Making of the Collection Part 1: Inspiration and El Salvador
First! Let's talk about my family.
There are tons of us!
And these are Mi Primos, well most of them. These are my Bustamante primos, the primos from my Dad's side.
So, what makes my family so special?
Apart from the fact that we all make exceptional models?
Jacob, Esther, Nick, Angela, Matt, Kristin, Peter and myself. Cahoe Shoot, Resort 2017. Zephyr Cove, Lake Tahoe Nevada.
Angela and Matthew, the two cousins who modeled in Cahoe 2017, and again in my recent apparel shoot, Mi Primos 2018.
This collection doesn't gain significance for any of our modeling capabilities.
No, what makes us special is some less than lovely news.
We have lost one of us. Much too soon.
Ryan Curran was a wonderful cousin.
He was just as crazy as the rest of us although he hid it better in his later years. Ryan passed this July from a brain aneurysm. He left us in his sleep.
Nana and Ryan
His passing rocked my family. We lost one of 18. We will never be the same. What to do? We all grieve in different ways. I couldn't attend his funeral because I was in El Salvador.
The beach house we all escaped to the weekend after I found out.
So! figured, I'll write his name in the sand and dedicate my upcoming Fall Collection to our beautiful memories.
Since camping continues to be my fondest childhood memory. I decided to use that feeling, and bring it to my collection.
Ryan was a huge part of our camping trips. We would play flash light tag, ride on and fight over inflatable water crafts, and circle the campsites on our razor scooters for hours. The garments must capture pure childhood joy and help the wearer feel youthful, free, and loved.
Inspiration comes from my Cousins
The Bustamante side of the family gathered every single summer of our childhoods to all go camping together.
We have a grand collection of adventures. Even the cousins that lived in Wisconsin and Georgia made the journey to California each summer.
These times were the best! Talent shows, redwoods and ghost towns.
The Making of this Collection
The making of this collection was unique because I felt a strong desire to retrace my roots this Summmer.
I went back to my Papa's childhood hometown, San Salvador, El Salvador to see what their world was like and to finally force myself to intiendo Espanol.
A beautiful blue haired unicorn greeting a stylish man in purple.
The Salvadoreno Pride parade and festival perfectly landed on the weekend I arrived.
San Francisco's Pride Parade 2018
San Francisco is known for being very proudly gay. One million participants march in June every year.
San Salvador Pride
I wanted to make a top completely out of Kush Kush Balls, but they are WILDLY EXPENSIVE!
Almost 7 dollars just for one!!! No, this is not a bundle. It is seriously $7.00 just for the one kush ball.
So I had more of a necklace of Kush Balls VS an entire bralette/top.
BUT I STILL CAME EQUIPPED!
I brought colorful tassels and rainbow puff balls for my fellow volunteers to wear with me.
I choose not to represent this organization because they wrongfully terminated my boss, but these are my beautiful/genius/activist friends I met through them.
And here are their RAINBOW poof balls!
We hand sewed them to their hats before heading to the parade.
12 Thousand people marched in El Salvador's 2018 Pride Parade. This is their 22nd celebration of Pride and it is almost San Francisco's 50th.
The 100 ft flag that lead the parade in San Salvador.
Let's just throw a photo of Thailand in there too. The moral of the story is PRIDE IS EVERYWHERE.
Back to El Salvador
The street I lived on, Santa Teresa. My host brother, Nicko is going to school to become an Engineer. His father was a lawyer but he died after representing a client who testified against a member of a powerful gang. My host brother lives with his two sisters who both work in English call centers. They all have fabulous english and are what I would consider to be middle class. Tambien de yo, they have parents who own property and are comfortable, but they themselves, don't have a lot of money yet. They live in San Salvador, which is like the Oakland of El Salvador. An expensive place to live with certain districts you do not enter. My host brother showed me a map of the streets I should not to. These areas are controlled by the gangs.
Watch an information rich documentary Vice News produced about the rivalry of the M-13 and The 18th St Gang, or Dieciocho.
The Salvadoreno government has failed to sustain an economy where poor people have a chance to earn a decent, livable wage.
There was a truce reached a few years back, but once the government pulled backing, the truce fell apart.
Meanwhile, the U.S. government is rounding up and sending all the M13 and Dieciocho members that they find, to El Salvador and Nicaragua, even if they didn't originally come from here.
The U.S. president found his way into the conversation.
"President Trump had said Wednesday that “these aren’t people, these are animals” during a White House meeting on immigration. On Thursday, he said the remark was specifically aimed at members of the gang MS-13."CreditCreditDoug Mills/The New York Times
Dehumanizing people has been a war tactic for ages. It won't help us to turn them into these creatures we cannot relate to.
What we need is to boost up El Salvador so nobody is desparate enough to join a gang.
El Salvador's president should work on correcting the disparity of wealth in this small country. Build up their infrastructure, give them better jobs, offer free college, free english classes and higher pay.
When 1/3 of your country lives below the poverty line, gangs are the reaction, not the root of the problem.
This home is walking distance from where I taught english. I worked at CIS. Center for Intercambio y Solidaridad. I worked there for two weeks in exhange for Clase de Espanol y Clase de Politico. After this company inappropriately fired my boss, a bunch of the teachers and students walked out. I continued teaching classes for free in the local Mister Doughnut.
Beautiful people I met.
Everyone was very impressive, they ranged from: masters students, psychologists, activists, Spanish learners, Professors de Espanol, mechanics, doctors, translators, managers and then me, an English Teacher/Spanish/Political History Student/ designer.
We went to a new beach almost every weekend. I was there a full month so got to soak up this beautiful country, learn it's history, sew a bit and swim in these warm waters.
Playa El Tunco
The last beach we visited before I left for Peru.
My Sewing/Alteration Apprentice
This is the breath-taking Kelsey Dolores O'brien
She's a Spanish and Psychology major with an emphasis in International Relations at Toledo in OHIO. She has incredible Spanish and for a trade, she helped me understand the language a bit better, and I taught her some simple concepts and ways for her to alter her cherished clothes.
Here we see Kelsey on the industrial machine. She is sewing a pair of shorts into a super cute, jean skirt!
Kelsey has an eve for perfection and went back a few times to be sure that her stitched were straight and effective!
How is all of this possible?
The beautiful Nora, generously offered her home to us for two weeks of sewing. Nora was Dolores' English student a few summers back and I was recommended to meet her well before I met Dolores. Destiny! So I worked on my two collections, and Dolores, for the first time, up-cycled her clothes. Nora let us sew on her heavy-duty machines for free and she told us stories and fed us soup.
La increíble Nora!
Poised and posed next to her favorite flower. Not only does Nora sew in her spare time, but she also gardens up a storm!
Nora loves learning English so that she can communicate with people she meets from all over the world. She is inspiring and spends her days listening and translating Martin Luther King speeches. A Fine choice, Nora!
Gracias por todo, Nora!
Sewing days were very splendid at Nora's, as you can see from my goblin gratitude.
Here I am working on The Resort 19 collection in Ricardo's car. We are off to la playa!!!
So! Now it was time to meet my family in Peru!
I learned the phrase, "Soy una designadora de moda y tango una sessions de fotos a Machu Picchu."
Tune in Next week where I treat you with tales of Peru!
How did i finish the Collection?
Did all the cousins back out of modeling due to altitude sickness?
Did everyone fit their clothes?
Do we get past the guards at Machu Picchu?!
Do I ever make it to the rain forest?
Watch here to see what this summer was like in El Salvador! ¡Mira aquí para ver cómo fue este verano en El Salvador!
You've found my blog! I hope it leaves you informed as well as entertained /inspired. I love writing about the inspiration and progress with my collections, funky fresh fashion I come across daily, and the epic things that are goin' down in the world of FASHION.