A Latina- and lesbian-owned brand has made a historic Target debut, just in time for Latine Heritage Month. JZD, an apparel and lifestyle brand famous for its "Latina power" sweatshirts and embroidered Spanish phrases, launched an exclusive collection just for Target, both online and in stores. The collection, which includes everything from iconic gold hoops to cozy sweatshirts, includes messages to unite and celebrate Latine culture and community. "We couldn't have been more excited to have Jen and Vero Zeano of JZD represent our brand and in such an incredible way!" Jasmine Vazquez, vice president of brand marketing at Target, told Refinery29. "We're not doing this for a community. We're doing it with the community." JZD is a small Mexican-American business — consisting of power couple Jen and Vero, and family — that has officially made it big.
Everyone who follows JZD on social media and is part of its incredible community (like I am!) knows that Jen's parents are a big part of the work that goes on behind the scenes. "I tell them that we've been talking to Target, and I tell [my mother] the whole thing. And my mom is the most; she's not a chill person. She's your typical Mexican mom," Jen said to Refinery29. What was her mom's response? "She's sitting there, calm, and says 'Yo te dije.'" ("I told you.") Jen, just like her wife, is a child of Mexican immigrants who moved to the United States with nothing. "It's like everything that they sacrificed was worth it because they see me now and they're just incredibly proud," she said. That's why a lot of their collection emphasizes our ancestors being proud and our Latine hearts.
This isn't just a win for Latines; it's also a win for queers and lesbians Latine. "When I started the brand, I obviously was gay and Latina, but I don't think I purposely put it to be a part of the brand. It just happened because it's who I am," Jen said. Seeing a brand that represents every single part of you is incredibly special. Especially for the historically machista and homophobic culture that is Latinidad, this is a step in the right direction. "I was always told 'You're not gonna be able to do anything with your life, and if you do that, you're gonna lose it all, including your family.' Unfortunately, that was the case for me." Vero told Refinery29.
It might sound silly, but seeing a brand like this in your local store makes a huge difference. "I do feel that if young Vero would have been able to go to a Target, and mom and dad had seen a lesbian entrepreneur, I think mom and dad would have been like 'Oh, wow, it's possible. So, I shouldn't tell my kid that you're life is ruined; you're gonna be able to be successful.' I think that that would have made a huge difference in my life," Vero said, tears in her eyes.
As I listened to Vero and Jen tell their stories, I couldn't help but relate and cry alongside them. My parents also told me when I came out that I shouldn't tell people that I was gay because I wouldn't be able to find a job, and my life would be ruined. While I'm not a child of immigrants, there are certain struggles that every Latine understands and some that only children of immigrants will. That's the beauty of it — we're so different but oh so similar. That's what JZD fans see, and that's what future Target shoppers will feel, too.
"They [their customers] just really identify with everything that we've gone through," Jen said. "They feel like it's a win for them." And it is. It's a win for JZD, and it's a win for Latine lesbians and children of immigrants, too. Whether they're repping poderosa and chula earrings or a comforting "no pasa nada" cap.
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