“The Hype” contestant Camila Romero advocates for sustainability of fashion and visibility of DACA
The growing dominance and reach of streetwear has cemented its place in fashion since Virgil Abloh, renowned for his streetwear brands Pyrex and OFF-white, was appointed Creative Director of Louis Vuitton in 2018.. Having transcended the status of niche relative to mass and luxury marketing, the the style – with roots in hip-hop, graffiti, skateboarding and surf culture – has become an undeniable statement for consumers who have increasingly turned to more comfortable clothing with access to a wider range of independent designers on social networks.
Various streetwear staples have burst onto the scene since the most popular brands such as Supreme, StÃ¼ssy and BAPE built up a large consumer base and paved the way for streetwear from the start. Currently, the entries of brands belonging to Latin, such as Wake up NY, Children of immigrants, Born X Raised, and 424 on Fairfax, to name a few, have further expanded the diverse global streetwear culture through their collections.
The HBO Max Competition Series The hype features promising streetwear designers from various states across the United States to participate in unique challenges. The show is modeled on long-running series of competitions like Project track and Make the Cut, but with a streetwear touch. It emphasizes creative direction, brand awareness and marketing rather than technical and tailoring abilities, although that always comes into play. He’s judged by Union Los Angeles owner Bephie Birkett, celebrity wardrobe stylist Marni Cinafonte, and Grammy-nominated rap group. Migos Offset member. Participants compete for a chance to win a grand prize of $ 150,000, featured drops on the online resale streetwear store Stock-X and receive the ultimate âcosignâ from the streetwear fashion industry.
Los Angeles contestant Camila Romero is a Colombian-American designer who fuses an unconventional aesthetic with her street style meets the sensibility of the hot man. She often comments on portraying the Latin community and has openly shared her immigrant status as a DACA recipient advocating for Dreamers, as well as ecological sustainability in fashion. Having only launched its “ethical label belonging to immigrant women” Deadblud in 2020 with her partner Marina Mendes, the novice often impresses the judges. They rate her designs as “very Camila”, reinforcing the strong signature that the Colombian-born designer Passionately permeates her pieces, which notably received accolades from fashionista rapper and guest judge Cardi B in one of the design challenges.
Remezcla caught up with Romero to get an overview of his brand’s approach to streetwear, his experience in competing on The hype, and what’s next for the forward-thinking designer.
Tell us about yourself and your streetwear brand.
I came to the United States when I was 6 years old. I grew up in Palmdale, California, and moved to Los Angeles for college. I have been in LA for about 7 years now. Marina is my business partner for our DeadBlud brand. We have the same roles within our brand, but we both bring different styles to the table. She does a lot of what I would call more classic designs and I do more âcrazierâ designs. We are able to give a really good balance within the brand to make it something that artists would love to wear, but also something that everyone can feel comfortable wearing without getting too much attention.
How did the start of DeadBlud go?
I’ve always had visions and sketches that I would create for what I wanted to do for myself, and have worked for many different brands here in LA. I started by doing it literally and getting my team together. I was able to use all the connections I had from being immersed in the fashion world to my advantage by asking them to give me advice on how to move forward. Marina and I launched DeadBlud four months after deciding to become business partners in February 2020. Everything is still quite new and we’re definitely learning as we go. On the show, I felt like a rookie because everyone had been doing this for years.
How did the casting go for The hype to arrive?
According to the producers, I was the last to be cast. My sister told me she was at a music video shoot wearing our tracksuit. Someone walked up to her and asked her what brand she was wearing because they were casting for a designer reality show. I thought it was a sewing contest, which put me off a bit because I didn’t feel confident enough to go into it at all. Basically, we just design the products and provide creative direction for the brand and our sewage team in LA builds the clothes. Somehow, the producers ended up contacting us and telling us that this is not just a sewing competition and that there are many different styles of designers, d illustrators and creative directors. This convinced us to submit our application. Originally Marina and I were picked together, but they ended up telling us that only one of us could be on the show, which was a little too much pressure for us to decide, so we ended up telling them. have let it go ahead and do it for us.
Even though tech packs were used, every challenge still had a sewing requirement. Was it a big challenge besides having to create in such a short period of time?
It was tough, but I feel like the pressure really helped me grow. It was like a crash course in fashion for the five weeks we were shooting. I think I learned more in those five weeks than in a whole year. It was probably the best way for me to really dive into my art and realize my potential and have what it takes to take the brand to the next level, and even do my own tailoring and make my own designs. It was the first time I had made a jumpsuit, the first time I had made a trench coat, the first time I had made a full denim jacket, the first time I had made a complete outfit in the space of two days. I have so much love for the production aspect and this experience. Has helped me so much to grow as a designer.
Have the design requirements for a specific person or theme pushed you out of your comfort zone, or have you been able to find different ways to express a distinctive style?
I pride myself on staying true to my vision, what I believe in and my special sense of fashion. I think in every episode you can tell which pieces are mine. As an artist, that’s a really huge goal. As in the music industry, you recognize the best people the second you hear their voices, so does fashion. That’s kind of what I’m trying to do.
You described your designs as being inspired by Burning Man, is this also true for your brand, and what are some of your main influences?
In the series, I describe her as Burning Man because I feel like this community is based on the feeling of freedom and freedom of expression. I think that’s precisely what I meant. I don’t want to put my brand in a box to just be a festival style brand because I see it as something that is so much more than that. My influences come a lot from my favorite decade of the 2000s and 90s. I was obsessed with all the streetwear we saw back then. I like to transform the two timelines with the vibes of the future we see in today’s streetwear, as well as bringing together comfort and sensuality for gender-less streetwear.
What was it like to have comebacks from such renowned visionaries in the fashion and music industry? What are the main takeaways from their advice?
I definitely understood everything everyone had to say. Like in the Offset challenge where we had to design for a specific artist. Right before the show came out, we worked with Lady Gaga stylist Nicola Formichetti. He came to our pop-up in LA. He loved our stuff and bought some of our clothes on Gaga. Now we’re in talks with him to get a one-on-one collaboration with her and I’m taking what I’ve learned on the show into my daily life, which will stay with me forever.
Are there any other dream artists that you would like to create or collaborate with in the future?
I’m Colombian so I would die if I had J Balvin, Kali Uchis and Karol G. These are some of my favorite reggaetÃ³n artists, so I would love to create for them someday. There are tons of artists, I mean Gaga was something that for me was so crazy that it even happened because I’ve been listening to her forever.
One of the challenges was to choose a specific cause to champion. You seemed torn between sustainability and immigration. What ultimately guided your choice?
In this episode, it was so hard for me to pick just one. When they told me to choose just one, because defending too many things can get lost in the translation, I said to myself: âNo, that’s who I am! At the end of the day, the reason I chose to advocate for sustainability over Immigration / DACA / Dreamers is that if we don’t have a planet, then everything else absolutely doesn’t. of importance. So I needed to stand up for that on the show to educate people about the importance of fashion. Like Bobby Hundreds said on the show, there are so many clothes in the world, we really don’t need clothes anymore but it’s about making better choices with whatever affects us that might affect us. affect our future.
What do you think of the increased focus on immigration and greater Latin representation in various industries, especially streetwear?
Even though I chose sustainability for this particular challenge, I felt like my whole storyline on the show was very clear about being a DACA recipient and standing up for dreamers and the Latin community. It’s 1000% important to be proud because you don’t know who might care about your situation or carry a certain stigma. Growing up, I always felt like I couldn’t relate to anyone about this and I wish it was something that wasn’t as taboo to discuss as it was for me. Marina and I are both immigrant women who came to this country to pursue our dreams and we try to make them come true no matter what. I think that’s a powerful message to represent in our brand and to be a guide for other streetwear designers in our community.
Any advice for future streetwear designers on how to get started?
Go with your gut and don’t feel like you’re never ready for something because I think that has always been my excuse. “I’m not ready for this, I’m not ready to do this.” You should just choose whatever makes you happy and passionate without fear, and learn along the way. Because that’s life, to stumble and fall, get up and improve in whatever you want to accomplish. So live fearlessly and dive in and do it.