Cool Friends: José Criales-Unzueta 



February 25, 2022

Meet José, a fashion writer and designer from Bolivia, based in Brooklyn. We’ve known José for years, and he is just one of those people that is supremely talented and supremely kind. José designs accessories for an NYC-based brand, and has designed with brands like Christopher John Rogers, Kate Spade, Banana Republic, and Coach. As a writer, José’s work has been featured in i-D, Paper Magazine & Business of Fashion. Oh yeah, José is also the host of a phenomenal podcast. We caught up with José to hear how he got his hands into all things style.

How did you start your career as a fashion designer and writer?

I went to school for design and started my career interning both in accessories and ready-to-wear design. I then moved to NYC after graduation for a job designing handbags for a brand here and have been there ever since. My writing career is a bit less linear in terms of path, I had always loved the cultural and discourse side of fashion so I started to just rant on Instagram stories with friends and acquaintances. That eventually started growing and my Instagram became a platform by itself, which in turn led me to connect with editors and writers at publications who became interested in my work and asked me to write for them. Since then I've focused my writing on the intersections of fashion and culture, with a special interest in queerness and internet culture. I've written for i-D, them., Business of Fashion, and Paper Magazine.  

What's your favorite part about the New York creative community?

It's family and it's so supportive. Something that I love about it is that we're all focused on something, but we also want each other to win. There's a sense of camaraderie and family that I haven't found elsewhere. My community is a big part of why I have been able to try different things and expand my areas of expertise and the fields my career extends to. More specifically, the queer community I've found in NYC, there's simply nothing like it.  


What's inspiring you right now?

People really inspire me. I love to see people back out but now with a more defined sense of self that is evidenced by their fashion choices. The pandemic forced a lot of introspection and growth and I think many of us found out more about ourselves and became more comfortable with ourselves too –this all comes alive in the way we present ourselves and it's really fascinating and inspiring to see those choices and try to unpack them.

Follow along:
@eljosecriales on Instagram
Podcast on Spotify
Podcast on Apple Music


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