Big Brain Awards

Leonor Aispuro: 2015 Big Brain Awards Finalist, Design

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See also: Angel Castro: 2015 Big Brain Awards Finalist, Performing Art

The youngest of six kids, Aispuro and her family moved to Phoenix from Mexicali, Mexico, when she was 8 years old. Sewing is something all the women in her family do, and she learned the craft working with a vintage Singer machine, complete with a foot pedal, as a kid.

Much of her extended family is still in Mexico, and sometimes feelings of guilt mixed with motivation bubble up. "I can't let them down," she says of her cousins who look up to her. "It's a lot of pressure."

The 29-year-old frequently starts sentences by announcing that she has an idea. She wants to present her next collection as a sort of art exhibition. To do that properly, she'd like to learn to weld, because she wants to create metal ribcages to display a selection of gowns alongside photos documenting the process of their construction. Telling each garment's story is important to her.

Aispuro worked in retail for Betsey Johnson, which led her to New York, where she worked in fashion showrooms, made industry connections, and styled for a New York Fashion Week show. She studied sustainable design at the Fashion Institute of Technology.

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Becky Bartkowski is an award-winning journalist and the arts and music editor at New Times, where she writes about art, fashion, and pop culture.
Contact: Becky Bartkowski