La Jolla sisters launch pop-culture T-shirt line

By Ashley Mackin

The Velasquez sisters — Alexis and Iberia — have a passion for fashion. So much so that 14-year-old The Bishop’s School student Iberia and 23-year-old La Jolla Country Day School grad Alexis have already launched an online T-shirt company, Emortal.

The tees — there are four now, and they plan to expand their offerings — are inspired by pop culture. Iberia said in her free time she peruses Instagram and the blog site Tumblr for fashion ideas and trend spotting, along with flipping through magazines.

Alexis’ favorite shirt reads: “Célfie” referencing the trend of taking a “selfie” — a photo of yourself. After posting a picture of a model in the shirt on Instagram, Alexis said the band The ChainSmokers (whose song “Selfie” topped the Billboard dance chart in late March), liked the photo.

For Iberia, her favorite shirt reads: “Love Lockdown,” a reference to a Kanye West song. When it comes to designing the

shirts, Alexis said Iberia is more involved, and she, with execution. “Iberia has a lot of girls look up to her and ask her for fashion advice ... and I took classes at LJCDS in graphic design, so Iberia would tell me her ideas and I would use Photoshop to digitally sketch them.”

The twosome started marketing their work in March using social media and decided to give 10 percent of proceeds to charity. In the short time they’ve been working to launch the brand Emortal, the sisters say they have learned a lot about business — including how to handle conflicting ideas.

“We have a nine-year gap between us ... so we do sometimes clash and debate whether to put something on the shirts ... but in the end, we think about what would be best for the brand,” Alexis said.

Iberia added that the challenge lies in looking ahead to what the next fashion trend might be. In addition to adding shirt designs when inspiration — or the latest big thing — strikes, Iberia said they’d like to develop a men’s line and clothes for children. But, she won’t let that get in the way of her commitments at school, including being president of Bishop’s Middle School and playing tennis.

Alexis, having recently graduated from the University of Redlands, plans to follow in her father’s footsteps and become a lawyer.

■ Emortal T-shirts are $26 each at