A Boricua’s Guide To Shopping Local Puerto Rican Brands

·5 min read

Hi, everyone! I’m Mercedes, the newest writer to join R29's Shopping team and your new go-to deal expert. While I love finding the latest & greatest prices on all your favorite products, I’m also incredibly passionate about my home: Puerto Rico. It’s no secret that the island's had a rough few years (or decades, really) between escalating crisis issues after 2017's Hurricane Maria and undergoing traumatic colonization, both by the government’s own poor choices and the irresponsibility of tourists during a pandemic. One way we can continuously help Puerto Rico's economy is by making an effort to support its local businesses — the ones that are often impacted the most.

When I lived in Puerto Rico, I strongly believed in shopping small; whether I was buying food from neighborhood grocers and restaurants or fashion from emerging female entrepreneurs. (I even started an online magazine about it!) Three and a half years plus a move to New York City later, I still believe that this is an easy way to positively impact the island directly. And so, to help get you better acquainted with its wealth of beautiful makers, I've lined up a few of my most loved Puerto Rican brands. Ahead, find everything from size- and gender-inclusive fashion to recycled jewelry, sustainable lifestyle wares, world-famous vegan lipsticks, and more.

At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. If you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.

<h2>Tropivtg </h2><br>It can be extremely difficult to find cute pieces (or any pieces at all!) in thrift stores when you’re any size above an 8. This brand carefully curates vintage clothes in plus and mid sizes only. The project was started in 2018 <a href="https://tropivtg.com/about-1" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:“as an act of resilience, resistance, and self-love." class="link rapid-noclick-resp">“as an act of resilience, resistance, and self-love.</a>” It’s something that’s definitely needed, especially in Puerto Rico where plus-sizes are still impossible to find in local boutiques and brands. Their pieces are always so fun, colorful, and unique. As a fellow mid-size gal, I finally feel like I found the brand for me! <br><br><em>Shop <strong><a href="https://tropivtg.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Tropivtg" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Tropivtg</a></strong></em><br><br><strong>Tropivtg</strong> Vintage 80s Tribal Plus Size Crop Trop, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Ftropivtg.com%2Fshop%2Fp%2Fvintage-80s-tribal-plus-size-crop-trop" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Tropivtg" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Tropivtg</a>

Tropivtg


It can be extremely difficult to find cute pieces (or any pieces at all!) in thrift stores when you’re any size above an 8. This brand carefully curates vintage clothes in plus and mid sizes only. The project was started in 2018 “as an act of resilience, resistance, and self-love.” It’s something that’s definitely needed, especially in Puerto Rico where plus-sizes are still impossible to find in local boutiques and brands. Their pieces are always so fun, colorful, and unique. As a fellow mid-size gal, I finally feel like I found the brand for me!

Shop Tropivtg

Tropivtg Vintage 80s Tribal Plus Size Crop Trop, $, available at Tropivtg
<h2>Simpla</h2><br>This clean brand’s motto is “Less plastic, More awareness.” And founder Cristina González Rodriguez truly believes in its meaning; she was inspired to create Simpla to educate the public on the importance of a zero-waste lifestyle, and making it as affordable as possible. They sell everything from bamboo hairbrushes and toothbrushes to bamboo travel utensils at an affordable price. <br><br><em>Shop <strong><a href="https://www.simplapr.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Simpla" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Simpla</a></strong></em><br><br><strong>Simpla</strong> Cubiertos Reusables de bambú, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.simplapr.com%2Fproducts%2Fcubiertos-reusables-bambu" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Simpla" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Simpla</a>

Simpla


This clean brand’s motto is “Less plastic, More awareness.” And founder Cristina González Rodriguez truly believes in its meaning; she was inspired to create Simpla to educate the public on the importance of a zero-waste lifestyle, and making it as affordable as possible. They sell everything from bamboo hairbrushes and toothbrushes to bamboo travel utensils at an affordable price.

Shop Simpla

Simpla Cubiertos Reusables de bambú, $, available at Simpla
<h2>MUNS </h2><br>This sustainable brand specializes in jewelry but also has a select clothing line, as well as collaborations with local designers. The founders, sisters Bianca and Paula Muns, wanted to build a brand that was “<a href="https://www.munsthebrand.com/pages/about-us" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:rich in design and quality." class="link rapid-noclick-resp">rich in design and quality.</a>” I absolutely adore Muns’ minimalist aesthetic, and their slow-fashion mentality makes sure that their pieces are timeless. Their jewelry is made with recycled metals, too! <br><br><em>Shop <strong><a href="https://www.munsthebrand.com" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Muns" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Muns</a></strong></em><br><br><strong>MUNS</strong> Curve Cariño Necklace, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.munsthebrand.com%2Fproducts%2Fcurve-carino-necklace-1" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Muns" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Muns</a>

MUNS


This sustainable brand specializes in jewelry but also has a select clothing line, as well as collaborations with local designers. The founders, sisters Bianca and Paula Muns, wanted to build a brand that was “rich in design and quality.” I absolutely adore Muns’ minimalist aesthetic, and their slow-fashion mentality makes sure that their pieces are timeless. Their jewelry is made with recycled metals, too!

Shop Muns

MUNS Curve Cariño Necklace, $, available at Muns
<h2>Necromancy Cosmetica </h2><br>Necromancy’s witchy store is located in the heart of Rio Piedras, but their colorful, matte lipsticks are famous all over the world. Their makeup is completely vegan and cruelty-free. Now that more and more people are getting their vaccines, we won’t have to wear our masks as much as before. So, stocking up on some brand new lipsticks is a definite must this summer. Necromancy’s pigmented ones should be on everyone’s wishlist. <br><br><em>Shop </em><strong><em><a href="https://necromancycosmetica.com" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Necromancy Cosmetica" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Necromancy Cosmetica</a></em></strong><br><br><strong>Necromancy Cosmetica</strong> Mourning Rose, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fnecromancycosmetica.com%2Fcollections%2Flipsticks%2Fproducts%2Fmourning-rose%2520" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Necromancy Cosmetica" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Necromancy Cosmetica</a>

Necromancy Cosmetica


Necromancy’s witchy store is located in the heart of Rio Piedras, but their colorful, matte lipsticks are famous all over the world. Their makeup is completely vegan and cruelty-free. Now that more and more people are getting their vaccines, we won’t have to wear our masks as much as before. So, stocking up on some brand new lipsticks is a definite must this summer. Necromancy’s pigmented ones should be on everyone’s wishlist.

Shop Necromancy Cosmetica

Necromancy Cosmetica Mourning Rose, $, available at Necromancy Cosmetica
<h2>Sabor A Libertad</h2><br>This queer, non-binary-owned brand is the representation we all wanted in Puerto Rico! Tam, the shop’s founder, was inspired to start their online business in the midst of the pandemic last year. Ever since the brand is constantly updating with new releases from size-inclusive swimwear to pins and stickers. I love that by buying some cute pride designs here, I’m not just supporting a local small business in PR but also a queer business. And I love that every queer identity is represented from poly and pansexual to nonbinary and lesbians! <br><br><em>Shop </em><a href="https://www.etsy.com/shop/unsaboralibertad" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Sabor A Libertad" class="link rapid-noclick-resp"><strong><em>Sabor A Libertad</em></strong></a><br><br><strong>unsaboralibertad</strong> LGBT Pride Pins / Cup of Queer Pride / Discreet LGBT Flag Buttons, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.etsy.com%2Flisting%2F974761133%2Flgbt-pride-pins-cup-of-queer-pride%3Fref%3Dshop_home_active_9%26crt%3D1" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Etsy" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Etsy</a>

Sabor A Libertad


This queer, non-binary-owned brand is the representation we all wanted in Puerto Rico! Tam, the shop’s founder, was inspired to start their online business in the midst of the pandemic last year. Ever since the brand is constantly updating with new releases from size-inclusive swimwear to pins and stickers. I love that by buying some cute pride designs here, I’m not just supporting a local small business in PR but also a queer business. And I love that every queer identity is represented from poly and pansexual to nonbinary and lesbians!

Shop Sabor A Libertad

unsaboralibertad LGBT Pride Pins / Cup of Queer Pride / Discreet LGBT Flag Buttons, $, available at Etsy
<h2>Sencilla</h2><br>This Black-owned brand specializes in reinventing thrifted or vintage clothes and accessories with hand-painted designs. Alejandra Rodríguez, Sencilla’s founder, is passionate about sustainable fashion, art, and upcycling. This project combines all of that. I’m obsessed with the line art she creates in each one of her pieces, and I love how unique they are. <br><br><em>Shop </em><strong><em><a href="https://sencillapr.com" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Sencilla" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Sencilla</a></em></strong><br><br><strong>Sencilla</strong> Brown tote Bag, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fsencillapr.com%2Fproducts%2Fbrown-tote-bag" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Sencilla" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Sencilla</a>

Sencilla


This Black-owned brand specializes in reinventing thrifted or vintage clothes and accessories with hand-painted designs. Alejandra Rodríguez, Sencilla’s founder, is passionate about sustainable fashion, art, and upcycling. This project combines all of that. I’m obsessed with the line art she creates in each one of her pieces, and I love how unique they are.

Shop Sencilla

Sencilla Brown tote Bag, $, available at Sencilla
<h2>Como el Oro</h2><br>Guanina Cotto (a.k.a <a href="https://www.instagram.com/comoeloro/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:comoeloro" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">comoeloro</a>) is one of my all-time favorite Puerto Rican artists. Her art always brings me right back to my early college years in Puerto Rico. I always feel like I can smell the sea, and feel the sun. I’m always super excited whenever there’s a new design, or there’s an old product coming back in stock. They evoke a nice feeling of nostalgia in me that’s hard to describe. Keep your eyes peeled for her designs! Trust me, you won’t want to miss them. <br><br><em>Shop </em><strong><em><a href="https://www.comoeloro.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Como el Oro" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Como el Oro</a></em></strong><br><br><strong>Como el Oro</strong> Machete al Macharran Towel, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.comoeloro.com%2Fproduct%2Fmachete-al-macharran-toalla%2520" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Como el Oro" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Como el Oro</a>

Como el Oro


Guanina Cotto (a.k.a comoeloro) is one of my all-time favorite Puerto Rican artists. Her art always brings me right back to my early college years in Puerto Rico. I always feel like I can smell the sea, and feel the sun. I’m always super excited whenever there’s a new design, or there’s an old product coming back in stock. They evoke a nice feeling of nostalgia in me that’s hard to describe. Keep your eyes peeled for her designs! Trust me, you won’t want to miss them.

Shop Como el Oro

Como el Oro Machete al Macharran Towel, $, available at Como el Oro

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