In the fall of 2016, Patty Delgado made herself a jacket. Well, maybe she didn’t actually make the jacket itself — but she definitely made it better. Then a full-time freelance graphic and web designer (and a mostly inexperienced seamstress), Delgado stitched a sequin appliqué onto her denim jacket. The patch had significance to Delgado beyond just its sparkle. Discovered on one of her trips to Mexico City, the patch featured the Virgin of Guadalupe — an important symbol of Mexican identity — and offered a way for Delgado to demonstrate her cultural pride through creative, eye-catching fashion.
“I put on my jacket and I just felt this instant pride, this instant nostalgia for my culture,” she tells us. “I felt really empowered. I knew that if I felt so strongly about this jacket and if it meant so much to me as a cultural statement, then it would sit really well with other millennial folks like me who are children of Latino immigrants.”
Delgado shared photos of her jacket on Instagram, and it wasn’t long before others took notice. Their reaction was just as she expected it would be… but on a larger scale. “It was amazing — people sharing my photos, people tagging their moms, moms sending the photos [of the jacket] to their kids,” she tells us. “It was an overwhelmingly positive response from an online community of Latinos on Instagram.”
Soon after — and with the positive feedback from Instagram as a motivator — Delgado took to her parents’ living room with enough wholesale denim and sequin patches to create 30 similar jackets. Since each appliqué was hand stitched to a jacket, the process was time-consuming, but Delgado says she loved taking her design skills off the computer screen and into a hands-on project. In early 2017, she decided to shift her schedule to allow for less graphic design work and more time crafting jackets, and Hija de tu Madre — which translates, in English, to “daughter of your mother” — was born.
Today, less than a year and a half after making her very first jacket, 26-year-old Delgado is working on Hija de tu Madre full time. In January 2018, she hired her first assistant — and not a minute too soon, since each week, she hand stitches patches onto 20 to 30 jackets. And while she’s cleared out of her parents’ house, Delgado has converted the living room of her own apartment into a warehouse space. “It’s definitely a humble start, but I take a lot of pride,” she says. “This is a very homegrown business.”
Much of the growth of Hija de tu Madre can be attributed to the brand’s awesome Instagram presence, through which an incredible 97 percent of leads for the products are funneled. Delgado’s social media strategy is focused on building community and harnessing Latinx cultural pride. In today’s political climate, the entrepreneur feels even more strongly about the importance of reaching out to immigrant and first-generation American communities.
“It’s very disheartening and heartbreaking that people are literally being told to get out,” Delgado tells us. “I’m trying my best to create products that help people feel like they do belong, that make people feel like there is fashion out there that makes them feel represented. It’s no longer about selling or making money. It’s about creating a safe space for likeminded folks to share their immigrant experiences or their experiences of being a child of Latino immigrants.”
Delgado purchases the patches for Hija de tu Madre’s jackets from Mexico, which has allowed her to develop strong working relationships with Mexican businesses. She’s also proudly watched as her customers — inspired by the brand’s bold, colorful Instagram feed — purchase the items from her growing product line as a cultural statement for their loved ones.
“My favorite thing is the reward that comes with getting tagged in a photo and seeing someone write about how much they love their jacket and how special it is for them and their family,” Delgado says. “I’m trying to create art and fashion that has a clear cultural statement, all while empowering Latinas and women.”
Don’t you just love when a jacket can be so much more than a jacket?
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(Photos via Hija de tu Madre)