Our designers dazzle catwalks across the globe, dress the stars of the stage and screen and believe fashion really can change the world. Here are seven Colombian designers who are already ahead of the game.
Amelia Toro is a Colombian designer with a conscience. She trains and employs single mothers to improve their lives and ensure they have the means to educate their children. Rather than use assembly lines to manufacture her clothes, she trains each woman to create an item from start to finish. Toro, born in Bogota, lives between Bogota and New York. Her latest collection was launched at New York Fashion Week.
Adriana Santacruz is true to her roots. She was born in Pasto, Narino and all of her work begins with one of the world’s most ancient crafts – weaving. Santacruz ensures local artisans and their families work alongside her to promote their craft. She trained at Italy’s Marangoni Institute and has won several awards, including Colombia’s Blue Steel Pencil Prize. Her collections include clothes, belts and hats.
Silvia Tcherassi is an award-winning Colombian designer once honoured by the French government for her “contribution to culture”. Tcherassi, born in Barranquilla, has showcased her work in fashion weeks including Paris and Milan and is particularly popular for her wedding dresses, shown in Paris, Tokyo and New York. She designed the Tcherassi Hotel in Cartagena, a 250-year-old colonial mansion. (You can also: 10 entrepreneurs who have raised the name of Colombia)
Lina Cantillo is a designer with a difference – she wants to revolutionise men’s fashion, particularly in Colombia. Cantillo, also from Barranquilla, spent years training in Italy, including stints at Milan’s Marangoni Institute and the Burgo Institute of Fashion. She believes menswear is the most difficult to design, because it “demands more creativity” and has said she plans to revamp the style choices for Colombia’s menfolk. (You can also enjoy: Get to know Colombia’s beautiful and varied traditional clothing)
Olga Piedrahita is often referred to as one of Colombia’s “most irreverent” designers and this designer, who was born in Medellin, certainly has an unusual background. She was devoted to ballet for decades before she turned to design, performing as a principal ballerina in her home city. Her flagship boutique and workshop was launched to great acclaim in one of the most fashionable areas of Bogota.
Haider Ackermann is one of Colombia’s most famous designers. He was twice asked to replace John Galliano at Dior (whom he had previously worked with as an intern) and is often referred to as “the new Yves Saint-Laurent”. Ackermann, who was born in Bogota, was adopted by French parents and has lived all over the world. His designs have been worn by stars including Penelope Cruz, Victoria Beckham and Kanye West. (You can also enjoy: Colombian design goes global)
Hernan Zajar, from Cartagena, is the ultimate costeño, bringing his colorful Caribbean flair to all his collections. Zajar, best known for his 15-year stint designing the dresses worn by Colombia’s beauty queens on pageant day, has seen his designs worn by celebrities including Jennifer Lopez, Joan Collins and Claudia Schiffer. He studied fashion in London, Milan and New York.
Looking for the hottest designers behind today’s trends? The answer is Colombia. If you liked this article please feel free to share it on Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ or any of your social networks.