IRISHLATINA | NO NEW WASTE
Interview for Fashion Shift Magazine:
1. This LAFW season, you showcased a unique production with models in rainbow sequence and a pole dancer in the middle of the runway, while promoting ‘No New Waste’ with every step. What was the inspiration behind the collection and show? What was your experience like?
Well, I never say that I promote “Zero Waste”, because I think it’s misleading. It’s impossible to make no waste at all. But I do say that I promote “sustainability”, which is about maintaining a balance. Since I make new things from discarded things, it helps to maintain that balance.
And I love rainbows! I have since I was a little girl. It’s difficult not to feel happy while looking at a rainbow. During my design process, I started creating a few monochromatic looks, so I decided to do one look in each color to create my rainbow.
As for the fabulous pole dancer, Laura Johnson, she starred in my most recent lookbook video. I love working with dancers, and I love putting a spin on the traditional runway setting, so I asked her to dance in the middle of the runway. It worked out beautifully! And viewing a pole dancer on the runway, inside the Petersen Automotive Museum, was an awesome sight to see.
2. How did you get drawn into the fashion world? Can you tell us a bit about the origin of your label and its link to your cultural background?
I grew up singing, dancing, and acting, so I was draw to the performance aspect of fashion, as well as the costume aspect of it.
I earned my degree in Costume Design for the Theatre before moving to New York to study fashion. I love the wild fantasy of the theatre, but I was drawn to the freedom in fashion, and the ability to create a brand.
My ethnicity is 1⁄2 Irish, 1⁄2 Mexican. In college, my first email address was “adamslatina”, in reference to my boyfriend at the time. After the relationship ended, my best friend came up with “IRISHLATINA”. It quickly became my identification, my nickname, my avatar… And the brand built from there. I like to say IRISHLATINA is a mix of cultures and coasts (east and west).
3. Your collection is bold and playful, with strong statement-making sustainable designs. Who is your main audience?
IRISHLATINA is definitely for the bold, and boldness comes in all ages and sexes, shapes and sizes. Although it’s important to identify your customer, I hate to box in my brand. The idea of a man wearing my Confetti Coats, or a woman over 60 wearing my boxy overalls, makes me SO happy.
4. Being that your designs tend to be comprised of recycled and second-hand mediums for your designs, where do you like to source your materials from?
I source my materials from secondhand thrift shops and warehouses. All materials are washed, cut, and treated just like new fabric. My most recent collection was all made from secondhand t-shirts.
5. What are some of the challenges you have faced when creating sustainable fashion?
I honestly haven’t noticed the difference. Challenges are challenges. They were there before, and they’ll continue to be there. And if you believe in what you’re doing, then it’s worth it.
6. What would you advise shoppers/consumers to do to shop more consciously (yet affordably) with the idea of zero waste in mind?
I think it all starts with educating yourself. List your top 5 favorite brands and do some research. Find out where they manufacture, and how they do it. What materials do they use? How do they treat their employees? You may find that that information isn’t available, so ask them. Consumers have to demand transparency from the companies they love, and then they can make an educated decision as to where they spend their money. The consumer holds all the power, and the power is in their wallet.
7. What are some of your favourite eco-friendly brands that you support?
I’m pretty obsessed with Bode (menswear) and Carleen (womenswear). Both brands make beautiful clothing from vintage quilts.
If you’re looking for basics, checkout Everybody World which has a transparent manufacturing process in downtown LA. They’re also the creators of the Trash Tee, made from 100% recycled cotton. They’re a dope company! Highly recommend.
8. What exciting projects do you have coming up that we should look out for?
We just launched a feature called Afterpay. It enables you to purchase items from our shop by splitting up the total into 4 equal payments. You get the item right away, and then pay the remainder in installments with no interest. It’s a great feature for those who say they’d love to purchase something, but don’t have the money right now.
I realize I’m asking my customers to pay more than they would at a fast fashion retailer, but they are paying for quality, uniqueness, supporting a female owned business, and they are helping to improve the fashion industry by purchasing from a sustainable company.
Also, I’m on a mission to build a giant panda from secondhand t-shirts, so stay tuned for that one!
Photographer: Nenah Bondi
Set Design: Benjamin Gellinger
Models: Tessa Hall and Cami McCullough