As a first-generation college graduate, Mariana Corella knew that she had a unique opportunity to do whatever she wanted with her career. Deciding to pull upon her roots and stick with a lifestyle she knew and loved, Corella pursued an undergraduate degree in business from the University of Southern California. Born and raised in Costa Rica, her family owned a clothing company that she learned a lot from – growing up around different silhouettes, fabrics, categories and designs, Corella picked up on the necessary building blocks it took to create a fashionable collection of apparel. Her first internships took place in the fashion industry, gaining experience working for apparel companies such as Vissla and Rip Curl. Now, Corella is giving back to the fashion industry with her work as Director of Product Design at ‘Hype and Vice’, a collegiate apparel company that sells licensed university clothing to bookstores, boutiques and retailers.
Corella joined the team in 2020, and became their first full-time employee. Since then, the company has grown to a team of 50+, where Corella manages her own team of 10 individuals, including designers, production managers, photographers, and developers. Under Corella’s guiding leadership, the team creates catalogs and develops new styles, plans production with international teams, approves styles, checks quality and fit of products, and coordinates product launches. Upcoming this summer, Hype and Vice are releasing their back-to-school product launches and pop-up shops, which will feature the designs that Corella and her team has worked hard to develop.
Corella’s instrumental role in the company’s growth can be attributed to her strong background in innovative fashion design, and her forward-thinking as a business woman. With her help, Hype and Vice has been able to scale its operations and expand their reach, with the company now licensed by over 200 colleges, including prestigious institutions such as Harvard and Yale. In such a male-dominated industry, Corella has worked hard for the Hype and Vice team in order to help break past traditional options for collegiate apparel. Her success in doing so has not gone unnoticed.
“Success takes all different shapes and sizes – it feels personal to you and what you care about,” says Corella when asked how she would characterize her own success. “Success is a process, it is not a one-and-done event. It is constantly evolving and is a constant process of growing and learning.” She is excited to continue sharing her skills with the world, and defying typical molds that restrict the fashion industry, and in the case of her current occupation, the collegiate apparel industry.
Under Corella’s leadership, Hype and Vice will bring their product launches to audiences across the country as soon as this summer—by featuring new categories such as rompers, dresses, sets, and new silhouettes and styles for pants and jackets. Corella shares that she has big ideas for expansion on the horizon, and she has set the stage for the company’s continued growth. Her roots in the fashion industry are a testament to her invaluable skills as a businesswoman and innovative designer, especially as she dares to stand out in a world full of traditionally unisex sweats and oversized t-shirts. “It’s not uncommon to feel motivated by the problems you notice around you, or the ways in which an industry is lacking,” shares Corella. “I answered a call with collegiate apparel, it makes up such a huge part of university culture, after all. If I can provide fashionable designs that inspire and spark joy, then I’m so grateful my experience allows me to do so.”