SLUG Style: Abigail Peña
Abigail Peña is an illustrator, dancer and local fashion icon. With fashion influences ranging from cartoons to Kahlo, Peña’s closet is colorful and never dull. Follow Peña on Instagram @abi.kawi.
Every month, SLUG Style features a distinct member of the community and asks them why they do what they do. Exploring more than just clothing, SLUG Style is an attempt to feature the people who give Salt Lake City flavor through personality and panache.
What are your stylistic influences? This could be a band, decade, fictional character—anything.
I’m heavily influenced by other artists. Growing up my mom was a big Frida Kahlo fan, so I draw a lot of inspiration from her paintings. Another style influence for me are cartoons. I grew up on Nickelodeon & Cartoon Network, and to be honest I still watch most of the cartoons they produce. I also get a ton of inspiration from whatever I’m listening to, but a good source of constant inspiration for me is Lizzo.
Tell us about your illustration work. What sorts of things do you like to incorporate into your work?
There’s a couple of easter eggs that I try to incorporate to any work I do; I like to add the names of women in Mexico who have been victims of femicide as a way to remember them and let everyone know we have not forgotten them. I also like including in my work the women who surround me, my mom, my sister and friends. And occasionally a nod to whichever anime I’m watching, haha.
What are your interests or hobbies? What is the hobby or interest that you have that no one would realize to ask you about?
One of my hobbies is ballet. It was a huge part of my life until I was around 19. A lot of people who see me now or knew me after that don’t know it, but I really love it and even considered it as a career for a couple of years. I’m currently back at ballet classes, and I truly love it.
What does your work reflect about you?
What I believe in and whatever I’m going through at the moment. I think as a feminist we are in a constant battle and struggle for our rights. Sometimes I’m very vocal about it; sometimes I get tired; sometimes I just wanna exist and don’t have to talk about it. I think my work reflects whatever state I’m in.
Are you always “on” or would someone see you at the grocery store, for example, with less elements of your style?
I think I would like to be always “on,” but a more honest answer would be that I’m not. I’m someone who gets very affected by my emotions, so sometimes I’m just not feeling it, and I’m learning to embrace that that’s okay, too.
How do you incorporate your own designs into your fashion sense? How do they intertwine?
I do really love producing merch or pieces I would wear, so whenever I think of something I would like to say I just go ahead and make a piece that says it for me. I’m also always drawn to clothing that has some illustrated element.
If you had to describe yourself in three words, what would those be?
Virgo, Moody and Giggly
How has your personal style evolved over time?
I think I’ve learned more to wear what I wanna wear and draw what I wanna draw. I used to be very much concerned with the rules and ‘dos and don’ts’— but not so much these days. I stopped caring too much about what makes me look bigger. If I need to take up more space, I will do so. If I feel like being louder, I will do so. Whatever makes me feel more like myself, I will do.