COLOMBIA: FROM COCAINE AND COFFEE TO COOL AND COCKY!!
Hectic forecast for Colombia a couple of decades ago, when the wave of violence and drug dealing was at its highest peak. The country, well known for its narco reputation has managed to become one of the hottest spots in Latin America to visit. A travel destination and now also an emerging fashion roster that has actually helped give a new face to the country.
Let’s take a quick trip and start in the city of Pablo Escobar, Medellin, who recently made it to the billboards with Madonna’s and the ‘Pretty Boy’ Maluma’s new hit song, baptised in its honour, that makes listeners swag to its rhythm. Netflix couldn’t resist either to the eccentric history of the city. But Medellin has experienced an overwhelming transformation; in 2013 it was named the most innovative city in the world by the non-profit Urban Land Institute, something to proudly brag about! It is also the textile capital of Colombia and its famous for hosting two of the most important fairs in the South American hemisphere, ColombiaModa and Colombiatex.
We leave the paisas (how we call the people from Medellin), and fly up north to the Caribbean, to land in Barranquilla, well known to be the house of many Lebanese immigrants (together with other cities like Cartagena). The city is also famous for its Carnaval and for giving birth to the most famous singer of the country, whom hips truly don’t lie. The city also brought sophisticated-line dresses, àfull on Latin infused, through the talented designer Silvia Tcherassi, who brings sunshine through her prints. She honours the beauty and elegance that characterises the Caribbean woman.
We keep on moving through Colombia and go south to our next destination, Cali. We are here to visit Queen J - the country’s most recent fashion pearl and women’s style obsession - designer Johanna Ortiz. All over the world Johanna has conquered the most influential closets and has actively helped to build up a solid road to other Colombian designers, positioning Latin American femme fatal style in vogue. She literally became a trend, we would see Johanna’s pieces in every trend report, window display and online web shop, the ruffle signature was basically everywhere. Very casually at a wedding somebody was wearing Johanna and Lauren Santo Domingo (owner of Moda Operandi) spotted the dress who brought Johanna to where she is now. Guess who is dancing salsa now?
Last but not least, we visit the bogotanos more commonly known as rolos. The capital of Colombia cannot be left aside. At the opposite of warm weather and salsa notes, Bogota brings a variety of styles, as every capital, it is the melting pot of people from all over the country. From swimwear to knitwear, the city welcomes all. Verdelimon, Palma Canaria, Atelier Crump, Liza Echeverry, Mercedes Salazar (all of them you can actually shop here at 85°, see links below) Pepa Pombo, Carlo Carrizosa, Laura Laurens, Julieta Suarez, Olga Piedrahita, and so on… Cocky and well deserved, as its designers talent is now starting to be recognised internationally.
And talking about international, Colombia has its own VIP quote of designers (I will only mention a few of them) spread in Paris, New York, London and Barcelona with Mallarino jewellery, M2Malletier bags, Aquazurra shoes and Esteban Cortazar whose career has been very promising. How exciting all this is, very much looking forward to seeing more!