It’s not always easy to tell what’s next in fashion, but Dominican-Puerto Rican fashion designer Marco Morante is a pretty good start. The mastermind behind L.A.-based brand Marco Marco stars in Netflix’s reality TV show Next in Fashion hosted by fashion icon Alexa Chung and Queer Eye’s Tan France. Although he’s known for designing statement underwear, the Latino creative has dressed Shakira, Britney Spears, Katy Perry and Fergie to name a few.
He also made history in 2018 by having the first all transgender fashion show during New York Fashion Week. Catching up with the sartorial creative, Marco shared what it was like working with Shakira, who he’d love to dress next and how his Latin roots make a presence in his life and work.
HOLA! USA: Were you born and raised in L.A. or did you move from Dominican Republic?
Marco Morante: “I was born in Massachusetts. My mother was born in Santurce, PR and moved to Brooklyn with her mother and sisters to join my grandfather when she was five. My dad was born in Manhattan to a Dominican mother and Ecuadorian father, so my Latin comes from all over. When I was two we moved to California, where I learned to LOVE Mexican food so I got the best of a bunch of worlds.”
Do your Latin roots play a part in your design process or inspiration? If so, how?
“My childhood home was filled with stories, art, food and family. My parents really took every opportunity to instill in me a sense of pride in my culture. I think that that intrinsically makes its way into everything I do whether it’s sewing, cooking, dancing or arguing. It’s a large part of how I identify myself and how I relate to the world.”
How would you describe your pieces?
“I love strong colors and bold choices! With the Marco Marco brand, I try to make work that is dynamic and I try to make it serve the client who wears it rather than the other way around.”
What was it like working with Shakira?
“She is a woman who knows what she wants and confidence is my favorite thing to dress. I thought what she and Jennifer Lopez did on the halftime show at the Super Bowl was outstanding!”
Aside from the celebs you've already worked with, who else would you love to dress?
“Last year I worked with the San Francisco Ballet and really loved that. I would love to do more theatrical work like that. I would love to design an opera. As far as celebs, I am obsessed with EVERYTHING Rosalía and would love to make things for her.”
Why did you want to join Next in Fashion?
“Ashton and I have been at this game for so long, it was hard to say no to a month out of the office being creative with my best friend.”
What was it like working with Alexa Chung and Tan France?
“Alexa and Tan had a pretty tough gig deciding who stayed and had to base their critiques on very small details so I’m glad we were able to have fun on the show and not have too many serious interactions. They were always playing around on set, so it was nice to have them pop in now and then to remind you that you are being recorded and we should be having fun with the experience.”