By: Kaity Modesto
Sandra Vargas is a mother of two living in NYC and identifies as a Dominican York. Growing up her dad was a custom men’s tailor and ran his business at home. She says fashion runs in her blood and from the looks of it, so does the entrepreneurial spirit. Sandra has a strong love for her Dominican identity and enjoys learning about Latin American History. Sandra’s blog: http://www.lifesamoda.com/ channels her love for fashion, travel and Cultura. With Dominican Independence day on the horizon, I’m going to share an interview I did with Sandra as well as give you a taste of her Etsy collection.
Q. Tell us about Lifesamoda and what inspired you to create the Lifesamoda collection?
A. It started me out with me trying to find positive images of Latina Women. If you google us, specifically Dominican women, it is very very very sexual and I’m not going to deny it, Dominican women are very beautiful but that is not all we are about.” […] Now that I am raising a little girl, it scares the shit out of me because I don’t know how the world is going to mold her to think a certain way.” […] So I came across this website that sells shirts idolizing iconic Black women in the Fashion Industry and I thought it was so cool. So I bought a shirt and I just loved it. I started going through their website all the time to see if they were going to refresh it or put new product out and I thought if they had a Latina in there… they would get my money like this!
And then it hit me, why don’t I do it? Here I am waiting for someone else to do it, I can do it. So started off really small…
Q. Tell us a little about the different collections you currently have.
A. I started off with the Carmen Miranda and I do not know how to really draw but I worked really hard on that one. The only reason why I liked her more than any of the others is that she was the Latina pop star icon in this country — the highest paid woman in Hollywood and she was an Afro-Latina. […] She was breaking all these barriers at her time.
Faceless Dominican Dolls was the other shirt I did. I have those dolls in my house. […] I went through a lot of work to get those things here. […] I love the story behind that. So this artist [Liliana Mera Limé], years ago like in the 80’s, she was coming up with a design and she realized she couldn’t do what a [typical] Dominican woman looked like because everyone looked so different. So she decided to make faceless dolls! I thought it was so brilliant because if you look at my household between me, my brothers and sisters, we all have the same mom and dad but we all look so different. My brother looks like he is from India, my younger brother looks half black and white and my sister looks like a white girl and then there is me–and I don’t know what I look like but we all look so different!
I’m turning 40 next year and I’m not going to turn 80 saying should’ve could’ve would’ve. So I’m just going to do it. I could die tomorrow and someone is going to say she was trying to do something.
Sandra’s story and her collection inspires us to listen to ourselves and not be afraid to follow our intuition. As Latinos, we need to continue to share our stories and continue to make our mark! In celebration of Dominican Independence day, let’s commend and support those in our community who work everyday to defy what others think of us. Today, more than ever, we need to be proud and flaunt it! After all, we are an asset to this community and country.
¡Feliz Día de la Independencia Dominicana!