The Up-and-Coming Designer Who’s a Social Media OG

Maria Beltre (aka @looseunicorns) gets her style notes from Brooklyn and ’00s Cartoon Network. In collaboration with adidas Originals.

You may not be familiar with Maria Beltre by name, per se, but as followers of her Instagram handle, @looseunicorns (more on that later) can attest, you likely are familiar with her singular aesthetic and visual signatures.

Beltre got her start building an audience on Tumblr before making the transition over to a wider one over on Instagram (all while still in high school, BTW), and we’ve been rapt with attention and screen-shotting her looks ever since. She pulls off everything from sweatsuits (adidas, natch) to vintage tees and sheer feathered negligees, or mixing and clashing textures and prints with aplomb—often with hair and makeup mix-ups to match; whether that’s curls, braids, or a handful of shade change-ups from baby pink to bleach blonde.

Dominican Republic–born and Brooklyn-bred, Beltre borrows equally from both the references she grew up on (keep an eye out for a Kim Possible motif in her next collection), and the city she calls home in her namesake-ish line, Could Be Maria, too. After spending the last year putting things into place, Beltre’s been moving full steam ahead with the line’s drops, the latest of which borrows from men’s workwear, only with a more feminine silhouette. And while Maria’s still slightly awestruck every time someone tags her, inspired by her style or wearing her pieces, we suggest she get used to it: Her influence isn’t going anywhere.

Stylewise, you can find her combining vintage with one-off “where’d you get that?” items from her travels around the world alongside the streetwear favorites. As she explains, “I can go into any store and make something out of nothing. I love going to new cities and going thrifting, finding cool pieces. When I went to Japan, I found something in literally every single store, which was really bad, but also really good.” She marries these sportier separates with look-at-me designer accessories for a look that’s completely her own—it’s almost like the icing on the cake.

How she describes her personal style:

“My personal style is very tomboy, but then I make it a little bit more feminine. I would say over the last few years it’s matured a little bit more. I used to dress like a little boy before [laughs].

“It’s always a sneaker day for me. I grew up collecting sneakers. Growing up, I played basketball and softball, so I was always in sneakers. That was my go-to, I would never wear heels, never wear boots. It was always sneakers.”

How she gets dressed every day:

“I shop for things [so that] I can grab something from my closet and it’s a piece that I can wear every day, I can dress it up or down, and with sneakers; especially now, you can wear them anywhere. It’s not like, ‘Oh, you have to wear heels today.’ I feel like we get to dress however we want now, and not have to dress up all the time.”

Her first adidas memories:

“I have a few pairs of adidas that I absolutely love. I remember [when I was] growing up, I was always wearing the Superstars—the white-and-black pair—they kind of went with everything. I remember getting the Yeezy 950 boots, those are my favorite boots. I think they’re really cool ‘cause they also have a platform.”

Her first designer score:

“My favorite designer piece that was one of my first would have to be this Dior bag. I travel with it all the time. I’m really grateful that I can just go into the store and say, ‘Yeah, let me just get this; let me treat myself.’ And I treat myself every so often!”

The sneakers she has in heavy rotation at the moment:

“I have a few favorite pairs of adidas right now. I have the Ozweego, the orange pair, and they’re really cool. Then I also have the Raf collab, which is pink and silver. My favorites are the superloud pieces.”

On that Instagram handle (@looseunicorns):

“At the time, I was in high school and would always draw unicorns in my notebook. I was like, How can I make this so that it’s not just ‘Maria Beltre’ with a number or underscore? It was just catchy. I’ve kept it all this time, which is crazy.”

What her day-to-day looks like:

“Every day is different. I wake up and check my phone, which is probably not something I should be doing, but I’ll catch up on emails and talk to my agent. Then I make coffee. Some days I have to go out and shoot something, work on my clothing brand, talk to my graphic designer, buy fabrics, get samples made.”

How she describes her eponymous line, Could Be Maria:

“I’m really inspired by New York, Brooklyn, especially in the ’90s and early ’00s, all the inspiration that I got just growing up. I want it to be a reflection of my style, which is inspired by these older things and my city.”

What’s up next from her & her line:

“I worked on the rollout for my launch all year, getting the technical stuff together. It took a really long time. Now I’m full-on working on a few launches. Everything’s inspired by the ’90s. I have these cartoons that I dressed, that were all the coolest girls on these shows [growing up]: Kim Possible, Codename: Kids Next Door, the cartoons my generation grew up on. They’re sitting on stoops in Brooklyn just hanging out like in the summertime.

“I’m working on our spring and summer collection, which will be shot in the Dominican Republic, where I was born, so I think that’s going to be really cool. It’s a big project, and that’s my main focus right now.”

Her advice to anyone aspiring to work in fashion:

“Why not take advantage of all of these opportunities? Our parents didn’t have the access that we have. We kind of have to just go for it. We have all of this access right here. If it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t work out. And if it does, then great, you tried it, and now there’s not a ‘what if’ moment. I think that’s really important, and to not give up after one or two tries, because it’s not going to be perfect right away.”


Wake up to Louboutins with our newsletter.
Sign up Already! 

It's the internet equivalent of a friendship bracelet.

You did it! Thanks for joining our newsletter list.

Looks like you have already subscribed.

Error, please enter a valid email address