WEPA NYC was created by Andrea Zalkin & Rosey Vaughan in Brooklyn, New York. Their love for fashion, art, music, and their respective hispanic backgrounds inspired them to create the WEPA NYC brand.WEPA NYC is a street culture brand with Latina flavor. Andrea & Rosey both have experience working for brands in the fashion industry, and decided it was time to create their own. WEPA is a term of celebration that the two founders would use as a way of greeting one another. It became such a staple of conversation that it caught on with their friends and family. It is also commonly used in Latin American culture as an exclamation of either joy, surprise, or excitement. Their goal is to share this part of our culture through women’s clothing and give the Hispanic community a voice in the world of street fashion.
Behind the brand:
Rosey Vaughan was born in Lima, Peru and raised in California before coming to NYC to work in fashion. Her primary job has been working as the Assistant to fashion icon, Patricia Field. In this current position, she learned everything she knows about fashion, business and life overall. Rosey proudly admits to being a constant medium at networking events. During her free time she likes to throw parties and work on WEPA graphics. She currently resides in Ridgewood, Queens.
We got a chance to catch up with Rosey and Andrea and we asked them a few questions. Here’s what they had to say…
Rosey – Do you feel/see a connection in urban wear between Cali and NY? If so, do you connect on both ends and feel as if your designs are influenced by it?
I do feel a connection to both the east coast and west coast. I’m more influenced by my individual experiences as a mixed Latina, which is exactly why I started working with Andrea. I’m from Cali and she’s from New York, but once we got to know each other the foundation was the same: dad was white, mom was Latina, loved street wear and sports fashion, spoke Spanglish as a first language, and wanted to connect with others through humor. That being said, NYC definitely influences our designs in a more direct way since we are here and constantly out in the field and taking feedback from our local fashion community. Even though we are taking the temperature in NY, I feel confident that our brand and message will resonate with a Latina market that stretches far across the country and in our opinion is under-represented.
How long have you guys been working on The “Wepa” brand as a unit?
“Wepa” was originally a term that Andrea was crazy about; in the end, everyone around her was infected with the term, saying it to each other, about daily life, and in social media communication. Rosey and Andrea connected on this term, and over a year ago decided they wanted to turn it into a simple street wear outlet. It really happened seamlessly, and the fact that we are comfortable working closely together translates well for our brand.
Andrea – What part of Upstate New york and where are you residing these days?
I’m originally from the Catskills and moved down to the city after high school. It’s beautiful up there, but definitely not an environment where I could conduct a business like this. I happen to live directly across the street from Rosey! It feels like the WEPA team has taken over the block. It’s very convenient and helps us stay connected with all things personal/work related.
Tell us more about the decision to leave FIT to jump right into the scene? In retrospect, do you feel it was the wisest choice career wise?
Best decision I ever made. I wasn’t ready for school, I wasn’t ready to make a career choice. It was bizarre and scary to me that we had to learn an entire trade without testing the waters and knowing what I wanted to do or was actually going to enjoy. I felt pressured and I stopped. I am an artist, writer, photographer, I like working in production… and I have the experience to back all of those things up now. It just so happened that the ball started rolling with WEPA, and now that I have that as my end zone, I can school myself appropriately and become a stronger asset to the team. I’m motivated to go back to school the right way and know that what I’ll study is what I actually need.
How many people are you guys currently working with on your design team?
Just the two of us. Andrea will do original hand sketches of designs and ideas, and Rosey/Andrea will tweak it digitally until it’s ready for print. Our brand is taking it’s first steps, and the two of us have been hands-on in every aspect of it’s growth.