Everywhere I looked, I bumped into three little symbols… a peace sign, a heart and a smiley face. I was awestruck by the gravitas of influence this design seemed to be having on everything from fashion, bumper stickers, jewelry, umbrellas, yoga mats, school- supplies, handbags, luggage, stationary and the list goes on and on.
So, I took a step into designer Alina Villasante’s ‘Peace Love World.’ Walking through the boutique, all of my senses were awakened with the sweet scent of grape confectionery (which will be available for purchase this fall); the aura of hope from the scribes that adorn the walls…‘I am happy,’ ‘Love is my Religion’ and ‘One World One Love;’ and lastly, by the sense of touch… in the delicate effervescence of 100% cotton that gives the fluidity to Villasante’s ‘Boho-chic’ style, which is unmistakable.
I chatted with Alina to learn about her inspiration and influence…
First and foremost, tell us about your inspiration for the title and motto of your company Peace Love World?
“In 1999 I was inspired to show appreciation and gratitude to my best girl friends by hosting a “Love Party”… The Purpose was for girls to have fun, bond, be themselves [and] tell funny stories about our years of friendship. Each year I designed a new shirt for the party guests to wear… I was printing shirts with the peace sign, hearts for love, then smiley faces for happiness. What is now the Peace Love World logo, has always been part of my life. I used to sign my yearbook with the same symbols”
Speaking with Alina, I truly began to understand her brands innate philosophy, which is also her motto for life, and this love for life shines through every inch of her designs. “I thrive on positivity; I don’t function well in a negative environment” she explained.
Villasante was born in Cuba and raised in New York and Atlanta, then relocated to Miami at the age of eighteen with her parents; so, when I asked if her heritage has played a vital role in molding the vision for Peace Love World, the answer was inspiring all its own.
“I came from a family that had very little when they left Cuba and they worked very hard to become successful. My family gave me the strength to follow my dreams and the foundation of principles and work ethic to achieve them… hard work always pays off.”
And how does Miami play into her style… Alina says, “I am motivated and inspired by this city, its energy and the Latin culture every day.”
70% of her designs incorporate Pima Cotton, which is an extra long staple superior blend of cotton. This blend allows her collections to help women feel extra- comfortable in their body, because to Alina it’s not about clothes being form fitting, but instead about helping women feel confident in their bodies.
Since Generation Y has a grave foothold on the consumer market in the 21st century, Alina do you strive to incorporate ideas for products the Y Generation will enjoy?
“Yes, Absolutely… My daughter and her friends are part of the Y Generation. I thrive on their feedback and take it into heavy consideration… I believe that every generation has its identification, what it’s known for and what they connect to, and Peace Love World does, also.”
Alina not only understands the influence of Generation Y on her designs, but she also values generosity, as do most Y’s. Her philanthropic identity is just as pivotal an influence, as her devotion to fashion. Alina’s clothes helps to support many efforts, including: the re-building of life for children in Haiti after the earthquake, autism awareness, breast cancer research and multiple sclerosis.
“Giving back is part of what makes this all worth while… We want to remind people to have hope and love life.”