América Ferrera’s character on Ugly Betty is only one side of the story. Meet three Latinas who found their way to the top of the fashion world.
As a judge on Project Runway, the impeccably poised Garcia embodies the high fashion world that aspiring designers only dream of. Flanked by cohosts Heidi Klum and Michael Kors, Garcia has become an authority on what’s in and what’s out. As Season 6 makes its transition from Bravo to Lifetime this summer, the Barranquilla, Colombia-born Garcia has also made a change, from fashion director at Elle for 13 years to the same position at Marie Claire.
While enrolled at NYC’s Fashion Institute of Technology, she began to wonder if design was her true calling. An internship at Perry Ellis clued her in to the power of print
journalism. “Fashion editors really have an incredible opportunity to absorb all of the fantastic creations," she thought. "The biggest obstacle was the fact that I wasn’t American,”
Garcia says. She eventually landed a job at Mirabella, followed by her gig at Elle. She is the author of two books, The Little Black Book of Style and The One Hundred: A Guide to the Pieces Every Stylish Woman Must Own. She’s currently working on a third tome called The Style Strategy: A Less is More Approach to Staying Chic and Shopping Smart, due to be released in August. You can also catch Garcia on Running in Heels, a reality show in the Style Network.
CANDY PRATTS PRICE
The executive fashion director at Vogue’s website Style.com has become fashion royalty. As with all queens, her word is taken as law—and Pratts Price knows it. “You sometimes go through your life,” she says of her career, “and think, ‘Damn. I did that.’”
It may be hard to imagine her as a young girl eating pork chops and arroz con pollo in a crowded Manhattan apartment. But her Puerto Rican family shaped Pratts Price's love of fashion. At FIT, she began crafting her own clothes—miniskirts, culottes—for the ’70s era club scene. She eventually went from fashion director at Harper’s Bazaar to VP and creative director at Ralph Lauren. In the late ’80s, she nabbed the coveted fashion director of accessories spot at Vogue, where she reigned for eight years. "I'm an editor because I don't want to design," says the winner of the Council of Fashion Designers of America's Eugenia Sheppard Award for excellence in journalism. "I want to look at your stuff and tell you howyou can make it grow. That's the magic."
The 38-year-old daughter of Bolivian immigrants has circled the globe since childhood, taking style cues that led her from director of public relations at Giorgio Armani to her current post as director of marketing and communications at the sample sale website Gilt Groupe
(gilt.com). “I love fashion for the artistry and individuality because
it is another portal to express yourself,” she says, “not to go to the
latest party and see who is there.”
Meriles poured over the pages of Paper and ID and eventually enrolled at FIT. When a friend offered her a summer bartending gig in Lake Como, Italy—a textile region that's home to Sylvester Stallone and the Versaces—Meriles jumped at the chance. “I wanted to learn the fashion languages,” she says.
When she came home she became the assistant to Wilfredo Rosado, a Puerto Rican senior executive at Armani. "He taught me how to move around this industry but still stay true to yourself and not get caught up," she says. After 12 years she moved into her current position at gilt.com.
You've met the ladies who are running things in fashion, and now you can take a look at the male designers who are setting new standards in the industry. In the video below, watch Brian Reyes, Carlos Campos, Christian Cota and José Ramón Réyes behind the scenes at their Latina photo shoot.