Taking up Space and Making Myself be Known

Taking up Space and Making Myself be Known

Life works in such unique ways where you feel connected to people you haven't met in person, but your first interaction makes you feel like you've known each other already. At least that's how we felt when David emailed us with a request for a custom piece. The story he shares with us is about taking up spaces where we belong even when we feel uncomfortable.  

Grammys 2024, what an absolute whirlwind! 

Hey there, my name is David Morales and I'm a vocalist based in LA and I had the opportunity to attend the 2024 Grammys. A choir that I sing with, Tonality, collaborated on an album by Carla Patullo,“So She Howls”, that was nominated for Best New Age, Ambient, or Chant album. Knowing that I would be attending the Grammys ceremony, I knew that I wanted to wear something unique and preferably a piece that represented my Latin identity. I am Salvadoran-American and as any good millennial, I googled Salvadoran fashion to see what I could find. A lot of what came up was traditional clothing or clothes that had a big Salvadoran flag on them but I was hoping for clothes that could be worn to a more formal event. I kept scrolling through and came across Descalza and the owner, Caro, who herself is Salvadoran. I came to love Descalza’s designs and use of textiles from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Peru. I sent an email explaining what I was hoping to achieve in representing my heritage at the Grammys and Caro responded enthusiastically. She sent me suggestions with my idea of using the Aguayo Fabric from Peru since the color was a Black and White which would match well in a formal occasion. She sent me over a mock-up of the design, made some adjustments, and then was on her way to preparing my one of a kind coat. 

It was quite an easy process and my coat arrived in a few short weeks. I received my kimono-inspired coat in thoughtful packaging that definitely confirmed that my coat was handled with care. I loved my coat but to be honest I was a bit intimidated in wearing a piece that was unlike any other coat I have worn to a formal occasion before. I did not want to stand out in an awkward way. But I had to remind myself that standing out was the very reason I wanted a unique piece in the first place. Wearing a hand-made piece with textiles from Peru displayed my Latinidad for everyone to see. How could I not be more proud of that? So instead, my intimidation became joy in knowing that I would be representing my family, church, and everything else that encapsulates my heritage. I love my culture and I especially love being Latino in spaces that sometimes need reminders that we belong. We belong in the arts. We belong in classical music. We belong in fashion. I hope to be an inspiration for future generations to take your space and make yourself known. Wear your culture with pride and never forget the sacrifices that were made for us. My unique coat reminds me of what an honor it is to have all my lived experiences as a latino. 

Grammys day was a rain-filled day with many wonderful memories, made extra special by Descalza’s custom coat. We also won our category which was the cherry on top that night, so now I can say that I have sung on a Grammy winning album! Looking forward to wearing my coat for my next event and bragging about how it’s a custom piece by Descalza!
- David Morales