Step Inside New York Fashion Week’s Bodega

By Brittany Aubain

Versace, Vogue, and Louis Vuitton, oh my! The scents of garment steamer and hairspray floating through the air in SoHo can mean only one thing. It’s New York Fashion Week (NYFW), the semi-annual when international buyers, the press, and the public get a glimpse at the season’s hottest styles.

While the highest of the high-end designers showed off their collections to an exclusive group of fashion gurus, others took to the streets of New York City to give the general public a peek at what was to come this year. In the digital age, with the city packed with content creators, who would pass up the chance to go viral?

UPS teamed up with Latinx designer Angelo Baque, former brand director of Supreme and founder of Awake NY, for the La Bodega Baque pop-up shop. The sweet smell of café con leche and the light sounds of mambo and bachata enticed even the busiest of people to stop in.

Guests walked out of their SoHo offices and into a bodega that looked like it came straight from In The Heights, or, you know, the ones located on every other corner in the Bronx.

Merchandise sat on top of metal potato chip racks, and milk crates filled with toilet paper lined the floor. Even though the labels were covered with gold paper, bodega staples like orange juice, Pringles, and Spanish candies filled the rest of the bodega; the only thing missing was the beloved bodega cat.

The two-day pop-up showcased the new collection, “Unidos Para Siempre.” The four-piece collection included a jacket, hoodie, bucket hat, and t-shirt designed in the iconic UPS color scheme, brown and gold. The collection was also released in a blue, gold and black palette.

While showing guests around the attraction, one worker mentioned that the proceeds from “Unidos Para Siempre” and a $50,000 grant went to Manhattan’s High School for Fashion Industries to create scholarships and assist in the upbringing of the next generation of Latinx designers.

Baque mentions that “Unidos Para Siempre” is his way of addressing Latinx designers’ struggles in growing their brands due to lack of representation. To address this issue, Baque included the collection of 10 other local Latinx designers in his show. In a message painted toward the back of the attraction, Baque says that “When I create, I do so to bring people together and uplift communities – La Bodega Baque is its expression.”

Guests could get first dibs on the merchandise with a pre-order from Baque’s collection. They could immediately take home purses, shirts, skincare, and haircare from the other designers featured.

Even if attendees just showed up for the iPad photo booth toward the back, they didn’t go home empty-handed as they were treated to their own small cup of café con leche and a bouquet of flowers.

In a week where Chanel and the Kardashians are all the rage for their newest collections and antics, La Bodega Baque is a win for the Latinx designers and Latinx dreamers

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