Architecture, journalism alumni build online fashion startup

By Camila Fernandez

Before running to class, broadcast journalism alumna Espe Hernandez ’16 and architecture alumnus Sebastian Gomez ’16 would pose in their favorite ripped jeans and light pastels to post and share online. follows the lives of alumni Espe Hernandez ’16 and Sebastian Gomez ’16.

Their blog, TwoTrends, started off as a small fashion and lifestyle blog while they were students and has since become a full-time business working with brands like GQ Magazine and Lacoste. The two have been featured in Ocean Drive Magazine and Marie Claire Taiwan. And they were online commentators for the 2017 Billboard Latin Music Awards.

TwoTrends combines a zeal for fashion trends with a blend of architectural visualization and critical thinking. The his-and-her blog, which has attracted more than 300,000 followers since it began in October 2015, discusses fashion and beauty tips, as well as the couple’s day-to-day interests.

“Just like an architect has to envision a building before it’s built, we envision where we want to take TwoTrends,” Gomez says on building a startup.

The two met at their local church and started their blog while at FIU. Despite studying different careers, they possess a similar aesthetic. Hernandez handles writing, while Gomez leads the creative visual direction.

Hernandez says they chose to pursue an online platform first because architecture and journalism are both demanding and competitive careers. Social media is a way to jump-start in any industry through networking opportunities, which is valuable for consumers and brands.

Their greatest challenge was creating the brand from scratch when they had zero followers on social media. Now they hope to transition to a YouTube channel, which could open doors to do mainstream media.

“When we started our blog, it was mainly about clothes and style, but as we began to grow, we saw that fans and followers were interested in us – in what Sebas and Espe do, where we hang out, what we eat, where we travel and what we are wearing,” Gomez says.

Their online presence helped Hernandez earn an internship with Telemundo in spring 2016, where she assisted in the production of “Premios Tu Mundo,” and a spot on the station’s segment “Girl Talk.”

The couple, who married earlier this year, says they were inspired at FIU. Miami Beach Urban Studios provided hands-on experience in learning software and photography.

“Although an 18-to-25-year-old student may not have his career plans defined, FIU gave us the proper resources and encouraged us to always think Worlds Ahead,” Gomez says.

Hernandez, left, and Gomez, right

Architecture Professor Malik Benjamin mentored Gomez on the importance of having an entrepreneurial mindset.

“Sebastian represents the elite group of students who take their education seriously…. I am not surprised in the very least that he has met with the success he has, and I hope more students follow suit,” Benjamin says.

Hernandez says connecting with professors is a great way to explore projects. Their professors encouraged them to pursue the blog – which will help build her resume as a journalist. Like many professional journalists, she works on social media, creates websites and provides content, such as stories, videos and images for their platform.

Journalism and Media Professor Lilliam Martinez-Bustos recalls Hernandez’s enthusiasm to meet people in the industry and to learn from professionals. She says efforts like TwoTrends show how students acquire skills in FIU needed to find their own space and build a career for themselves.

“Espe was always very active and she understood the weight of having an internship and just plain being out there,” Martinez-Bustos says.

The pair advises people interested in creating an online presence to focus on what makes them unique from everyone else, to create content often and to network with others in the industry.

“Don’t limit yourself,” Hernandez says. “If you have to hustle it, hustle it. Don’t be scared and just do it.”