In Southwest Detroit, fashion isn’t just about looking good, it’s about making a statement. No one knows this better than Alicia Alvarez, born and raised in Southwest Detroit and the co-founder and owner of Alvarez Designs.
Representing everything LatinX, fierce and fabulous about Generation Z, Alicia and her sister Alondra, creative director for Alvarez Designs, recently sat down with ShopSouthwestDetroit.com to explain the inspiration behind the brand.
Learn more about Alicia, Alondra, and their statement making fashions in this exclusive video interview with ShopSouthwestDetroit.com.
“Alvarez Designs was founded in 2020 after we designed our first
t-shirt to stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter
Community,” explains Alicia.
“We came up with ‘Latinas for Black Lives’ and made a shirt for both of us to wear. We made a few others for my mom and my sisters and then everyone kept asking where did you get that shirt. One thing turned to another and next thing you know, we had so many people requesting it, that we sold over 200 shirts and shipped them to 17 different states across the US.”
“That gave us the confidence to continue making more clothing for social justice. We wanted to make shirts that would make bold statements and make people think and react. We love wearing our Latinas for Black Lives shirts, especially in Michigan. People always have something to say. It literally triggers some people. It catches their attention. Alo and I have had people ask us ‘Why are you wearing that?’and it gives us an opportunity to stand up for what we believe in. We’ve also had people say to us ‘Well, all lives matter,’ and that gives us an opportunity to educate. We can’t change everyones minds, but we do the best we can and we know that by wearing the shirt we are really standing up for what we believe in.”
“With the Latinas for Black Lives shirts t-shirts that we made, 10% of the funds were going to bailout funds and different fundraisers going on in our community,” describes Alondra. “It was a good opportunity to give back. We know that a lot of people weren’t able to go to the protest, so in buying a shirt, they were able to be supportive in some way.”
Shopwouthwestdetroit.com features a variety of Alvarez Designs’ tees for social change. ‘El Futuro es Mujer’ and ‘Abolish ICE’ are two of the most popular designs.
The “El Futuro es Mujer” collection dropped the day of the inauguration on January 20, 2021.
“We were really inspired by everything we went through, and knowing we had our first female vice president,” says Alicia.
“That was a really big moment for a lot of females and that gave us a lot of empowerment. January 20th was also Alondra’s birthday! We thought it was a great way to start the year.”
“I’m a student at Michigan State University and I do a lot of education justice work and advocacy work in Detroit,” explains Alondra.
“I used to be a resident assistant and worked with a ton of international students. At that time (early 2020) the president announced that if schools went completely virtual, students would have to go back home. My students were afraid and I was very upset and wanted to advocate on their behalf. It was a cute shirt that you could wear during the summer, but then people would read it and be like ‘Oh my God.’ We sold a lot of those shirts.”