Visitors to New York's iconic Soho neighborhood can see the work of Latin American designers, primarily from Colombia, under one roof.
Latin Curated is a platform bringing luxury brands from Latin America under a pop-up store that opened its doors this month. One-part retail space and one-part showroom, the goal of the platform is to introduce Latin American designers not only to the U.S. market, but to boost their overall international exposure.
"It shows the talent, professionalism and elevated sense of fashion coming from Latin America that still has not yet been fully discovered," said Lorena Cuevas, Latin Curated Creative Director. "Our hope is that these names and brands capture the attention of the global fashion market, and as a result, Latin America is recognized for all of the design talent and unique brands we have to offer."
The designers were carefully selected, and the brands range from ready-to-wear to accessories, created by leading regional designers as well as emerging niche brands. The group of designers include Colombian veteran fashion designer Olga Piedrahita and fashion social entrepreneurs Maria Luisa Ortiz and Diego Guarnizo of SOY, as well as Mexican jewelry maker Cara Larga, specializing in handmade, artisanal jewelry.
"We included designers with innovative and original designs that represent Latin America´s culture. Each brand places integrity on their manufacturing; many of the products are handmade, utilizing production processes that empower and preserve the traditional artisan techniques that reflect Latin America's history. However, their designs are modern and contribute a creative perspective to the global fashion market," said head curator Paula Peña.
Latin Curated was made possible by the support of industry experts, including Elle Editor-In-Chief and Project Runway host Nina Garcia, who serves as the project's official ambassador.
"I'm excited to be a part of this project because being from Colombia, it is very personal to me. I recently attended Bogota Fashion Week and was very impressed by the collections I saw, and I knew they needed to be seen by a wider audience. The designers participating in Latin Curated are on the cusp," Garcia told NBC via e-mail. "They have the design background and the talent, but they really need exposure and a more international platform. I'm happy to help bring them the attention they deserve."gi
The team intends to establish Latin Curated into a permanent platform that will bring Latin fashion talent around the world. The project has plans to launch during other international fashion weeks including London, Milan, Paris, and eventually, Asia.
For the designers who are showing, participating in the project is a special opportunity to grow above and beyond what they can accomplish on their own. Designers have found it too expensive and difficult to crack the American market, but Latin Curated seeks to change that.
"Being a part of Latin Curated is an amazing first step for our brand into the American market and beyond. For 15 years, we have been working in the fashion industry in Colombia, but this is a brand new challenge that sets a new path for what we do," said designer Isabel Henao. "The fact that we are able to show our work, not just as a brand, but as a whole new creative force from Latin America, feels like a wild dream starting to come true,"
Latin Curated is open to the public until September 30, 2017.