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Zavala received a degree in fashion design in 2014. Photo: Julieta Zavala.
Zavala received a degree in fashion design in 2014. Photo: Julieta Zavala.

Julieta Zavala to showcase colorful designs inspired by her Mexican heritage at Cherry Street Pier Festival

Be sure to go and check out the Frida Kahlo line she just finished.

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Julieta Zavala, a local Latina fashion designer, will be showcasing her upcycled attire that highlights Latino cultivators, such as Frida Kahlo and La Virgen De Guadalupe, this Sunday at the Cherry Street Pier Festival.

She was born and raised in Mexico City and started with a love for making backpacks from recycled material. Zavala also had an aunt who would make unique costumes that inspired her to go to fashion school.

“I was always into fashion when I was a kid,” Zavala said in a recent interview with AL DÍA News. “I tried to go to the University of Mexico, but it was out of my budget. It was way too expensive and I could not afford it.”

Zavala came to the United States when she was 20 years old, and lived in Newark, Delaware, knowing no English. To learn, she took English classes at local churches.

She went on to attend the Art institute of Philadelphia, where she received a degree in Fashion Design in 2014.

While attending the Art Institute, Zavala worked at David’s Bridal, and received hands-on training from her manager and other employees. She learned how to sew in zippers, and was able to fix wedding gowns and bridesmaids’ dresses.

The more she learned about fashion design, the more inspired she was to create attire showcasing the deep roots of Latino culture. Her clothing also shows a dedication to sustainability and the planet, and how crucial it is to recycle to prevent climate change.

“I am very conscious about climate change, recycling, and I know that fashion has a lot to do with the climate,” she said.

Regarding climate change, Zavala also wants to show the community that clean fashion is beautiful. She admitted to not wanting a huge company, and instead, wants her customers to know that every inch of her handmade attire is 100% her work.

On Sunday, July 11, Zavala will be able to bring in some new customers at the Cherry Street Pier Festival.

“This is going to be my first time in Philly being a part of a market,” she said.

Zavala is hoping to educate Philly residents about authentic Mexican culture by adding different styles to her clothing. She uses a lot of popular Mexican traditions, such as Lucha Libre and her favorite, Día de los Muertos.

Día de los Muertos fashion offers many colorful and bright fabrics to highlight Mexican heritage, such as skulls, flowers, and beautiful headdresses.

While Zavala doesn't make traditional Día de los Muertos attire, she loves to add vivid colors to her creations. 

She recently finished a Frida Kahlo line, which displays many unconventional looks. She also used many fabrics and materials from Mexico.

Those pieces will be showcased at the festival along with handmade onesies, headbands made of cambaya, and other pieces inspired by Mexico.

“I just want to show people our culture and traditions. Even though we are in America, we should keep our roots because it is part of our identity,” said Zavala. “That idea gives me inspiration.”

Check out more of Zavala’s work by visiting her Instagram page.

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