Memories of Emperifollá: MULA

Our memories shape who we are, including our style. In this series, we explore how the women before us, from family members to iconic celebrities, impacted the way we think about putting ourselves together. This is “Memories of Emperifollá.”

If you’ve ever wondered how Caribbean music of the future sounds, just hit play on MULA, the Dominican band led by twin sisters Cristabel Acevedo and Anabel Acevedo, alongside Rachel Rojas. Their sonic cocktail is a mix of their love of electronic music and the ritmos they grew up admiring in their home island. 

“It’s a lot of references, like a lot of 90s merengue and pop, Ana Gabriel, Juan Gabriel,” said Anabel Acevedo, while Rachel Rojas also referenced European electronic DJs and “an emo phase.” This is why they called the band MULA. Yes, like the hybrid offspring of a horse and a donkey. 

Likewise, their style is a combination of futuristic-looking pieces and a lot of vibrant colors, the type clothing you’d expect to see if, suddenly, the entire Caribbean population flew off to Mars. Rojas explains that it’s definitely inspired by their sounds but integrates their “own individual flow.” 

That swag, which includes hot pink vests and visor sunglasses, is in turn inspired by a set of references, including Las Chicas del Can and Gloria Trevi, that the MULA band members carry with them today. 

We asked them to share their memories of emperifollá. Here are their stories. 

Cristabel Acevedo

I chose the album cover  of “Mi general” by Las Chicas del Can. I hadn’t even been born when that album came out. They look very 80s with baggy clothes, which I wasn’t used to seeing in local media and on TV. I love seeing the colors and their aesthetic because by the time I knew them they dressed differently. But I loved their aesthetic in that album. Every time I see it, it brings back good memories. 

Anabel Acevedo

I will never forget the first time I saw Gloria Trevi singing “El pelo suelto” on TV, wearing ripped tights and messy hair. It was the opposite of emperifollá to me at the time. My mom was doing my hair and I just ran away from her to look at Gloria. I took off what she had put on my head and started singing. It was very irreverent and something I was not used to seeing. It definitely marked a lot how I think of how you can see yourself reflected in what you wear. 

Rachel Rojas

I chose a picture of my mom and my grandmother. I think they are the two main forces for me. I don’t really copy their style, but I have it in me. My grandmother liked being put together. She always liked having her red lips. My mom has a lot of her too. She takes a lot of good care of herself. She’s always paying attention to doing exercise. 

I like to emulate them. When I think about my style, they are my main two references. In that photo, they both look really pretty. They both had their own flow. 

Frances Solá-Santiago

Born in Puerto Rico, based in New York City. She is the editor-in-chief on Emperifollá. Her work has been published in The New York Times, Rolling Stone, NPR, Glamour Magazine, Numéro, Refinery29, Remezcla, and Bustle.

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