The Amazing Work Of Social Justice Clothing Designer Manny Garcia
It’s interesting how things happen and how being in the right place at the right time can change one’s life forever. That may sound a bit dramatic but it does happen and it has probably occurred to most of us at least once in our lives. It happened to Manuel Garcia, or Manny, as his friends and family call him.
While on a trip to Quito, Ecuador, he had an epiphanous experience that led him to form his clothing company Libertad Collective. While in Quito he observed many unsung heroes, as he calls them, who used what was in front of them to provide positive solutions and affirmative changes to their communities. Being a witness to something so simple yet rare in many parts of the world, he sought to do the same in his community through fashion design.
Libertad means freedom or liberty and Manny felt and feels that each person is entitled to freedom by using his clothing as a means to make a fashion statement and as a direct tool for social advocacy. Libertad offers apparel that is at once innovative, fresh and contemporary and is made with a socially conscious style. The fashion-forward streetwear are ultra-relaxed and gender neutral and how one chooses to wear them is always up to his or her own interpretation. The t-shirts, sweatshirts, hats and hoodies are a result of a collaboration of visionaries and represent a celebration of heritage, legacy and tradition of Mexican-American culture. At the heart of the brand is the concept of ‘Giving’ and a portion of all proceeds go to charitable organizations.
Manny was raised in Michigan and was born in Texas. He spent some time in Nashville and for the last nine or ten years has called Los Angeles his home.
He has always been inspired by creativity and he has been in awe of how fashion is so interwoven into our daily lives. Clothing is not only useful as far as protecting us from weather and the sun but it has had an incredible transforming impact on humanity ever since people began experimenting with different styles and colors.
Besides being in the fashion industry, Manny Garcia has been teaching Spanish for fifteen years. He is currently a teacher and a member of the Languages Department at ESLA (Episcopal School of Los Angeles). ESLA is a social justice educational institution whose philosophy fits perfectly with Libertad’s ethics and beliefs. Studies have demonstrated that diverse student populations are much better prepared for advanced education and life situations in general than others are. Dissolving societal barriers all begins with pulling down social injustices in our schools and that in turn develops leaders and citizens who are ethical and fair-minded. Manny holds a BA in both Spanish and English and is passionate about sharing culture and tradition that is inherent in the Spanish language, especially since his parents and hence his roots are from Northern Mexico.