QUE BONITA BANDERA! QUE BONITA BANDERA! Everyone proudly chanted during the NYC Puerto Rican Parade. It means “what a beautiful flag!” Puerto Rico’s flag is as beautiful and vibrant as its people. The flag’s single white star represents commonwealth. Its blue triangle signifies Puerto Rico’s government branches. The red stripes represents the people’s blood. The white stripes symbolize human rights and freedom!
Puerto Ricans are so proud and patriotic that many times you’ll see them wearing garments, jewelry, and body art displaying their flag or its colors.
They naturally ooze vibrancy that resonates in their self-expression, food, music and overall culture. Honestly, where will the world be without Salsa, Reggaeton, and J-LO?!! 😀
Puerto Rican Flag
QUE BONITA BANDERA
As a Liberian Girl, I couldn’t help but notice many similarities between the Puerto Rican and Liberian Flag
Country pride blazed in all its glory at the NYC Puerto Rican Parade 2011
Of course at such an event there were and lots of celebrities! I must say Elmo and Mickey were looking sharp 😀
The art work and cars were OFF DA HOOK!
Craving to learn more about the Puerto Rican culture, I visited Little Puerto Rico in the Bronx and Spanish Harlem in Manhattan.
In Little Puerto Rico, I meet the lovely ladies of Alter Ego Hair Studio.
They told me that Puerto Rican ladies love to wear sexy clothing and show off their assets. It’s all about being sensual but classy at the same time. Also, Puerto Ricans usually wear American styles, but they style it to make it their own. Their vote for best dressed females are Maria Celeste (Puerto Rican actress and journalist), and of course J-LO
LITTLE PUERTO RICO STREET STYLE
I love the image on her shirt.
Bubbles is a supper cool Puerto Rican Lady I meet in the Bronx. She said online dating is her forte. So instead of fashion information she gave me excellent online dating advice! Major advice: Date Cuties, Have Fun! I AGREE!!
The people in Spanish Harlem were just as amazing! Here is Teresa and Carmen selling Puerto Rican memorabilia in front of El Barrio Museum on 1230 5th Avenue New York, NY. They give me a FREE KEYCHAIN! 😀 😀 As Yall know ” If It’s fantastic and free IT’S JUST RIGHT FOR ME!”
Rubi Girl: What is a fashion trend or traditional style typically worn by Puerto Ricans
Carmen: The Guayabera is very common. The governor Luis Fortuño wears it on special occasions. It is made of cotton, but some are very expensive because of the handwork done in the front.
Jorge Vargas, The wonderful owner of the eclectic Justo Bontanica on 134 East 104th Street in Spanish Harlem states,
“ Today many Puerto Ricans dress wild and free. It sexy, its vibrant, its colorful like our flag, its us.”
Rubi Girl: You have a lot of beaded bracelets on display. Are they only for fashion or do they represent something?
Vargas: They each represent the seven “Orishas” the saints. Orisha is the African name for saints. There is a Catholic saint associated with each African orisha. The Orishas are Chango (Saint Barbara), Ochun (Lady of Charity), Yemaya (Lady of Regla), Ogun (Saint George), Orula (Saint George the Evangelist), Elegua (Saint Benedict) and Obatala (Lady of Mercy)
Yemaya is called Mamie Wata in some Caribbean and African cultures.
Obatala Orisha of all souls and Lady of Mercy
Justo Bontanica has an intriguing array of items. For example, they sell bottles of “ Go Away Evil!” Vargas states, “ Go Away Evil is used to wash away negative energy; you can bathe with it, or use it to clean negative energy from your house.”
Hmmmmm I need to sprinkle some of this on my wallet, it definitely could use some positivity. Better yet, I should sprinkle some of this on the economy!
Walking throughout Spanish Harlem and Little Puerto Rico, I couldn’t help but notice the amazing graffiti and wall arts.
I also interviewed the lovely Kelly Martinez who currently lives in Puerto Rico
Rubi Girl: What would you say is the current style today in Puerto Rico
Martinez: Very modern, some are conservative, but many wear revealing clothing to accommodate the hot weather. Also people are very religious, therefore many would wear the rosary as a fashion statement.
Rubi Girl: What is traditional clothing?
Mrs. Martinez: Traditional clothing is usually worn by the Jibaro Puertorriqueños & Puertoririqueñas (Native Puerto Ricans). Jibaro is used to describe the mountain people who are the backbone of Puerto Rican Culture. Traditional clothing are usually worn during performances featuring music such as percussion based Bomba y Plena.
Tops are sometimes worn of the shoulder and women adorn their heads with flower bouquets. Women wear long and full plantation skirts. Men don a white outfit and Panama hat.
Some say the Guayabera comes from Cuba, but it is popular in Puerto Rico. People love to party and dance. Their style is very colorful with lots of hot pinks, yellows, reds and bisuteria. “Bisuteria” (custom jewelry) are very popular. We love color! Even our Christmas is vibrant with tropical colors.
Rubi Girl: Who does the youth like to follow and would you vote as most fashionable?
Mrs. Martinez: J-LO, Chayanne (Puerto Rican pop singer) and Ricky Martin.
Rubi Girl: Who are the top Puerto Rican fashion designers or designers that are popular in Puerto Rico.
Mrs. Martinez: Carlos Alberto designs dresses for Miss Universe, He’s dubbed “El diseñador de las Reinas” translation, “designer for the queens”.
Other popular designers are Agatha Ruiz de la Prada from Spain, Carlota Alfaro, (her designs are a staple in Puerto Rico), Lisa Thon (she established a prominent school of design) and Luis Antonio
Remember Casanova, the Puerto Rican fashion designer from Season 8 Project Runway? He studied at Carlota Alfaro institute and Lisa Thon School of Design.
Rubi Girl: What it the future of Puerto Rican Fashion?
Martinez: US fashion highly influences our style, so we will basically continue to refer to US Fashion and make it our own by adding elements of our culture.
Check out this video to see Destellos de la Moda 2011, a fashion show featuring many of Puerto Rico’s top fashion designers.
For a close up view of all the designs from Destellos de la Mado show check this link
Based on all that great inspiration and culture, I came up with three simple dresses for House of Rubi and my wardrobe!
I will create one of these dresses and feature it in an upcoming blog so stay tune!
Introducing DA GURLS
Celestina in the white layered bottom dress inspired by the skirts worn for traditional Puerto Rican Dance
Kelly in the red and white striped dress inspired by the Puerto Rican Flag. Thank you Kelly Martinez for for helping me with this blog.
Yara in the blue and white shirt dress inspired by the Guayabera.
For more info on my company House of Rubi, Check out my facebook website
Future Rubi Girl Style postings will feature mostly House of Rubi designs, concepts and clients. However I will still feature the cultural inspiration behind every concept. Thank you all for your support and kind words. Goodbye for now, or like the Puerto Ricans say “Vaya Con Dios!!”