Interview: Keyla Marquez

Keyla Marquez is a stylist and creative based in Los Angeles. She's also one of our closest collaborators and the pow...

Posted on April 07, 2021

Keyla Marquez is a stylist and creative based in Los Angeles. She's also one of our closest collaborators and the powerhouse behind many of our campaigns and lookbooks over the years. Beyond fashion, Keyla is a community advocate with her hands on lots of local initiatives. We caught up with her at home to chat about her work, what's next for her and how she reaches her FLOW STATE. 

Can you share a bit about your background, where you are from and how you moved to Los Angeles?

I was born in El Salvador. I immigrated to America when I was 5 years old and I’ve lived in LA since then, LA is my home and my heaven. I was born in the middle of a civil war and being exposed to such an intense and sometimes dark reality was hard but seeing my family come together with our community to build a safe space for us all is something that has stayed with me forever.

That experience as a child is why I am involved in fighting back against the injustices occurring now within our marginalized and immigrant communities. My grandmother owned a fashion line at that time so I grew up in the midsts of fashion and production and all that magic. I’ve loved fabrics and buttons since I was a kid because that was my environment, from there I created my own project runway with my barbie dolls and scraps of fabrics. Fast forward to 30 years later and I am doing the same but this time with actual models, dream come true.

How do you think those experiences have shaped your work as a creative?

Every experience I’ve gone through has shaped the person I am today, the good, the bad and the most hurtful ugly. My father once told me in spirit that I need to use my experiences to go full force with my dreams and my goals, that there is a reason why I went through all the hardships. Now that I know my truth and my purpose, it all makes so much sense.

I am a strong, powerful and creative woman and I wouldn’t have these strengths and qualities if life had been easier for me. Because of my revolutionary family, I will forever seek justice for immigrants and marginalized communities. Because of my grandmother and my mother’s fashion background I will always love fashion and creating.

I am who I am because of all of these challenging and beautiful things.

What brought you to the world of fashion? You also used to have your own clothing line, can you tell us a bit about that and what led you to your styling career?

Fashion has been in my life since I was a baby, through my family's factories. My mother taught me how to sew and from one pattern I learned how to make a new closet for myself. I started my line as a fun side project, I made my own clothes because the clothes I wanted didn’t exist or were too expensive.

Going out in Los Angeles, I met the most amazing people who had stores, who were stylists, who became customers, so I started making clothes to sell to that young LA community. I never did it the right way, I did it because it was fun and loved creating and the fact that people bought my clothing was the best feeling ever. Since I always had a foot in fashion, some of my photographer friends would ask me to shoot with them and I'd style everything. Without even realizing what the hell I was doing, I had started testing. The next thing I know, I fell in love with it and realized I was really good at it so I started assisting to learn the real ins and outs. The rest is Keyla Marquez history, baby!

How has growing up in Los Angeles shaped your personal style?

LA is my home, I understand this city from the highest to the lowest. Growing up in Panorama City, shopping at the swap meets and the malls in the valley is a memory that I will forever cherish. Going to Hot Topic and wanting to buy everything but having to get crafty at home because it was too expensive is a skill I am so happy I got to learn.

As a kid I went through so many phases that I learned about so many different types of fashion. Now when I have to dress those "worlds", I understand it from the core. I grew up skating and snowboarding but also going to ditch parties. Some of the flyers and photos of that era are now in museums thanks to Veteranas and Rucas.

So much of my personal style comes from living in all of these parts of LA, from growing up obsessed with dELIA’S and CCS catalogs, to shopping at Yana K on Melrose because Paris Hilton did, and we all had to have those dresses.

LA is my heart, LA is my everything, I AM LA and I am forever proud of that. It's my identity.


What are some self care practices that got you through the past year?

The best and most amazing thing in my life right now is meditation and my kundalini yoga practice, I started last November and it has changed my life. I have never felt this powerful or so in tune with the universe. The cosmos is a world I am discovering more and more every day, and the energy I am able to harness to slowly becoming supernatural is beyond magical.

I have a hypnotherapist I talk to who is helping me heal my inner child and reprogram my subconscious and I have never had the breakthroughs that I've had since I started that.

I also got a Peleton in 2020 and try to stay active and use it daily.  My skin has never looked as good as it does right now and I think its a combination of all these practices and the amazing care of my esthetician @MobettaBeautyLA and acupuncturist @Acu_by_daphne.

I love taking care of myself. There are so many things out there that exist to help us go from survival mode to living mode, and the more I learn about these methods, the more I want to share with the world.

What does being in your FLOW STATE mean to you?

Flow State to me means knowing your truth, trusting yourself and the universe to give you what you need and desire. Being one with the universe, allowing that energy to flow inside and outside of you, releasing and taking, finding that balance so you don’t spiral. Being ok with not being ok. 

All images by Jen Wolf