Lauren Wong | The Poly Post

Brown women influence modern fashion

By Erica Roa, Apr. 23, 2024

For decades, fashion trends frequently resurface as “new” trends, mirroring past trends pioneered by women of color but brands like Bella Dona LA is giving Chicana fashion their flowers.

As a self-identifying Chicana, it is easy for me to see these tendencies flow in and out of pop culture. In a family whose culture revolves around dark lip liner, golden jewelry, attention to detail to baby hairs and Nike Cortez’s, we have paved the way for the newfound trends such as the “clean girl aesthetic.”

The “clean girl aesthetic” is a phenomenon that has been circulating TikTok. It is describing an aesthetic with the following traits: slick bun and golden hoops/jewelry. The catch is this trend is typically orchestrated by white women, as explained by Samantha Olsen of Seventeen Magazine.

Recently Hailey Bieber posted a tutorial on how to recreate her “new” lip combo and received a multitude of backlash. She claimed that she created this combo calling it, “Brownie Glazed Lips” although this combination of dark lip liner and gloss has been a staple in Black and Brown women’s makeup for decades.

While Black and Brown women have carried the threshold in passing down these trends from generation to generation, it has not always been glorified.

Chicana women and Brown women continue to face stereotypes, and the way they choose to express themselves has been seen as “ghetto and unprofessional. It was not very common to see brands and public figures who weren’t Black or Brown representing these trends.

White women continue to take the popular aspects of Black and Brown culture and rebrand it as their own, and typically the people “eat it up.” Thankfully, others are holding them accountable and calling out these wrongdoings.

Gold hoops, long nails and slick back bun have always been relevant trends, but now Chicanas have the representation that we need with brands like Bella Dona LA and Viva La Bonita.

Bella Dona LA is a Chicana owned brand founded by Lala Romero and Natalia Durazo where the core, or their brand, highlights winged eyeliner, gold jewelry, Nike Cortez’s and Chicana aesthetic. They represent the women who founded these trends and everything that comes with it: lowriders, oldies and “just being with your homegirls” to create a total sense of sisterhood. They have partnered with Nordstrom to have their clothing in stores and online. With Bella Dona LA becoming a mainstream clothing brand this recognition will influence fashion trends for women all over.

Viva La Bonita is also a Latina based brand in which highlights the same aspects as Bella Dona LA, letting Chicanas set the example and continue to pave the way in modern culture. Viva La Bonita was founded by Rachel Gomez and empowering Latinas was at the forefront of her mission. Viva La Bonita is also becoming widespread, partnering with Footlocker to have its pieces in stores.

I am a big fan of Bella Dona and when wearing their clothes, I feel proud of my Chicana heritage and the way I was raised. I see the “Chicana” style circulating modern fashion and pop culture now and am glad that these brands play a part in making it “cool” again.

Having representation and combating “culture vultures” in their acts of cultural appropriation allows Latinas and Black women to take back what’s ours and continue to spread our influence across a greater community.

Feature image courtesy of Lauren Wong

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