Born and raised on the streets of south central LA, fashion designer Mario De La Torre knows what it is to sweat and struggle for art. Imparting a brutally honest vision of hood influences, west coast appeal and Chicano culture, Mario approaches his designs with an open mind and the intent to empower women.

The motivation to design came early for Mario. As a child, he looked forward to the days when his mother would take him to the May Company for a day of shopping. “She just made it fun for me,” reminisces Mario, divulging that he would choose clothes for her to try on.  Agreeing to wear even the most bizarre of styles, Mario’s mom always made sure to model for her son before each outfit change. As a student, he devoted his time to pursuing other artistic interests. New friends introduced him to the underground world of graffiti art; still one of his greatest passions. Graffiti soon led him to a streak of club promoting. He was passing out flyers, making good money, and partying at clubs before most high school kids learn to drive.

Regardless of the intuitive forces that be, Mario left his years of artistic adventure and risk to embark adulthood with a series of random studies and jobs, where he progressed from computer programming to achieving a well-to-do career in real estate. Fulfilled in helping others achieve their lifelong dream of home ownership but at last jaded, he finally heeded his inner calling and went back to school to study fashion. “When I got into fashion everyone thought I was crazy, including my parents,” Mario reveals. He advanced quickly, nabbing an internship at a private fashion house a meager few weeks into his studies. He rose in the ranks to become a creative director just four years later. Having also designed for major private labels Nordstrom and Caché among others, Mario asserts himself as the next designer to watch in LA.

At 35, he has realized the dream of starting his own fashion line. The beautiful, evolving motley that is Los Angeles, in which he aims to evoke “structured, timeless patterns.” As an aficionado of revolutionary designers like Alexander McQueen, Vivienne Westwood, and Rudy Gernreich, Mario makes clear the type of creative and resonating stamp that he too would like to impart on the history pages of fashion. Most of all, he wants his clothes to empower women, helping to “embody who they are and who they want to be.”