Taste Takers, produced in partnership with Toyota, pairs an artist, up and coming singer, Marinero, with a fashion stylist, Keyla Marquez. The duo was challenged to create stage-ready and expressionistic looks using only vintage stores in LA. Driving Toyota’s Corolla Cross from store to store, Marquez and Marinero were able to bring to life tantalizing visual aesthetics and learn about each other’s creative sides in the process.
Marquez, a star in her own right, has previously worked with Byredo, Nyx, and fashion brand Gypsy Sport to bring an LA-infused creative vision to the biggest stages, while always celebrating her Latine heritage and uplifting minority creatives around her. Her particular brand of light magic is present as much through screen as it is through campaign, showing what she refers to as her “Virgo ambition” and her deep humility for all of the opportunities she has been blessed with.
Marquez sat down with Remezcla to discuss her journey to becoming a stylist, how she collaborated with Marinero to create primarily expressionistic outfits, and her tips for your next trip to the vintage shop.
I’m always curious as to how people came to be who they are now. Could you tell me how you became a stylist?
I’ve always had a foot in fashion. I grew up in El Salvador, where my grandmother had her own clothing factory, and my mom had her own clothing line. I literally grew up running around the factories, asking the workers to make my uniforms shorter, because I wanted my skirt to be shorter. (laughs) From the get go, I was already a flirt.
We came to the US when I was 5. I feel like growing up Hispanic in America, you don’t nurture those creative jobs. You either want to be a lawyer, doctor, architect – those are the jobs that you think you need to have to get the “American Dream”. So, my mom left fashion behind her. She just went to school to be a nurse, and fashion was a part of her life that she never really revisited. I was always into the arts. I grew up in the Valley, and I was a skater girl, super into the riot girl movement.
After college, I had friends who were starting their fashion photography careers. They’d tell me to pull looks together for their shoots, and I’d go and style their shoots. As I was doing it, I realized how much I loved doing it, and how good I was at it. I decided that I wanted to learn from real stylists. I cold pitched a couple of stylists through Instagram DMs, and one answered. I worked with that stylist as her assistant, who passed my name along to her circle of stylists.
That’s how I started assisting Rita Zebdi, who was Frank Ocean’s stylist at the time. I got to work on Frank Ocean’s blonde album photoshoot and content. I understood construction and how to make clothes, so I was sourcing a lot of fabric and finding custom pieces. Getting to work with Rita on blonde was really beautiful to me. I remember standing in the crowd at one of his shows and seeing what we had made on the big screen. I had this feeling in my heart, like, this is why I want to style. I wanted this feeling forever.
In Taste Takers, you were challenged to create outfits with Marinero using only LA-based vintage stores. What’s your history with thrifting in LA? What are your favorite stores?
I used to thrift so much when I was younger out of necessity. We didn’t have money growing up, and I always wanted to look differently than my peers. The Valley has so many thrift stores. When I had some money, I would go to the vintage stores on Melrose. That was a treat, growing up. When I was in high school, I’d get $100, and I’d go spend it all on Melrose. It was enough for like, three things, but it was so cool to me. Wasteland, in particular, was a spot I went to a lot for designer resale.
Now I don’t thrift as much, I go to more vintage stores. I love one of the vintage stores we went to in the episode, Space City Vintage. That’s become one of my favorite vintage stores. Zach, who owns that store, is incredible. I like to have a relationship with the people that run the stores, and I loved hearing his story.
You worked with Marinero closely in this episode. I noticed that while you were in the vintage shops, there’d be a piece you would pull that would remind him of something his dad or his grandfather would wear, while some pieces felt like part of his personal style. As a stylist who works with primarily Latine creators, do you often see that intersection of fashion being used as expressionism and fashion being used as a way to honor your heritage?
When I style people, I love to read their Instagram and see what their personal style is. I can’t put someone in something that they would never wear, because then it feels contrived. If they don’t look good, they don’t feel good, they won’t be shot well, and the photo won’t capture that magic. For me, it’s really important to take the subject’s personal style, build on that, and elevate that. My job as a stylist is to make people feel good and amazing.
With Marinero, I was like, okay, he loves vintage, he loves retro, but he also loves to put in his own flair there, and that’s what I do, which is why I feel like our relationship on that day was a nice little flow. We both see fashion the same way: as an extension of the things that we love from the past and the things that we love in the future. And we just mix those two.
Imagine you and I are going out thrifting. What tips would you give me for putting together an outfit?
Number one: mind what fabrics you choose. A lot of vintage polyesters don’t breathe. When you’re going out, you don’t want to be wearing something that’ll make you too hot in ten minutes. Make sure you find something comfortable. I love rayons or cottons, fabrics that will last forever and breathe. Keep in mind the maintenance of your clothes. Yes, you’re buying something for $10, but you’re going to have to dry clean it forever. Also, if something doesn’t fit, don’t give up, because there’s great tailors. You can get anything tailored to your body and it’ll give business to a great local tailor. I have literally four different tailors in LA and I go to all of them for different things: leather, suits, evening dresses, etc. There’s a tailor for everything.
Another tip: not picking colors that wash you out just because the outfit is cool. I see that happen so many times, someone will be like, ‘This looks so cool!’ And I’m like, ‘Yeah, but the color sucks, and it washes you out.’ You have to buy things that go with you in terms of color and tone. I feel like people forget that, for style, there are laws of infinite potential. Sometimes, my clients say ‘Oh, I could never wear that.’ And I’m like, ‘Yes, you could!’ Everything has potential – don’t discard something you like because you’ve never worn anything like that. Give it a try.
It’s all about having that power within yourself. You can literally make anything happen. It’s really all confidence. And it’s all attitude, and it’s all about the way you approach things. And if you approach things from a point of view that’s full of power, light, and love, I feel like you’re gonna get that in return.
Toyota’s new Corolla Cross stands for empowering all of us to move successfully into our futures. Do you have any future plans you’d like to share?
Launching my company Lujo Depot: The first online wardrobe rental showroom for the industry by the industry. I am extremely excited and passionate about this new chapter in my life as it encapsulates my life experiences and my love for fashion and community and that is deeply rooted in the foundation of the company. I have been working on this for the last year and a half and we are launching this summer. Half of the website will be a free membership based platform for fashion industry creatives to rent new up and coming and established designers as well as vintage. The other half will be a blog highlighting the designers we carry as well as telling their story, their creative process and their influences behind their collections. Oftentimes we see clothes and admire it for its beauty but we forget how much magic and love there is in the creative and creation process. That documentation is just as special and my goal is to highlight that, tell those stories and build community along the way. I want to be a vessel for a new way of storytelling because not everything has to be transactional – there is so much intention and meaning behind fashion and I’m here to shine a light in that world and the geniuses behind it.