There are only a handful of Latin American designers who have become household names across the world, and even fewer who have done so while incorporating aesthetics indigenous to Latin America. Nonetheless, we have repeatedly seen traditional prints and textiles, as well as more contemporary trends coming out of Latin America, serve as the inspiration for big names in fashion (see: Isabel Marant’s knock off of the traditional huipils made in Oaxaca, or Comme des Garçon’s take on the tribal botas picudas, as just a few examples.)
Colombianas Giovanna Campagna and Claudia (Cloclo) Echavarría are aiming to create an environment where Latin American designers can succeed on the global stage. With their company CREO Consulting, they have created an international platform that gives up-and-coming Latin American designers visibility in the global fashion market. Operating as an incubator of sorts, CREO provides designers with help in branding, sales, PR, and other services, to create a support system that can help Latin American designers get attention from the right fashion editors, buyers and more.
“Latin America is such a melting pot of cultures, which means there are many amazing artisanal crafts that our designers learn from and incorporate into their work,” Cloclo told The Man Repeller. “While this definitely makes them unique, we try to avoid pigeon-holing our Latin American brands as simply artisanal and not on the same level as high fashion. We make a point to select brands that can compete on the international level, so any element of artisanal craftsmanship is very refined in their work.”
And as many things are in Latin American culture, CREO Consulting is a huge family affair. Cloclo and Giovanna are cousins, working with even more of their talented cousins (Seriously, what kind of gene pool?) The women were inspired by the growth in the Colombian market and sought to be the link and support to introduce what they saw happening in Colombia to a wider audience. Three of their cousins (Danielle Corona of Hunting Season, Yasmin Sabet of Mola Sasa and Lucia Echavarria of Magnetic Midnight,) were their first clients and as Cloclo put it, “It was never intended to be such a family business, but it evolved into one.”
While most of the original brands they represented had a close link to their country of Colombia, CREO Consulting knew they wanted to expand to include designers from all over Latin America.
“Our family has a long tradition of giving back to our country, which is why it is so important to us to do the same by supporting Colombian fashion…There are so many talented designers who don’t receive the attention they deserve, or who lack access to the global market. We felt we could become a sort of bridge between the Latin American and the international fashion industries.”
Already, CREO is making a huge impact with their brands, who have made appearances at their showroom in NYC for Fall/Winter 2015 and on the pages of Vogue and Refinery29. In fact, they are credited with helping Colombian designer Johanna Ortiz burst onto the U.S. scene last year; now her signature off-the-shoulder reinterpretations of mens’ shirts can be seen everywhere.
Below, we highlight some of the up and coming Latin American designers represented by CREO Consulting that you should definitely be rocking and supporting this summer before every high fashion editor and ~cool festival girl~ gets their hands on them.
Designer Yasmin Sabet collaborated with Ines Sainz and the indigenous Kuna communities of Colombia and Panama to create these unique clutches. Mola is the name of the decorative fabrics used and worn by the women, who run a cooperative in making these one-of-a-kind pieces. Read more about their process here.
Lucia Echavarria creates gorgeous and intricate headpieces that are perfect for a wedding, vacation, your next music festival or when you just want to feel like the goddess that you truly are.
Gabriela Goldbaum is an Ecuadorian designer creating a line of hand-made Panama hats which are sustainable and ethical. Goldbaum has put together workshops in Ecuador where she employs and trains local women to craft her hat designs, and they are able to support themselves and their families. Valdez sources local textiles, organic straw, and natural seeds from the Amazon jungle and the Andes.
Piamita is the brand that will be necessary for every cozy girl out there walking the fine line between sloppy and comfy. Mexican designer Karla Martinez and Cecilia de Sola, who is from El Salvador, teamed up to create Piamita, a kind of high-end pajama dressing. While fashion pajamas sound like a dream come true, Piamita also has really adorable matching print sets for the pattern lovers out there.