Updated: Feb 26
As we continue to observe Hispanic Heritage Month, I was excited to interview Riley Moreno, a Personal Wardrobe Stylist, and owner of Outfitbuilders, LLC. As a part of the Latine community in San Diego, California, Riley aims to empower professionals by redefining their image and shaping how they can show up and present themselves authentically. During our interview, she shared her perspective on how we can build and support Latine businesses. Read the interview below!
Can you tell us more about the work you do and how it relates to your passion?
“I started off as a media stylist doing campaigns, commercials, and music videos and quickly realized my passion related to the transformation of the individual rather than just fashion and playing with clothes. It grew into helping people show up authentically through their style, which is different than just dressing people up and making them look pretty—it is about honoring and reconnecting to who you are on a very profound level. In that respect, a large part of my market and my community are people who are BIPOC, especially women who feel boxed in and unable to show up in their cultural and ethnic image.”
We shared past experiences of what it means to look and be professional in business settings; which expands from the color of make-up you chose if you were your hair in its natural state, the type of jewelry, and more. Historically, we know that BIPOC individuals have been looked down on for expressing themselves creatively through their style and fashion. Unfortunately, we both agreed that the judgment doesn’t come from outsiders alone, but often from older generations of our own families who have been conditioned to represent themselves unauthentically.
What do you think helps people show up more authentically through their style?
“It’s really about the intrinsic work of reconnecting with who you were as a younger person when you knew you were perfect and the world revolved around you. You knew you were going to change things! It’s about propelling the movement of style and clothing being nonbinary, having no gender, and not being representative of your values and professionalisms. It is about the engagement and what you have to offer, not what you see."
How can the public do more to support Latine businesses and entrepreneurs?
“I really think it comes down to awareness. We have been indoctrinated to believe we have no power. We have been indoctrinated to see people who don’t look like us, be celebrated and recognized and displayed. This has created an impression that: 1. We are minorities, when in fact the BIPOC community is the majority; 2. We don’t have any power in terms of anything, especially in spending power; 3. We are usually lower to middle class when it comes to finances. A little bit of research shows we are doing BIG things. We have been in Hollywood, Wallstreet, different spaces and doing business and holding positions like doctors—it’s not something new to us.”
How can the Latine community do more to support each other?
Riley continued her point by stating we don’t realize how important it is to have conscious spending, “[places like] Target do not need our money! They are counting on our ignorance and lack of knowledge to get our money and they are strategically located in places to ensure they draw us in. Small businesses, and when I say small I’m not only referring to mom and pop shops, because Latines have multiple businesses on larger scales, but these people in our own community are not getting the attention, acknowledgment, nor platform to be displayed. We have to do it for ourselves to stop the narrative that we aren’t about it and we are not doing it—maybe we see one or two people like JLo who is doing her thing… but why don’t we see people like Rita Moreno who is Puerto Rican and won an Oscars back in the 1950s and she’s an EGOT winner. Why don’t we see her on t-shirts? When we have the awareness of our power and ability (and responsibility), we can continue to push and grow our own community, because no one is coming to help us. Take that same awareness and love when it’s time to display your flag or in songs when they call out your country and use that same passion and put that dollar into yourself. We have to break through the belief that we are able and our children and grandchildren will be passed the “belief” stage and focus on building!”
Do you have any upcoming events or workshops open to the community?
“I have a Masterclass and workshop called The Power of You where I talk about why and how we’ve found ourselves in a cycle to think that self-care is indulgent or selfish, especially as parents. It’s important to recognize that when you pour into yourself, and you’re full, you can then pour into others. But, the reason we are constantly stressed out is that we are doing things for others. The class was previously delivered to an online community called MOB CON (Mom-owned businesses), and it was wonderful. Stay tuned to my page because I’ll be delivering it again and it is a free class to join!”
Today’s takeaway from Riley’s interview with The Cause Mall is: Invest in you! Invest in US (BIPOC)! Have a dollar-conscious spending so that when you support small businesses, you aren’t just looking at a barter exchange, but considering how you are investing into your community and its strong ripple effect on what happens to the next generations to come.
Be sure to follow Riley for style hacks on Instagram @outfitbuilders and you can also book a virtual coffee date with her on Calendly.
Be sure to shop with us at The Cause Mall this coming November!