What can you do to perpetuate world peace? For Miami-based designer Alina Villasante, it can be as easy as wearing a positive affirmation on your T-shirt. As the Creator of the internationally known brand, Peace Love World, Villasante says, “Our mission is to spread peace, love and happiness wherever and whenever we can. I wear my heart on my sleeve and I created a brand that is about wear it, feel it, be it.”
What started as a locally loved brand with humble beginnings, escalated into a bona fide A-list fixation. On any given day, you’ll spot Jennifer Lopez, Halle Berry, Selena Gomez, Sofia Vergara, Britney Spears, or the Kardashian clan covered head-to-toe in Peace Love World’s signature tees, pants and hoodies swathed in sweet messages such as, “I am Love,” or “I am Peace.” Even musician Pharrell Williams covets the collection as indicative in his “Happiness is The Truth” collaboration with the label replete with that illustrious Vivienne Westwood hat.
But the fanfare and fortune did not come overnight. Villasante was born in Havana, Cuba and immigrated to Queens, New York when she was only 8 months old. “My parents were very hard workers. I have four brothers and we all feel very blessed that although we didn’t have everything, at the end, we really had everything. We had a united family, food on the table, education and love above all,” Villasante says. Life in New York was followed by six years in Atlanta, Georgia were she finally planted roots in Miami at age 18. She later attended MDC and FIU where she studied finance and worked for an aviation business, High Standard Aviation, even though she was a fashionista at heart. With a whimsical view of the world.
In 1999, Villasante threw her first “love party.” “I wanted to do something to celebrate all the special women in my life, like my best friends and family members. In today’s world, we’re running around raising our children, having careers, and that night was just about us bonding and sharing our love. I gave all the party attendees T-shirts with symbols for peace, love and happiness. Both the parties and the fashion gifts became an annual event,” she says of the event that would soon spiral into something far bigger and lucrative than a leisurely girl’s night out.
In fact, it was Villasante’s friends’ obsession with her designs she was making as gifts which served as the impetus behind the Peace Love World brand. In 2009, Villasante opened her first Peace Love World boutique in South Miami. Locals scooped up her tees not only because they resonated peace and love, but also because her choice of fabrics and designs are decidedly yummy to the touch and above all, comfortable.
Fast forward to today, and it’s clear Villasante is reaping the benefits of her feel-good philosophy on life. The label boats a strong online presence, operates 7 stores in South Florida, three stores in Hong Kong, and is sold in over 2,000 boutiques across the country. The brand is also carried in Bloomingdale’s, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus and Kitson, with global distribution in over 18 countries. The company also launched new collaboration with mega brands like Coca-Cola, The Dallas Cowboys and The Miami Heat. From a philanthropic standpoint, Villasante champions for causes such as breast cancer awareness, autism, multiple sclerosis, Haiti relief and more.
So if there’s one lesson to be learned from Villasante’s success it’s this sage nugget: The more goodness you give, the more goodness you have. And that’s good karma for you.