Latinx designers are making more and more inroads into global fashion, and the growing platforms hope to elevate these designs and showcase the new perspectives and innovative designs many are bringing to the industry.
Here are four platforms working with Latinx designers to showcase their work, promote it, and make it accessible to the world.
Latin American Fashion Summit
In her more than 20 years working in the New York fashion industry, Nicaraguan-born Estefania Lacayo has seen many Latin American designers, entrepreneurs and writers struggle to get noticed in the United States. . That’s why she co-founded the Latin American Fashion Summit three years ago. “to empower our community of Latinos and also Latinos living in the United States who want to tap into this whole fashion world.”
“They didn’t even know who to approach, how to go about it, so they were constantly scammed by PR firms in New York promising PR, showrooms promising sales, trade shows promising millions of buyers, and at the end of the day they would spend all their money and they would have no relationships, no sales,” she said. “When I heard all this I was like ‘wow c ‘crazy. You just need to meet the right people. Your voices just need to be heard.…They just didn’t get the chance.
The first summit was held near Tulum, Mexico and the second in Cartagena, Colombia, with speakers including Carolina Herrera, former Calvin Klein designer Francisco Costa and Vogue Mexico editor Karla Martinez. Rather than hosting a fashion show, the summit helps attendees develop the skills they need to be seen on the world stage through workshops and networking. Sessions often focus on technology and media, business strategy and sustainability.
This year’s event was also scheduled to be held in person, but the pandemic has forced it to go virtual and will now be held October 19-23. The Live Latin American Fashion Summit is usually limited to 750 attendees, but going virtual will lead to higher attendance this year. By hosting free webinars throughout the pandemic, the group connected with many more people and grew its database by about 150%, according to Lacayo. Tickets for the virtual summit are priced at $99, with a portion of proceeds going to El Salvador-based nonprofit organization Glasswing International, which works to improve education and community development in Latin America.
Sí Collective, a creative community that cultivates Latin American fashion and lifestyle brands for the international market, acts as an extension of clients’ internal teams.
“Latin American design can compete with other international brands on a global scale,” said Sí Collective co-founder Cloclo Echavarría, who has helped launch brands such as Johanna Ortiz, Mercedes Salazar and Agua by Agua. Bendita.
Vanity Fair co-founder and former editor-in-chief Isabella Behrens agrees: “We want people to see the many sides of the region,” she added. “What sets our brands apart is the artisanal aspect; in today’s industry, it’s the measure of true luxury.
A budding brand typically approaches the duo for a full analysis, and Sí Collective then sets out to work on areas such as branding, relationship management, sales, strategy, and creative. They also offer services such as local production, copywriting and graphic design through their network of freelancers.
During the pandemic, some of Sí Collective’s customers needed help moving inventory, as many top-tier retailers canceled bulk orders, devastating emerging smaller brands, especially those that didn’t have their own e-commerce capabilities. This led them to partner with luxury platform Fashionkind to offer brands a new online retail space. According to Echavarría and Behrens, it also allows their customers “to honor their commitment to the men and women who create their pieces – masters of ancient weaving techniques and craftsmanship that are in danger of becoming extinct if not properly supported”.
Former investment banker and wealth manager Nina Farran founded ethical e-commerce fashion platform Fashionkind in 2015. The platform features sustainable luxury products from companies that give back to underserved societies and the environment, and consumers can buy through various impacts, such as female empowerment. , emerging economies, artists and crafts, vegan products and sustainable materials, or by region, as made in the USA
“Fashionkind really exists to redefine the luxury shopping experience online because today’s consumers are really looking for that human and emotional connection,” Farran said. “They care more about craftsmanship than brand. They care about investing in what reflects their values.
During the pandemic, Fashionkind has helped designers in Latin America through its partnership with Sí Collective. The platform added 21 designers to the site, many of whom had focused on wholesale rather than their own e-commerce channels and were struggling to move inventory.
“It’s an opportunity to help them survive and to help their craftsmen survive the crisis, but also to give these insiders a peak in Latin America, because I think many consumers have a very specific idea of what they think of Latin American fashion and design and that tends to be a pretty limited idea,” she added. “It tends to be big ruffles and colors and ruffles and that’s part of it. for sure, but there’s so much more and there’s so much more design techniques and aesthetics coming out of the area.”
In August, Sofia Bibliowicz and Dan Gleason launched Unidos, a bilingual platform showcasing creatives from the diverse Latinx community around the world. The duo, who met during their careers in the fashion industry, wanted a space where they could showcase a variety of voices that embody their culture, including fashion designers.
“We wanted to create a space where we could move away from the ‘Latino stereotype’ that the media has created over the years.” Gleason explained.
The idea of a collective community platform had resided with Bibliowicz for some time. Born in Ecuador to Ecuadorian and Colombian parents, Bibliowicz felt the lack of celebration of her Latinx identity within the industry. While researching a trip to Colombia, she noticed a lack of non-US publications and platforms highlighting cultural guides to Latinx countries and cities. “It’s an opening,” recalled Bibliowicz, a New York-based public relations expert who has worked with Maryam Nassir Zadeh, Telfar and Neiman Marcus, among others, and who is now co-founder and editor-in-chief of Unidos.
Once COVID-19 hit and business died down in March, she called Gleason to ask his opinion and gauge his interest. Gleason, a Mexico City native and freelance creative — who cut his teeth at Vogue Mexico and Latin America, and Solar Magazine under Michaela Dosamantes — loved the idea. Quickly and smoothly, they became co-founders. Gleason is also the content manager for Unidos.
In April, the duo began building the platform around the idea of a global Latinx platform with a positive and uplifting voice at the forefront. Unidos in English is “United”; cemented by the brand message “We are better together”. Bibliowicz and Gleason’s combined extensive experience in the industry helped create Unidos’ first platform on Instagram.
Unidos debuted on Instagram, @Unidos.world, in early April, followed by its official launch with bilingual features in August. Her Instagram includes Q&A profiles and portraits highlighting global Latinx creatives, like shoe designer Isa Tapia, photographer Rodrigo Álvarez, stylist Ricardo Arenas, and accessories designer Gabriela Viteri, and more. The profiles will live on the brand’s upcoming website. A homepage is now in place on unidos.world, and the full site is expected to launch in November. A newsletter, videos and cultural guides will accompany upcoming stories (including a spotlight on Ecuadorian chef Rodrigo Pacheco from Netflix’s “The Final Table”), and the co-founders dream of developing e-commerce and possibly a book . “We want to be a platform, in every way, for artists,” Bibliowicz said.
“We really hope to remind young Latin generations that we are strong and above all: we are free to be whoever we want to be…” said Gleason, adding, “Hopefully Unidos will really have a positive impact on the community. We really want to build bridges, not walls.
Adding to this, Bibliowicz said, “When we all pull together, the world is a much better place and amazing things can happen.”
To learn more, see:
The Latinx Beauty Shopper spends almost 30% of its peers
There’s a distinct lack of Hispanic and Latino CEOs in fashion
Peruvian swimwear brand Capittana combines sustainability and craftsmanship