For Adriana Castro, being an immigrant to the United States is a source of pride.
That pride has been translated into her trade, creating a limited edition bag that will benefit immigrant entrepreneurs.
“I have the best memories in my heart,” the Miami-based handbag designer said of living in the US. “The process of learning all aspects of starting and running a fashion business, maintaining strong, real relationships with family, friends and people that have crossed my path in this exciting yet challenging fashion journey.”
Castro was born and raised in Barranquilla, Colombia and always remembers being enamored by fashion, leading to the creation of her eponymous fashion label in 2009.
“My mother tells me that since I was a young girl, I was always amazed by the accessories women were carrying. My eyes always went to the bag,” she said. “Also, my father was in the exotic leathers business so I grew to appreciate the skins he worked and the traditional craftsmanship behind it.”
In was in 2000 when the then-teenager moved to the United States, a country she says “has been very good to me.” She earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Purdue University and then went on to study fashion accessories design at the Miami International University of Art and Design.
When she started designing bags, her simple cross-body purses, envelope bags and satchels—made with dyed reptile skins—quickly caught the attention of the fashion elite. They’ve been worn by celebrities like Kendall Jenner, Sarah Jessica Parker, Jennifer Lopez, Eva Longoria, Kim Kardashian, and Heidi Klum. She was given accolades for her accessories, and most notably, five of her bags were featured in “Sex and the City 2.”
Then, in November 2017, she was given the key to the city of Miami, which inspired her to design the “I Am an Immigrant” bag—a bold black-and-white piece.
Typically, a portion of proceeds from her bags benefit programs that aid the repopulation of caiman lizards. This particular bag will have proceeds going to the Hispanic Heritage Foundation, a group that encourages the growth of Latino entrepreneurs.
“Florida has seen me grow as a designer, but above all, as human being,” she said. “It’s an ode, a celebration for those who struggle every day outside their home. For those who are labeled by their place of origin, not their way of being. For those who succeed and become known, for those who do not. But always for those who try. Because we all have dreams.”
Castro’s pieces can be purchased online at adrianacastroonline.co.