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Karla Martinez's 2017: Latin American Fashion Will Come Into its Own

Latin American designers and smaller Latin American fashion weeks have the opportunity to grow in 2017, says the editor-in-chief of Vogue Mexico and Vogue Latin America.
Karla Martinez, editor-in-chief of Vogue Mexico and Vogue Latin America | Source: Courtesy
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  • BoF Team

MEXICO CITY, Mexico — "A lot of people don't understand this [but] we do two issues every month," says Karla Martinez, the editor-in-chief of Vogue Mexico and Vogue Latin America.

“First we do the Latin America edition, which means the whole region except Brazil [which has its own separate edition of Vogue in Portuguese] and the Caribbean. We also put special local inserts in our edition for [distribution in] Chile, Peru and Colombia and then we do our Mexican edition, which obviously goes to Mexico.”

We all speak Spanish but [we're] very different culturally. One of my biggest challenges is to be sure that we're speaking to these different countries.

Martinez, who was appointed in June 2016, explains: “We all speak Spanish but [we’re] very different culturally [so] one of my biggest challenges is to be sure that we’re speaking to these different countries. Especially now that the Latin American region has really come into its own in terms of [local] fashion.”

"Colombia has had an amazing fashion industry for years [and] now you've got people like Johanna Ortiz who has built an amazing business. In Mexico, there's a lot of amazing textile industry artisans [and] in Buenos Aires, for example, you can get really cool [unique] men's fashion. So I think there's kind of been an awakening... that you can create amazing products [here] and people will want them."

So far, Brazil, Mexico and Colombia have dominated the scene both in terms of spending power and the influence of their local fashion weeks. “There’s [already] a lot more people buying local Mexican and Colombian design [and] when the dollar and the euro are so strong, you get less of us Latin Americans [shopping in Europe and North America but] that is an opportunity for our own fashion industries here,” she explains.

Now, even more Latin American retailers are beginning to accent their international product offering with local designers scouted at growing South American fashion weeks held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Santiago, Chile and Lima, Peru. “Peru has a huge cotton industry and now they have some interesting fashion too,” she says.

Some regional retailers have recently begun to source hard-to-find merchandise from smaller Central American fashion weeks in Guatemala, Honduras and Panama. “I think people are kind of specialising in what they do best.”

The State of Fashion 2017 is The Business of Fashion and McKinsey & Company's in-depth report on the global fashion industry in 2017, focusing on the themes, issues and opportunities impacting the sector and its performance.

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