Enter Latin Curated: A new hybrid retail space and showroom dedicated to Latin American luxury brands coming to New York just in time for fashion week. Throughout the month of September, forty brands from the region will be on display for both buyers and the public at 138 Wooster Street in Manhattan.
The new initiative is the product of a team of Colombian fashion industry leaders including Lorena Cuevas, designer of the womenswear label Mulierr, Paula Peña and Geraud Manet, creators of Bogotá Fashion Week and Teresa Lezcano, the fashion coordinator for Colombia’s Secretary of Economic Development.
The goal is to give the participating designers, the majority hailing from Colombia, a foot in the door at New York Fashion Week and generate sales. (Autumn 2017 pieces will be available for purchase by the public, and Spring 2018 collections will be previewed for press and buyers.) The city is just the first stop: London, Milan, Paris and key fashion weeks in Asia are future targets.
“We are creating the infrastructure that lends support, guidance and backing to help these designers maximize their potential far beyond their home country, or Latin America in general,” says Cuevas.
The organisation has some high-profile international allies, including Marie Claire creative director and Project Runway host Nina Garcia, the retail consulting firm Lambert & Associates and the fashion public relations and production agency KCD.
“Being born and raised in Colombia, I’ve seen first hand the unique perspective that artists of all kinds have there, and I’m thrilled that this platform will shine a light on some incredibly culturally rich designers,” Garcia tells BoF.
“The global fashion market is flooded with brands and is extremely competitive. It is difficult to stand out, particularly when your brand is operating outside one of the major fashion capitals,” she continues. “If there is one unknown Latin American designer showing during NYFW, it is quite difficult to get noticed. When you have over 40 talented designers coming together, people start to pay attention.”
Participating brands range from emerging and established and include Olga Piedrahita and Maria Luisa Ortiz and Diego Guarnizo of SOY, among others.
“What is particularly positive with this project is that it provides direction for creators to efficiently position their brands in significant markets,” says Bogotá-based fashion writer Vanessa Rosales. “This is also positive for a fashion culture and industry still in the making. It might keep the attention on the region whilst providing fundamental market strategies.”
While participating designers pay a fee, Latin Curated is mostly funded by private donors from the fashion community in Colombia as well as sponsors including the Consultate of Colombia in New York, the Colombian airline Avianca, coffeehouse chain Juan Valdez Café, Boro Hotel, a Colombian government agency Pro-Colombia and florist Rosas Don Eloy.
Editor's note: This article was revised on September 5, 2017. A previous version of this article misstated that Teresa Lezcano as a coordinator for Bogotá Fashion Week. She is the fashion coordinator for Colombia’s Secretary of Economic Development.