Meet Equihua, the designer turning Mexican culture into high-end fashion

Brenda Equihua (@equihua_official) is an LA-based fashion designer who references her working-class Mexican household in Santa Barbara through her vibrant, colorful high-end pieces. On this episode of In The Know Style: Changemakers, the designer shares how she turns traditional taqueria tablecloths into stunning two-piece sets. 

Storytelling and cultural preservation is a huge part of Equihua’s work, especially when it comes to her Mexican upbringing in Santa Barbara. 

“My entire life has been just me carrying my ideas for so long,” Equihua explains. “When I was in school you were taught that these are the references that are important and relevant, and these [other] references, they’re not a part of this world.”

Equihua has collected memories throughout her life, storing them as inspiration for her works. “Every idea that I couldn’t use, every memory that wasn’t considered relevant, it went in this closet,” she explains. “I couldn’t put any more in there. I had to just open that door and let everything out.”

Now mining her memories for inspiration, she imbues her pieces with Chicanx culture, merging Mexican folk art with high-end fashion.

Equihua sources inspiration in everything from “childhood memories, scents, dresses, things I saw at yard sales… jokes I remember,” and ultimately creates “magic” out of them. 

“To have an idea and make it come to life, it’s like being a magician,” she shares. “That’s the biggest luxury of my life: to create the things that are in my mind.”

But nostalgia isn’t the only thing that stirs Equihua. She’s very forward thinking and is aware of all the experiences in front of her that have yet to inspire her work. 

“I’m gonna have ideas forever, because I have endless memories,” Equihua tells In The Know.  “I also have experiences that I’ve never even had before that are gonna inspire me, and I want to make those too.”

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