HISPANIC HERITAGE MONTH: Coming-of-age celebration that requires an extravagant dress for the star of the event

Hispanic Heritage Month

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The Quinceañera celebration is one of the most iconic traditions in the Mexican culture and is celebrated throughout Latin America.

The event marks the moment a girl turns into a woman at the age of 15.

And, of course, the elaborate festivity often involves an extravagant dress. Erika Gonzalez takes us to a little corner shop in Denver where making those dresses is a family affair.

For close to four decades, the Zamora and Lara family have turned Quinceañera dreams into a carefully stitched masterpiece.

“We are the only ones here in Denver that actually make the dresses by hand and by scratch,” Brian Lara said.

Brian Lara is a third-generation seamster. At 17, he works part-time at his family’s Quinceañera dress shop.

“It’s like one of the first things everyone sees, that’s why we have to make it perfect for her, so she can feel like she’s the only one there,” Brian Lara added.

It starts with a quinceanera’s vision and then the family turns that idea into a grand design. Then ultimately, into a beautiful sight to behold.

“It’s a lot of imagination you have to have materials, colors, embroidery, so this is an art,” Carlos Lara, Brian’s father said.

Carlos coincidentally created his first Quinceañera dress at 15.

“Every design has one million, two hundred thousand stitches. That’s about what it takes to do the embroidery for a dress,” Carlos Lara added.

He learned from his teacher and mother, Isadora Zamora. She started the family business in Juarez, Mexico.

Ten years ago, they brought their love and passion for dressmaking to the states and landed in Denver.

Today, Isadora is one of several family members who spend their days working the constant beat of a sewing machine.

From royal-inspired-dresses covered in crystals to a traditional Mexican horseman theme
Carlos wants to create something special for every client who walks into their store.

It’s why his family insists on doing all the work under one roof.

“It’s very rare that a girl comes in and likes one dress entirely. He says every girl likes a piece of several dresses, “so we like to make it to her taste, make it to her liking,” Carlos Lara added.

The once-in-a-lifetime Quinceañera celebration is a centuries-old Hispanic tradition Carlos and his family wants to help keep alive in Denver and beyond

I would like for everyone in the U.S. To feel the joy we feel in the Quinceañera tradition. I want to expand that joy.

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