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NADA ES IMPOSSIBLE

As a woman who’s been thriving in male dominated arenas for most of her life, it’s no surprise that Carla Cortijo is an emerging up-and-coming streetwear designer. Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Carla’s love for creating fashion began with her first sewing machine at 11 years old, she’d been inspired by her grandmother who was a professional seamstress. That same grandmother gave Carla her first basketball at 3 years old, leading Carla to become the first Puerto Rican woman to play in the WNBA. In her collections, Carla strives to merge fashion, sports, and design.

Our Co-Founder, Melani Carter sat down with Carla to talk about her debut collection ‘Nada Es Impossible’ that features a matching peach sweat set with basketball motifs and the inspiring Nada Es Impossible text printed across. The collection is rounded out with similar designs on an accompany tee and basketball shorts. The 4-piece collection is now available on Footlocker.com and in Foot Locker stores across the country. ENJOY!

Carla, you’re now welcoming a new era of streetwear with your new collection in collaboration with Foot Locker’s Behind her Label. Talk about your initial thoughts when you received the call that you were designing a new collection and what this means for the future, for women. 

La primera vez que recibí la llamada para ser parte de “Behind her label” fue algo muy conmovedor para mi. Todavía no me lo creo. Yo apenas estoy empezando en el mundo de la moda, y tener este tipo de oportunidad en tan poco tiempo es un sueño hecho realidad! El ser mujer y latina, es bien difícil para nosotras conseguir oportunidades como estas. Tenemos que trabajar el doble, enfrentamos mucho discrimen, y pienso que esto es un buen comienzo para seguir abriendo puertas a otras mujeres que quieren ser diseñadoras! 

The first time I received the call to be a part of “Behind Her Label,” it was very moving for me. I still cannot believe it. I am just starting out in the world of fashion and having this kind of opportunity in such a short time is a dream come true. Being a woman and Latina, it is very difficult for us to find opportunities like these. We have to work twice as hard, we face a lot of discrimination, and I think this is a good start to continue opening doors to other women who want to be designers!

As a former player in the WNBA, I’d love to know your thoughts on how the WNBA has grown over the years to now having opportunities to create a special collection launch with Foot Locker today

Cuando tú miras 10-15 años atrás, ninguna de las jugadoras tenían la oportunidad de ser parte de una marca de ropa o calzados! Ahora tenemos de 5-6 jugadoras por equipos que son partes de organizaciónes como Nike, Adidas, Pumas, etc. Y eso es un gran logro! Tenemos jugadoras que diseñan sus propios calzados como Candace Parker, Aja Wilson, Skylar Diggins, Elena Delle Donne, Sue Bird, etc. Se está creando oportunidades a mujeres en el deporte y eso es lo que queremos, queremos equidad. Esta oportunidad que estoy teniendo con “Foot Locker women”, ha sido gracia a los cambios que hemos visto tras los años hacia la mujer y espero que se siga abriendo caminos a la mujer.

When you look back 10-15 years, none of the players had the opportunity to be part of a clothing or shoe brand! Now we have 5-6 teams that are part of organizations like Nike, Adidas, PUMA, etc., and that is a great achievement! We have players who design their own sneakers like Candace Parker, Aja Wilson, Skylar Diggins, Elena Delle Donne, Sue Bird, etc. Opportunities are being created for women in sports and that is what we want, we want equity. This opportunity that I am having with “Foot Locker Women,” has been thanks to the changes that we have seen over the years towards women, and I hope that it will continue to open paths for women.

Merging streetwear and fashion embodies the style of an athlete on and off the court, talk about why this was important to incorporate in your new collection.

Yo siempre e pensado que el “streetwear” y el deporte van juntos! Ahora vemos muchos atletas llegando a los partidos de NBA y WNBA con mucho estilo y “swag.” Se ha convertido en una competencia en quien tiene el mejor estilo! Sea creado una cultura para usarlo como exposición para construir algo por sí mismos. En la NBA actual, los atletas son sus propias marcas. Lo que llevan puesto no es solo un estilo personal, Es un negocio!

I have always thought that “streetwear” and sports go together! Now we see many athletes arriving at NBA and WNBA games with lots of style and “swag.” It has become a competition in who has the best style! A culture has been created to be used as exposure to build something for themselves. In today’s NBA, athletes are their own brands. What they are wearing is not just a personal style, it is a business!

Talk about the influence of sport has had on your career in the way that you create and design your latest collection.

El que me conoce, me conoce por el Baloncesto. Era bien importante crear una colección que definiera la mujer en el deporte. Los “hoodies”, “sweatpants”, “shorts” y “Tshirts” son ropa que los atletas usamos siempre! Nos gusta sentirnos cómoda y seguras antes de un partido y esta colección es perfecta para cualquier evento deportivo.

Whoever knows me, knows me from basketball. It was very important to create a collection that defined women in sport. The “hoodies,” “sweatpants,” “shorts,” and “T-Shirts” are clothes that athletes always wear! We like to feel comfortable and safe before a game and this collection is perfect for any sporting event.

I love the amount of storytelling and thought you’ve put into every piece of this collection. How important was it for you to incorporate this key element during the designing process? 

Como te había mencionado anteriormente; para mi era bien importante enfocarme en la mujer en el deporte. Especialmente mi trayectoria y de donde vengo! Cada detalle que puse en esta colección lo hice con mucho amor y pasión, lo hice pensando en todos los sacrificios que nosotras las mujeres deportistas tenemos que hacer para poder tener equidad. Y esta colección es dedicadas a todas ellas, es una colección que nos hace sentir seguras!

As I previously mentioned, for me it was very important to focus on women in sport – especially my career and where I come from! Every detail that I put in this collection I did with a lot of love and passion. I did it thinking about all the sacrifices that we women athletes have to make in order to have equity, and this collection is dedicated to all of them. It is a collection that makes us feel safe!

Can you walk me through a few design elements and the significance of your latest collection? (Ex: colors used, clothing choices, and why you chose them for your first design) 

Los colores que usé en esta colección describe de donde vengo, Puerto Rico. Use colores pasteles donde me recuerda el color de la arena de la playa, las palmas, el agua y el color de piel de la mujer Puertorriqueña. Somos un país que nos gusta el deporte y trate de mantener una colección que define quien yo soy. También, use el “slogan” NADA ES IMPOSIBLE, porque quiero que otras crean en si misma y trabajen por sus metas. Yo jamás pensé llegar a la WNBA Y jamás pensé tener una colección de ropa con una de las mejores marcas del “streetwear” en el mundo, se puede lograr lo imposible!

The colors I used in this collection describe where I come from, Puerto Rico. I used pastel colors where it reminds me of the color of the sand on the beach, the palms, the water and the skin color of the Puerto Rican women. We are a country that likes sports and I tried to maintain a collection that defines who I am. Also, use the “slogan” NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE because I want others to believe in themselves and work for their goals. I never thought of getting to the WNBA and I never thought of having a clothing collection with one of the best “streetwear brands in the world, you can achieve the impossible!

Describe the importance of women led platforms such as Made for the W collaborating and telling the stories of athletes on and off the court especially during a monumental moment like this? 

Es bien importante tener plataformas como lo son “Made for the W” porque nos dan a reconocer! Es una oportunidad de conectar con otras personas y conozcan más de ti, de lo qué haces, de donde eres! Muchas personas se pueden relacionar con tu historia y los puedes motivar a pensar que “NADA ES IMPOSIBLE” “Si ella lo pudo hacer, Yo también!” Y por eso es bien importante a que sigan contando historias de mujeres, para que el mundo te reconozca!

It is very important to have platforms such as “Made for the W” because they give us recognition. It is an opportunity to connect with other people and get to know more about yourself, what you do, where you are from! Many people can relate to your story, and you can motivate them to think that “NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE.” If she can do it, I can too! Therefore, it is very important that you continue to tell women stories, so that the world recognizes you!

Here at Made for the W, we love to hear sneaker confessions, what’s the craziest thing you’ve done for a pair of sneakers? (Ex: spent a crazy amount of money on sneakers

Pues cuando jugaba baloncesto llegue a tener casi toda la colección de los calzados de KOBE, eran mis favoritos para jugar, y pudiera decir que en total pude haber gastado sobre $5,000! 

Yo me pongo a pensar ahora, y lo que puedo decir es que: “Yo realmente estaba loca” jajaja

Well, when I played basketball, I had almost the entire collection of Kobe sneakers. They were my favorites to play, and I could say that in total I probably spent over $5,000! As I look back and think, I can say that “I was really crazy.” *laughs*

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