As my flight from Bradley International Airport took off on its descent to San Diego International Airport, I—as many of us do—watched movie after movie until landing. Nestled between a young nurse and an older business woman who spilled her entire Chick-fil-A salad all over herself, I needed a good distraction between the never-ending vaccine talk to my left and the horrific smell of ranch and chicken to my right. So, I narrowed my eyes and made sure they didn’t stray from the laptop-sized screen staring at me. Sex and the City: The Movie or The Devil Wears Prada, I thought to myself.
The Devil Wears Prada.
Growing up in California, I never really thought about what I wore. Sure, I would hop onto the latest trends like Doc Martens and mom jeans, but besides that, throwing on leggings and a hoodie everyday for high school was pretty much the extent of my fashion knowledge. Always feeling awkward in my long-limbed body, I tried to choose clothing that would cover up my stomach, make my legs look shorter, and hide my stick-straight bright red hair—all so I could blend in more.
It wasn’t until my senior year of high school that I started to recognize fashion for what it was. It may sound strange but the summer before senior year I started to re-watch That’s So Raven with my good friend, Tiger (a girl friend of mine I would tap dance with in DTLA). The series revolved around a teenage psychic girl, Raven, whose dream was to become a fashion designer. Raven was always sporting the hottest outfits at school and around her fictional friends. Being immediately inspired by a Disney series that I used to watch when I was a little girl, I began to design some of my own clothing and started to dream of a life/career in the fashion industry.
Summer of 2017, my mother (who went to school for Fashion Design) began to help bring some of my designs to life with her amazing techniques and fashion expertise. Gabriela would always urge me to dress well and would exaggerate how important fashion was—how it tells a story of the type of person you are, and it wasn’t until that summer that I truly understood what she meant.
We went all out trying to find my style. Through countless trips to the mall, thrift stores and her closet—I found what I thought was most me. From then on, I began wearing big-baby-bell-bottoms, platform shoes and tie-dyed knitted crop tops. I may have looked like a cross between a life-sized Bratz or Barbie doll but it was what I thought best represented my person.
Moving to New York City for college, my personal style has definitely evolved and, much like Anne Hathaway’s character in The Devil Wears Prada, had its challenges along the way. At the end of the flight (and the movie), I thought more intensely about my fashion choices—all of them, not just the "perfect outfit" chosen to go out with my friends in, but all of the outfits in between that don’t get as much recognition: the grabbing coffee look, the running errands look, the reading a book in Central Park look, etc. They all matter. They all give the world more information about who you are, how you see yourself, and your vision of beauty. Fashion doesn’t have to be materialistic, it can simply just be artistic.
“Halston. Lagerfeld. De la Renta...What they did, what they created, is greater than art. Because you live your life in it.” The Devil Wears Prada.