Hugging the Block X Lomography: A Day With LAFOI and the Simple Use Camera

For this series of articles, we're collaborating with Hugging the Block, a community market who's goal is to create support and community for BIPOC and first-generation Latino immigrant entrepreneurs in Pasadena, California.

In the spirit of their mission, we're here today to highlight a day in the life of the team at LAFOI — a fashion lifestyle brand emerging from founder Alexa Amigon's roots as a first-generation Mexican-Honduran designer — all documented on the Simple Use Camera.

Photos by Alexa Amigon of LAFOI

Hi Alexa, welcome to Lomography Magazine! Can you start off by telling us a bit about yourself and LAFOI?

Hi Lomography, I appreciate the opportunity to connect with you. I'm Alexa Amigon, the founder of LAFOI, a lifestyle brand dedicated to elevating storytelling, evoking emotion, and delivering a sense of fulfillment through our garments. Rooted in my background as a first-generation Mexican-Honduran designer born in the United States, LAFOI draws inspiration from my family, upbringing, and aspirations for the future. With every creation and collaboration, I strive to weave these influences seamlessly into the fabric of LAFOI.

Photos by Alexa Amigon of LAFOI

Can you tell us a bit about what you decided to shoot with the Simple Use Camera ?

In selecting the Simple Use Camera, my aim was to capture an authentic day immersed in the world of LAFOI. Amidst juggling various projects and deadlines, my time dedicated to LAFOI allows me to immerse myself, focusing on the details of my surroundings and getting inspiration from them. The photos captured reflect this intention, featuring close-ups of my immediate environment and the individuals who play a pivotal role in bringing LAFOI to life.

Among these influences are the dedicated members of my sewing team, each contributing their skills to the creation process. Additionally, I wanted to spotlight my mother, Bessy Centeno, a lifelong fashion designer whose hands and knowledge have played a crucial role in shaping nearly every development and sample item that transitions to production for LAFOI. The choice to zoom in on her hands is a deliberate attempt to emphasize the hands-on craftsmanship that goes into every aspect of LAFOI's creation. Along with my sister Cinthia Centeno, who is a muse for my ideas and usually helps implement practical solutions to my designs.

Can you walk us through a day of work at LAFOI?

At LAFOI, a typical day currently revolves around the development phase of the new products coming in 2024. My focus is to craft innovative items that mirror my evolution as a designer so far. Over the past year, I navigated a challenging and transformative period with my business. Gaining valuable knowledge and redirection from God, I'm actively developing fresh ideas to introduce more luxurious, detail oriented, and overall purposeful items. Along with opening the door to introduce my community to learn from my experience with managing a business and what has helped me overcome many obstacles I have faced this year. Helping those designers who have questions and need direction with production is something I want to focus on in 2024 for LAFOI as well.

Photos by Alexa Amigon of LAFOI

What is the biggest inspiration for LAFOI's designs?

The core inspiration for LAFOI's designs stem from the fabric of everyday life—past, present, and future. I find beauty in the ordinary and have a natural inclination for romanticizing the details of daily existence, pausing to capture and celebrate its beauty.

For example: one project I am in development of embodies the history of vaccine marks commonly among Central Americans born in their native lands. These vaccine scars, etched on the upper left or, more rarely, the right arm, serve as markers of a particular social class and offer a glimpse into an individual's journey, a detail often overlooked. I am drawn to finding beauty in these understated details to give someone like my mom, brother, sister and friends who possess them a sense of empowerment. It's about giving due recognition to aspects that may otherwise go unnoticed and celebrating the unique stories they tell. This, in essence, encapsulates the deep appreciation that fuels LAFOI's designs.

Can you expand a bit on the mission of LAFOI as well as working with Hugging the Block?

LAFOI's mission is all about highlighting stories and creating products that represent who I am and my environment in an artistic way. As I've gone through my own journey, I've been lucky to learn things that have helped me, and I want to share those resources with my community. Being a part of Hugging The Block allows me to be a bigger resource to new entrepreneurs in the community who might not know me personally.

While I don't have everything figured out, I've faced challenges and learned from them, and Hugging The Block makes it easier for me to support others in their journey.

Photos by Alexa Amigon of LAFOI

What are the hopes for the future of your designs?

The hopes for the future of my designs and overall company is to be deeply rooted in a commitment to create purposeful and timeless items. Each design is crafted with a
deliberate intention to tell authentic stories, reflecting the essence of everyday life and personal growth. As I navigate through my own journey, learning and evolving, the designs serve as a visual representation of this ongoing narrative.

Looking ahead, I hope LAFOI becomes a part of conversations that shape the generations to come. The aim is to leave a lasting legacy where LAFOI's designs connect the past, present, and future, always standing for real stories, meaning, and a sense of culture.

Anything else that you'd like to share?

In conclusion, I want to thank you, Lomography, for taking the time to highlight us. We are honored and excited to be part of this amazing article.

If you're interested in keeping up with LAFOI, make sure to follow them on Instagram.

written by eloffreno on 2024-01-30 #culture #people #community #documentary #photo-diary #suc #small-businesses

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