an interview with
ILSE VALFRÉ by SUMMER LEE @summerannelee Ilse Valfré is a Mexican-American fashion designer and illustrator, raised in Tijuana, Mexico, and currently residing in Los Angeles. Ilse founded her namesake brand, Valfré, in 2013, after her artwork became extremely popular on Tumblr. Her illustrations and designs perfectly encapsulate the young woman’s complex relationship with confidence and vulnerability. Her retro style and feminist message has grabbed a great amount of press attention: she has been featured by Vogue, Teen Vogue, The New York Times, Forbes, and Cosmopolitan (just to name a few), and is a reoccurring mention by Nylon. Ilse took the time to answer my questions for her about her personal style, inspirations, and a smidgen of politics.
Q: From the perspective of being from Mexico, but currently living in Los Angeles, in what ways would you say Mexican style and LA style are similar? In what ways are they different? A: There’s a large Mexican community here in a L.A., and I feel that because of that, the styles are very similar. However, people in L.A. are a bit more carefree. Here, you can wear a trash bag as a dress and nobody will even notice. I love it! Q: In what ways does your Mexican heritage come through in your artwork and fashion designs? A: Mexicans are good at not taking themselves too seriously, and our culture is fed by vibrant colors and humor. The influence of these characteristics shines through in my work, especially with some of the products that we make, such as our cheeky phone cases. Q: You once told Urban Outfitters that your father is one of your style icons. In what ways was his fashion sense unique? A: He would always pick the most eccentric outfits! Plus, he would design his own suits! He was never shy about being himself or looking different, and in my opinion that’s what makes someone stylish.
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