion” for the brand’s customers.

@kvdveganbeauty/Instagram

Although the Sephora-based Kat Von D Beauty came out of the gate strong–even being named Sephora’s fastest-growing brand in 2018–the brand subsequently suffered from a highly-publicized dip in sales after Von D herself was embroiled in multiple controversies. Among the controversies was Von D declaring that she would not be vaccinating her child. Additionally, Von D had long been plagued by accusations of antisemitism throughout her career. 

The line will in all likelihood be in good hands with the LVMH beauty incubator Kendo, which also produces other popular brands like Fenty Beauty and Marc Jacobs. The former Kat Von D Beauty website has already been updated with the name change along with a statement from the CEO of Kendo. “I want to thank Kat for helping to change the beauty industry with us,” the statement reads. “We are fully positioned to continue the brand’s growth and development in both product and marketing…The same KENDO team that made history with KVD Vegan Beauty is ready to do it again.”

Since its inception, Von D has been extremely hands-on with her makeup line, involved in every aspect of the business from product inception to packaging.

@thekatvonD/Instagram 

“I name every shade, design every piece of packaging, help choose the colors and textures, the finishes and formulations,” she told HELLO! magazine in 2016. “There isn’t a font used on my packaging – I personally design and draw every letter on it. I even curate the content for our Instagram. I poured myself 100 per cent into this and I know that my customers appreciate that.”

And the tattoo artist and television personality obviously hit a chord with customers who felt connected to her through her products. In addition, Kat Von D’s products were truly high-quality at an affordable price-point. You could say that Von D was a trailblazer in the media personality-turned-businesswoman model that so many celebrities have since tried to replicate.

As for fans of Kat Von D, they took the news with a mixture of admiration, disappointment, and acceptance. 

Kat Von D has such a devoted fan base that many of them would follow her to the ends of the earth.

This person expressed undying devotion to Von D, no matter what she decides to do next:

Some Kat Von D supporters are ride-or-die.

This person thanked Kat for all she’s done for the beauty community.

Part of Kat Von D’s appeal is that she’s always marched to the beat of her own drum. For her, makeup was a means of artistic expression, not a means of blending in with everyone else.

This person shared a touching story about how Von D’s past generosity changed her life.

This kind of personal touch is hard to replicate once a brand becomes super corporate. 

This person was 100% supportive of Von D’s decision to step back.

It’s especially hard to juggle so many products as a new mom.

This person was just excited to hear Kat’s new album.

Not many people go from being a makeup mogul to being a rock-star. Talk about a pivot.