Immigration and Fashion

America is filled with hundreds of immigrant groups, each with their own unique sense of style. There isn’t one style that outlines Americans as a whole.

The fashion industry has been greatly influenced by immigration. Immigrants like Levi Strauss, Oscar De La Renta, and Don Won and Jin Sook Chang have shaped the industry and what we wear. Levi’s blue jeans are iconic to American life as is Don Won and Jin Sook Chang’s widely known store Forever 21. A majority of the 45,000 garment workers in Los Angeles are Latino and Asian immigrants. About 70% of those workers being Latino.

“As a child of immigrants myself, I wear [clothing] inspired by my heritage,” said Cynthia Flores, a senior in the Business, Innovation, and Leadership small school. “I’ll combine clothing I get from places like Los Callejones or my aunts with something I find in Forever 21 to make a new look,” said Flores. Flores said she likes to be reminded of her roots, even if by something as small as a piece of jewelry or a pair of shoes

Fashion is also influenced at a local level. In Los Angeles, we have many districts like Koreatown, Little Tokyo, and Los Callejones, commonly known as Santee Alley, in the Fashion District. In Koreatown, you can find many Korean influences on American style. At the Koreatown Plaza, you can find clothing stores with Korean influenced fashion. In Little Tokyo, you can visit the Japanese Village Plaza for Japanese inspired clothing. In a few of the stores, you can find clothing inspired by different styles found in Japan like harajuku or modern American streetwear twists. At Los Callejones, you can find a wide variety of Latino/Hispanic fashion. From Latin American inspired tops to Mexican embroidered leather huaraches, Los Callejones has all of a person’s Latino/Hispanic clothing needs.

“I love going to Koreatown and Little Tokyo to look for new clothes. I always find some cool clothing or accessories to add to my wardrobe,” said Sofia Ramirez, a junior in the Visual and Performing Arts small school. Ramirez enjoys trying out new or different styles in her free time. “I love looking online and in different districts to find new items to integrate into my own style.”

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