Meet the LUAR’s!

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Raul Lopez wants to make sure everyone is clearly in sight. He’s busy orchestrating this 17-model photoshoot, which at times feels like a mother trying to calm her bickering children (he calls them “my daughtas”). But Lopez is relatively at ease. He maintains a sense of charisma and big boss energy that only a founder of one of the most talked-about New York brands could possess.

LUAR, founded in 2017 by Lopez — who left his co-founded brand Hood By Air to branch out on his own — is groundbreaking because it’s a brand by and for underrepresented, historically oppressed people. And in Lopez’s case, specifically, the queer Latinx population in Brooklyn. “They’re always going to say no to us because that’s the world. But trust me, one day they will have to bow down,” he says. “We are the inspiration. We are the reference. We are the future of the world. And if we stick together, we can tear it out.”

Lopez calls himself a “LUAR philanthropist,” and some of his “daughtas” endearingly refer to him as their “gay father.” “When you say LUAR family, you’re limiting it,” he continues. “LUAR is universal. Even people I don’t know are my family. IYKYK. I love my universal family, everywhere in the world.”

Kethlyn White – Friend, Coach, Team Leader

“Freedom of choice manifests itself in so many different parts of the business, from the way Raul designs and constructs his ideas, to how the team operates together.”

Naomi Merlain – Operations Coordinator

“I joined the brand straight out of undergrad, and I feel as though I’ve been embraced in a way that really has me feeling like LUAR is my family. As the brand is growing, so am I.”

Guillaume Boucher – Art Director

“LUAR does what others can’t do.”

Rosen Tomov – Interactive Digital Art Director

“I met Raul with Guillaume and we’ve worked closely together. Discussions turned into ideas. Ideas into baby steps. I like to think we’ve learned to walk and are now planning for a run.”

Jalen Dominique – Model

“The best part about working with Raul is, I feel the most respected, and not even just on a human level, I feel like he respects me as an artist.”

Prophet – Muse

“LUAR’s core value is elevating Black culture and ethnic culture, Latino culture.”

Sabrina Arroyave – Junior Designer

“[LUAR] supports the community, whether it’s New York or Latinx or [the] LGBT community. And not only using them as inspiration, but Raul lives it.”

Fidel GomezTorres – Product Manager

“When we went to Portugal [for production], we checked into the hotel and maybe three hours later, we met for dinner. He asked me to come and meet him in his room. He had switched the bedroom setup. He bought an area rug. He had flowers. There was a candle burning. Who goes and buys an area rug on a trip? But he’s like, ‘I’m going to be here for two weeks. I need to feel comfortable.’ So it was that. He walked into the space and he made sure that it was a space that served him.”

Keyla Exclusa – Studio Manager

“There [are] so many funny moments because we all have a gravitational pull. That’s why the team has stuck the way that it has. The most memorable thing is connecting with Destiny. She and I are in the office more than anyone else. Stop, I’m really going to cry.”

Destiny Rivera – Director of Operations

“When we come together, it’s like a LUAR work party. We have the most fun, but we get a lot of work done. Keyla and I are together every single day, for the good and for the bad. We’re all like brothers and sisters that pick on each other sometimes, but other times we’re super lovey-dovey. I love that.”

Kristy Baez – Muse

“I’m so excited for [LUAR] to blow up and be everywhere, like worldwide. [Raul] deserves it all because he works so hard and he’s really about his craft. He’s the real deal.”

Maxwell Vice – Content Contributor

“The brand’s value is bringing luxury to the hood, or this idea of indigenous royalty in my mind. I like to mix the hood that I grew up in with the fantasy world that I like to be in. LUAR supplies those tools to create that fantasy.”

Maahleek – Model

“Everyone’s very nice. The clothes are really nice. They are essentially androgynous. I identify with that because I identify as androgynous.”

Nadirah Iman – Social Media Manager

“It’s really cool that I have the ability to be young, be myself, be all of who I am, and still be able to represent the brand.”

Sinn Chhin – Model

“The best part is that when I come in, it doesn’t really feel like we’re working, honestly. When it comes to business it’s like, you got to get this done. But overall, I’m just coming to kick it with my homegirls all day.”



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