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Latinos in the Fashion World 

Trailblazer of the Day | Friday, September 27, 2013

Jaslene Gonzalez, Oscar de la Renta, Carolina Herrera, Christy Turlington

With Chicago’s 7th Annual Latino Fashion Week opening on October 1, let’s look at some Latinos who have helped shape the fashion design and modeling industries, starting with a homegrown favorite:

As winner of the eighth season of America’s Next Top Model, Jaslene Gonzalez (1986- ) became the first Latina and second Illinoisan to win that competition. Since becoming Top Model, Gonzalez, who was born in Puerto Rico and raised in Chicago’s Humboldt Park, has been featured in numerous magazines internationally and walked the runway at New York Fashion Week and Chicago’s Latino Fashion Week, where she was honored in 2007. She has been active in a campaign to end teen dating violence.

Three other Latinos have been Trailblazers in the world of fashion:

Hailing from the Dominican Republic, Oscar de la Renta (1932- ) has risen to the top of the fashion industry and is one of the world’s best-known designers. De la Renta began his career in the famous fashion houses of Paris and New York before launching his own haute couture label in 1965. As a testament to his leadership in fashion, he served two terms as President of the Council of Fashion Designers of America. Known for his signature style of casual luxury, de la Renta continues to dress distinguished women worldwide, from first ladies and royalty to movie stars.

Carolina Herrera (1939- ), a native of Caracas, Venezuela, became an international fashion icon in the 1970s and was elected to the International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame in 1980. Following that achievement, Herrera began her own clothing line in New York City and quickly found success with her chic, elegant designs. She was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Council of Fashion Designers of America in 2008. Today, her lines are carried in nearly 300 stores worldwide.

Christy Turlington (1969- ), one of the country’s most successful fashion models, was born in California to a Salvadorian mother. After being discovered by a local photographer at age 14, Turlington’s modeling career took off and led to contracts with fashion and cosmetics giants like Calvin Klein, Versace, Georgio Armani and Maybelline. As one of the original supermodels of the 1990s, Turlington has graced the covers of 500 magazines and become an advocate for various international humanitarian organizations.