#NotYourTypicalBlogger Graciela Ayala!
Graciela, your name stands out by #NotYourTypicalBlogger hashtag. Please tell us in more detail – what makes you so unique?
Well, I am not the typical lifestyle or fashion blogger, I started my blog as an activist when I was very young, I love fashion, but I also speak about wellness, social issues, and politics. I am not a “sit still and look pretty” kind of woman and believe I have a disruptive influence.
What is your background?
I was born in El Salvador in a small middle-class family. When growing up I loved reading lots of books and have always been a dreamer. I am a medical school graduate, however I am not practicing medicine at this moment. Proud Latina/Vegetarian, I have been blogging for 5 years. Even though most of my family lives in Los Angeles, I am currently based in Central America and live in an adorable little tropical city. I have always loved traveling, and I see myself as Citizen of the World.
These exquisite pieces you are wearing, do they belong to the brand created by you – YALA @yaladesign?
Yes, the pieces you see in vegan pearls are part of my new “Renacer” collection of the Yala brand. It means ‘rebirth’, the collection is entirely handmade and ethically made, and was co-created with my best friend from med school. The idea was sensed through the loss of her father and overcoming that sad side of life.
YALA pieces look very delicate, what stands behind their creation?
I had an idea of creating something elegant and unique. Usually I like getting ideas from my fantasy world and I continuously ask myself “What a queen would wear?”.
“Yala” (based on my last name Ayala) is an imaginary queen who I devote this collection to. Every collection is inspired by real feelings – like loss, or hope.
We heard that you donate some percentage of sales to a non-profit in El Salvador? How did you pick this organization and why?
Yes, currently I am donating 50% of Yala sales to FUSATE a non-profit organization for the elderly in El Salvador. I follow this rule for every new collection I create – usually 20-25% percent of sales goes to charity.
Together with my best friend I worked for this organization right before the quarantine. I support all the causes and non-profit organizations related to health and contribution to a better life for people of my country. Fusate does not have a lot of resources, so I decided to raise funds through my brand and help them during these difficult times.
Where do you see yourself/your brand five years from now?
Wow! I always think BIG! I see myself traveling the world promoting the Yala brand, fundraising money for my country, and showcasing the pieces in the most significant cities of the world, like New York or Paris. Personally, I also see myself in a very happy place – married, maybe having a cat! I think success has to be something way more than having a recognized brand or blog, in order to be truly successful you have to have love in your life and do good.
What is the most interesting project you have ever worked on?
It would actually be my next project – I will be introducing myself as an author for the first time. I cannot share much about it at this point, but I’m very excited about this new phase.
You follow fashion weeks worldwide – what are your picks from the new collections you have seen?
Tough one, I love many up-and-coming designers like Frederick Anderson, Kimberly Goldson, as well as designers who are on top of their game like Rebecca Minkoff and Carolina Herrera. We see as many new talents as known designers that wow us!
If you could jump into a pool of something, what would it be?
Maybe into joy and peace, for sure!