First I just want to apologize for taking so long to post again. I’ve been in the midst of some personal hardships that I’m actually still working through, but I am determined to finish what I started. So I’m back and actively working on some new projects that I’m very excited to share so stay tuned for that.
Currently I’m also in the process of outfit planning for theCURVYcon next month and it reminded me that I hadn’t had the chance to share about my experience at the last great fashion event I had the pleasure to attend. As I recounted in my post back in June, as a birthday present to myself, I traveled down to Puerto Rico for the Su-Style Expo. Created by blogger, Suzanne Ujaque, the Su-Style Expo is the premier Latino plus size fashion event in Puerto Rico.Suzanne was the first international fashion blogger I started to follow soon after I launched this blog. I found her to be of interest because of how differently trends can be interpreted due to location and local beauty standards. Beauty stereotypes abound in Latino media in unique ways which in turn are reinforced by media found in the States. From never showing Afro-Latinos, like me, at all to depicting Indigenous Latinos only as service workers, all the while promoting one specific body type at all times. While there are a few of us Latino/a influencers in this space doing what we can to break these (harmful) beauty standards, Suzanne was the first (that I know of) that took it a step further by creating an event to help push her message of self and body love with a very unique approach.Prior to starting my blog back in 2015 I attended many plus size fashion events in an effort to educate myself on brands, fit and price. For the most part, attendance to these events were not free as they required purchasing a ticket. Their were some exceptions of course, yet prices for events like these have steadily risen with each passing year and I’m assuming that’s not just a NYC-specific thing. So when I heard that this massive event was being held in Puerto Rico for NO cost I was stunned. That’s right, the Su-Style Expo is held in the biggest technologically advanced convention center on the island and not only is it free for all, but ALL attendees even get swag bags!I love this for 2 major reasons : (1.) No one is left out due to cost issues and so it effectively becomes a family event (2.) Due to a lack of a ticket level-hierarchy, everyone has the same kind of experience. That said, of course if you wish to attend Su-Style you do have to RSVP via their preferred ticketing platform, this year was Oferta del Dia.com, however, this is just to ensure that her team has a head count of how many people they should expect. People could still “get tickets” upon entry, the only thing they needed to do was to sign up for the event mailing list.
What makes Su-Style Expo stand out from most of the events that I’ve attended is that it has a mix of many different elements: multiple fashion shows from the event sponsor brands like Walmart, Avon, and Sydney’s Closet, to name a few, informative and inspirational workshops, keynote speakers and an opportunity to shop local boutiques and international brands/retailers. All of these happened within the same space at the same time so even if you were at a booth shopping you wouldn’t miss what was going on stage. I know that kind of sounds like a lot, yet surprisingly there wasn’t sensory overload. For one thing the workshops were on a schedule that didn’t conflict with the fashion shows or keynote speakers on stage, so you could clearly hear the presenters. Also local boutiques had their collections featured in the fashion shows so you got an opportunity to see their pieces in the flesh and in motion before making a purchase on site.
I personally think it was a bold move to only have local boutiques and designers available in the booths selling their collections. It is worth noting that small businesses and boutiques are often overlooked when it comes to shopping plus, even though there are a fair few that do work to create collections specifically for us, sometimes even being more affordable than the major retailers which was the case at the Expo. I somehow managed to convince myself to only buy two pieces at the event, because let’s face it, paying for checked luggage sucks and I only brought the one bag with me. Anyway, I bought a pair of printed jeans from Hectik Curves and a chambray ruffle-sleeve dress from Big Jevas, both of which I will be sure to share on IG before summer ends. Thankfully most of these boutiques do deliver to the US so I’m looking forward to making purchases from the brands I couldn’t support this time around.
My mother is an introvert (like mother, like daughter I guess) so she can only take so much social stimulation (Again, same) so we left the expo much earlier than I had originally planned. From what I saw on Instagram the closing out of the event was a major party much like the rest of the day was. I loved that the expo provided a space to not only shop new collections and learn about other brands, but it was overall a chance to celebrate how much things have changed in the fashion industry as well as how fabulous we all are; curves and all.
Lastly, my other favorite thing about Su-Style Expo 2019 was that this being her third year, Suzanne even brought in two other Latina influencers from Colombia and the Dominican Republic to share the stage with her thus demonstrating that this is a movement that has potential of spreading to other parts of Latin America. I find this to be exciting because that means that there is a chance that something like Su-Style Expo can one day find its way to Panama, the country where my parents are from. When it comes to plus size fashion Panama is severely lacking so the people there would benefit from something like this there. But that’s a thought for the future, I guess.
Recently it was announced that next year’s conference has been scheduled for April 6, 2020 and I’m already looking into flights and hotels for my next trip to Puerto Rico. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I manage to make it. This is definitely an event worth adding to your social calendar so why not consider making this a part of your next girls trip with your friends? I promise that you won’t regret it.
What do you think about the Su-Style Expo? Also will you be at this year’s CurvyCon?