'Nueva Yorka' Brings Latina Couture To The New York Fashion Scene
Inspired by the streets of New York and her rich Latino background, Jessica Hoppe is bringing Latina couture to the New York fashion scene. Known as Nueva Yorka to her 33,000+ Instagram followers, this fashion industry expert is making it known that Latinas are trend-setters, rising leaders in fashion and a sophisticated prime market not to be overlooked. MBG spoke with Nueva Yorka to gather her thoughts on upcoming fall trends, what products she can't live without and what inspires her.
MBG: When and where did your love of fashion transpire?
NY: I can’t remember a time when that form of self-expression wasn’t present in my mind. When I was about 5-years-old, I was in a quinceañera. The seamstress made me this gigantic pink dress and I just lived in it. Naturally, that was what I wanted to wear on my first day of school (ever). My poor mother (and sister) had quite a time convincing me to choose something else.
MBG: What inspires you about your Latina roots?
NY: My family and I are incredibly close. They are my roots. Roots that happen to be Latino, and that makes me very proud! The reason I feel so connected to my heritage is because it's always been seen through the lens of my own family.
My two sisters and I are first-generation American. My father, who is half German, came here from Ecuador when he was 17 years-old; my mother from Honduras. They both overcame unimaginable obstacles in order to do so. They managed to create a life for us that stands in amazing contrast to their own. And all for the better! It always amazes me -- my life compared to my mother’s and father’s. Nothing inspires me more than they do. And I believe it is my duty to carry their hard-won torch, honor their sacrifices and pave the way for future generations.
MBG: What’s in the forecast for fall? What do you see trending on the streets?
NY: As a child of the 90s, I’m thrilled with the state of trend at the moment! I just wish I would have kept my old goodies from Contempo Casuals!
As the seasons change many of the same silhouettes remain - just in different textures and hues. Hang on to florals but switch your linen, and chambray for luxe velvet, feminine lace and sexy satin and silk pieces. Take your favorite slip dress and add layers: a tee or turtleneck underneath, vintage denim or a moto jacket on top. It’s all about tailored, feminine style presented with an edge.
And it's time to show off those shoes - my favorite part of the finished outfit. I am psyched to switch out espadrilles for a pair of chunky boots, and layer my sky-high platforms with socks and tights. Dust off those Doc Marten’s from High School? That’s my plan.
MBG: Where are your favorite places to shop?
NY: I began my career in fashion as a buyer for Ralph Lauren and Intermix. So I’m an extremely calculated shopper. I keep a spreadsheet of items that I want that fit certain criteria for each season. I just stalk sales, rarely paying full price! It’s the former buyer in me.
Vendor wise, retail has changed so much in the decade that I’ve been a New Yorker. My favorite shops are now literally non-existent. Nowadays, I shop mostly online. My favorites are SSENSE.com for the most avante-garde styles and designers on the market -- I would love to meet their buyers. Matches is truly the most elegant shopping experience one could have – top-notch start to finish. And they also have killer sales! And, of course, Zara can't be beat for your everyday wardrobe necessities. I have about eight midi skirts from Zara. They never go out of style.
MBG: What does beauty mean to you?
NY: Authenticity, confidence and self–possession. We all have insecurities and that is perfectly natural. I don’t think that age and wisdom can completely erase those things – we’re human. And we're all different.
But I've learned to stop comparing and qualifying myself as "different" in a negative way. Growing up I was bullied so much for my differences -- the only brown girl in school, from the “poor” family, my style was labeled “sexy/slutty” – and the list goes on. It took me a long time to realize the effects as an adult and actively apply self-love.
MBG: Who are your style & beauty role models?
NY: Fashion, like all art forms, is cyclical. I’m in the midst of fashion week now and struggling to find something fresh and different. There seem to be two aesthetics in play at the moment. I’m hoping the audience makes room for more. The audience is who holds that power. We are fed more of the same because that is literally what we click “like” on.
With that said, I'm a huge fan of Grace Jones, Bianca Jagger, Frida Kahlo, and Audrey Hepburn. These women influenced history and it's ever changing definitions of femininity, culture and fashion. They did it by being unapologetically themselves. And that is what I aspire to everyday: to be myself, put it out there and hope I find something that speaks to me as an individual.
MBG: If you could have lunch with anyone who would it be? What would you order?
NY: I’d love to choose someone less cliche - but that would be dishonest. The person I’d most like to have lunch with is Frida Kahlo. And God-willing, she would cook for me ;) Close second would be Bernie Sanders.
MBG: What are 5 products that you can’t live without?
NY: This is a tough one because I am no good at make-up and love a bare face. But, I am 33-years-old now and skincare is important. The best things you can do for healthy skin are drink plenty of water (I try to do 2 liters a day) and get plenty of good sleep!
As far as products go, I could never live without lip balm, and I believe a woman should have a signature scent. Anyone who knows me well knows I am incredibly decisive. I know right away what I like or want and am relentless in getting it. Every time I have come across a scent that suits – that’s it – instant and forever.
1) Kiehls Lip Balm -- Not in the tube. The one in the little jar is best – more shine ;)
3) Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado by Kiehl's – You don’t need to spend a million dollars on an eye cream but you should apply one every day. This product is a great price point and feels so smooth and decadent! The trick is to apply by patting gently from the inside of the eye to the outside. Pat and repeat.
4) Calendula Herbal Extract Alcohol Free Toner by Keihl’s – Yup, I’m a Kiehl’s girl. Their products are such a great value.
Be sure to put a bit of the toner in a travel size spray-bottle (available at any drugstore) and spritz generously on the face each morning. It is such a refreshing way to wake up and cleanse the pours.
5) Everyone is different so finding your scent is such a personal process. Diptyque really speaks to me, particularly the Tam Dao, which has a sandalwood base. I also love that my sister gave it to me -–just makes it all the more special.
MBG: What do you like to do to relax?
NY: Sounds funny, but I exercise. This morning I woke up at 6am to go for a run – just to get a moment of peace before the Fashion Week frenzy. I adore yoga and Body Art, which is a super spiritual technique based in a far eastern approach of physiotherapy that works the mind as much as body. This is essential for me because I am constantly buzzing! Exercise is one of the only things that quiets my mind and gets me centered.
MBG: Last but not least, what is a secret talent that most people don’t know about you?
NY: In the words of the great Robin Williams as Mrs. Doubtfire, “I do voices.” I can mimic most voices and accents. There are hours of lost footage from my childhood impersonating Steve Urkel and Ace Ventura (LOL).
It is also important to note that I am a fantastic cook. My specialty (besides Latin cuisine which I learned from my mother, also a wonderful cook) is Italian. Cooking is such a passion of mine, so when I spent some time living in Italy, I made it my mission to master the key recipes. I just LOVE feeding people!!
For a remarkably inspired feed and to stay updated on trends, make sure to follow Nueva Yorka on Instagram.
Read more about our favorite Instagram feeds with 5 Latinistas to follow.