The Legacy of the Dominican Fashion Designer: Oscar de la Renta

The world of fashion started this week with terrible news. Oscar de la Renta, the man who made dresses to iconic figures as Jacqueline Kennedy, passed away.

He left for us not only beautiful dresses, and a new way to make fashion. He also left an example of intelligence. He was definitely a mentor. His dresses were not only beautiful, but they had a purpose:

"My dresses are for successful working woman."

He recognized the power women have, and he wanted them to embrace this power when wearing his dresses. I strongly believe in women power, therefore I can relate to de la Renta's work.

The other relation I make to his work, is the fact that he was not from US, or Europe (where most fashion houses are from). Oscar de la Renta was born in Dominica Republican in 1932. Even though he moved to Spain when he was only 18, he always carried traces of his origin.  His Hispanic roots worked their way into his designs: 

"From my island side comes my love for the exotic, for color and light," he told the New York Times.

I want all the Latinos who love fashion to take Oscar de la Renta as an example. I am from Brazil and I am studying fashion in New York City and I do see how hard it is to compete with Americans, Europeans and even Asians who have grown significantly in the fashion industry. I know how hard it is to have a different stereotype than most fashion icons. De la Renta did the smart thing. He used the good things about his country to help making his way to the top. Using vibrant colors, light, and luminosity.

Stop thinking that you are not capable to conquer the world. It does not matter where you are from. Fashion is universal. If your dream is to study or work in a different country where you can learn more about fashion, work for it! Your future is in your hands! 

When Oscar de la Renta left his country, a 18 years old boy who loved art, I am sure he also had insecurities. Now can you imagine if he had not tried? I hope his life, HIS JOURNEY, can be an inspiration for you to do what makes you happy.

Thank you Oscar de la Renta.


Raquel Paiva

Brazilian fashion and lifestyle blogger based in NYC