La Story behind
LAS DIVAS DEL MONTE
Las Divas Del Monte is a project that began in 2019 by its founders Ashleen Castillo and Kamille Payamps. This project arose from witnessing the alarming amount of textile waste that is produced in spaces where garments are developed. Being aware that the fashion industry is the second most polluting industry in the world after oil, it has been an opportunity to rethink its practice. Las Divas del Monte proposes to give a new life to this material that still has potential for use, not only by using textiles to make handbags and clothing, but also by using pieces of plastic and wood to create earrings, keychains and pins. Initially the project began by creating accessories such as bags, earrings, keychains and pins. But now the project has evolved to a stage, where clothing is incorporated. Celebrating and honoring where we come from and where we are going. We design for the hard-working, brave, and authentic Caribbean woman. Our modern jíbara is bold, determined and allows herself to be the most authentic version of herself. ”
Ashleen Castillo Cruz is a 30-year-old Colombian-Puerto Rican fashion designer that grew up in Cayey, Puerto Rico. Creating has always been her passion, which motivated her to study fashion design in Puerto Rico and Philadelphia.
In 2015, she began to develop her brand, Ashleen Castillo, launching her first line of swimwear. During her studies at Moore College of Art and Design, she had the opportunity to develop and present her work on platforms such as New York Fashion Week and Philly Fashion Week. Moved by her passion for identity through clothing, she had the opportunity to do an internship in Guatemala, working with the weaver’s cooperative Trama Textiles. Thanks to this experience, she discovered her passion and social commitment.
Since then, she works to build a proposal that explores our society and environment through transitions and collaborations that arise in them, always striving for a sustainable way of production. Having these elements always present in her creative process, the challenge then arises about how to communicate this through her work and how to make it accessible so that whoever wishes can wear a piece of clothing with meaning.
Kamille Payamps Feliciano is a 22-year-old Puerto Rican-Dominican fashion designer. Fascinated by how clothes were made, at an early age motivated to study fashion and styling. Starting her studies in Puerto Rico at Lisa Thon and later at Universidad del Turabo, in her second year of the university, and decided to transfer to Moore College of Art and Design in Philadelphia. Transeffing gave her a lot of adventures within the industry, internships, and jobs. Inspired and fascinated by architecture, heritage, sustainability, and craftsmanship, Payamps designs with the ideals of modernity at the forefront of her mind.
FLOWER TUS SUEÑOS
The inspiration and theme for this collection started with spring season school sports. We chose tennis and then we asked ourselves who in our culture represents that sport.
We chose two Puerto Rican professional Latina tennis players who have made their marks in the sport and who have followed the theme of our spring collection “Flower tus Suenos.” These two women have watered, given light and love just to see their dreams grow.
Gigi Fernandez and Monica Puig are women to look to, for inspiration and for the spaces they have created for us to only make bigger. Gigi Fernandez is the first Puerto Rican to be inducted into the international tennis hall of fame. Monica Puig is the first Puerto Rican in history to win a gold medal at the Olympics while representing Puerto Rico.
For most of us, our dreams do not grow overnight. We must see our dreams and desires as plants and flowers that need our life ingredients to grow. We should flower our suenos(dreams) so that we can appreciate the growth from the seedling stage to the ever so blossoming stage where our dreams come to flourish.