THE LAUNCH OF BOGOTA FASHION WEEK

Fashionably attired and on time, my sister, my mother and myself answered the VIP invitation from the organizers of Bogota Fashion Week (#BOGFW ) to an event that took place at the Camara de Comercio de Bogota, (Bogota’s Chamber of Commerce). On a sunny Tuesday morning after a long holiday weekend, we were there to witness the launching of Bogota Fashion Week.

I was accompanied by my mother as my secretary and my sister (who worked in the past in a multinational company as marketing director) as my PR & personal assistant.

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Arriving to large plaza, I saw at a distance a fantastic set-up with an incredible structure, side panels, mannequins and two check-in tables with a raised covered carpet, welcoming guests in front of the very contemporary building that holds the several agencies part of the organization of the Bogota’s Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber serves a city whose current population is about 7.8 million people and has a GDP of the equivalent of $94 billion US, larger than that of many other countries in Latin America, and a 3.9% steady yearly growth.

As it was stated by the President of the Bogota’s Chamber of Commerce, Mrs. Monica De Greiff, the fields of business, fashion, design, production, manufacturing, marketing, sales, merchandising, styling  and  associated fields generate about 210,000 direct jobs in the city.

So, that means, there are good options for investment and more so, within the world of fashion. And I would say that there are very, very good options and great talent to support the market.

Camara de Comercio

I have to admit that it was a pleasant surprise to see the level of production, coordination and attendance for more than 700 guests in one room. The setting had an ambiance perfect for conversation as well as a floor runway that later held two of the upcoming designers. A set-up and organization at the level of any international fashion summit I’ve attended.

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From the arrival to the interior of the event, there was well executed branding and logo placement for the event itself, creating great expectations if you were in attendance. Very, very well executed.

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One thing I noticed though, is that the only few of the attendees were attired for the occasion. Usually when attending anything related to this field, guests carefully select their attire time in advance, and they go all out to make a statement that fashion is not only important, but a window to a better/self. This event, well, was dressed in  very day-to-day attire (say more urban than a personal showcase of investment within the fashion field).

“Well, that was different.” one of my former secretaries used to say.

Pilar Castano - Fashion expert and personality in the red carpet

I was interviewed briefly as we arrived in the red carpet  by Pilar Castano, who is perhaps one of the most notorious personas in the world of Colombian Fashion.

Days earlier, I received on my inbox a very tailored email with a summary of the day, a  full 7:00am to 1:00pm event with a fantastic line up.  From the open arms welcoming of the event and new platform by the Bogota’s commerce director, to some panel discussions and solo talks, to the international guests that will help the event to curate the upcoming fashion designers, and even to some runway shows of local designers showing the new tendencies – it was an interesting day.

The event had back-to-back solo presentations and speeches by  special guests on different topics. Some speakers were local, while others flew into the city just for the occasion, including:

Individual presentations took place, where themes were separate and described by each guest, from social media appeal and management, to branding and the  entire process of how to create a brand, and a topic of how to work from conception to distribution by Mr. Carrascal. The latter was rather informative, with so much depth and a need to specify and debrief all points ( I would of liked to have his talk in series, if you ask me).

The morning was hosted by Entertainment TV hostess Pilar Schmitt, whom I spoke with later about the importance of this event, and to whom I am sending an email as I finish this post to rekindle the idea of an interview for her show.

With Pilar Schmitt

with Pilar Schmitt photo

The morning was a full schedule with runway shows in between.

The set-up and stage was one that was reminiscent of the store-front backdrop created by Mr. Lagerfeld team for one of the SS collections for the house of Chanel fashion shows at  “Le Grand Palais“. It was very tasteful and thought out, very  “a-la-Chanel”, but fit perfectly with the three great levels that BOGFW is aiming to work in within the world of fashion:

  1. Jewelry
  2. Shoes and Leather-ware
  3. Garments

I totally agree that jewelry design and accessories should be independent elements, but at the same time included when it comes to fashion week events.  A designer should be able to express the full extent of his abilities and even team-up with other designers to express the best of the best of their line.

In the back of the room, a large number of hungry designers were looking for a window to showcase, and opportunity given by this organization. To my left, were the investors, capital freelancers, and entrepreneurs that were looking for talented brands or designers to invest on, or simply were curious about the word of fashion.

In the sessions, there were talks that ended with an open conversation and exchange of ideas of the panel.

Cnversations with the panel

The various guests agreed on several subjects, such as the “deceleration” of fashion, the notable identity design, style and fashion brings to humanity, or the “inclusion” of biodiversity, or the love felt for a fashion piece and it’s life in your closet. I just nodded to all those statements.

A full discussion was given to social media, to which I think should have a second or a third talk, but I am sure this will happen with the coverage of other experts while the BOGFW takes place. This new platforms of social media are able to sell-out a brand, or just disappear to the past, if abandoned or mishandled. Not to mention the importance of styling and product allocation.

The moment of the first fashion show came and I was utterly impressed!

I am total fan of monochrome. With some metallic layering on several materials and a large inclusion of  minimal appeal on a black and white palette, this was it. The looks were a careful selection of modern structured silhouettes and soft materials.Very urban but elegant.

The designer Laura Aparicio, of Milano, who just landed in town after her international studies and experience, showcased a great line.

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The cohesiveness of the line was one to be admired.

A very well prepared selection of garments and a very well executed presentation. From concept to look to use of make-up and shoes.The urban Colombian girl has an answer in this line, one that is versatile and quite urban and sophisticated. To me this was an immediate export!

I was streaming live on FACEBOOK LIVE (must admit it is my new obsession when attending a fashion show) and I love to read the comments afterwards. It is like anything media these days – instant rewarding. Well, the opening garment mix and the intense copper blouse, and the yellow ones were the most acclaimed.

A good friend of mine back home, owner of a very exquisite boutique by the name of OBJECTS, honestly wrote;

” Fashion Week in Bogota, who knew?”

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I happened to meet the parents of this designer and was treated to meeting the designer once the show was over. A visit to her atelier is pending, so stay tuned for an interview and all.

I simply loved her line.

.Conversations with Laura Aparicio

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A second fashion show with a selection of garments produced in a knitting format was showcased, by a local company by the name of PAPEL DE PUNTO .

This one also had its highlights and even left me thinking about the days most mothers had a knitting machine in their garages in Bogota, where the sweaters you wore to school, the house linens, the dog sweater, the baby’s throw and even your neighbor’s Peruvian style hat were done by mom on her SINGER sewing machine.

Well, this time, a wind of modern and contemporary took over, and boy, it worked! A black and white line, full of graphics, some geometric, others more botanical, but expressed as patterns on the fabric, with modern silhouettes and cuts that included the use of some local elements reserved for traditional garments, like ponchos. The layers brought an unexpected twist to this collection by designer Laura Acevedo.

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A very young designer with a vision and a material that combined present and option to the modern and contemporary garments.

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In closing, I must admit that this launching of #BOGFW was quite the pleasant surprise.

I am off to talk to two of my favorite Colombian designers, Hernan Zajar and Ricardo Pava, as I would love for them to bedazzle me with their incredible collections the fashion weeks of the west and the southwest, of which I am honored to be participating in and gaining some new markets in which to bring this Latin flair, which is so desirable in these latitudes. More on that soon.

Conversations with Hernan Zajar

A visit to the city of my teenage years, and the city I left more than two decades ago is showing me today the increased amount of exposure of our talents and our creativity.

There seems to be a very brilliant future, and it is coming to us very fast. So we had better be ready!

Always in style,

Oscar~

NOTE:
Thank you to the directors of BOGFW for facilitating professional pictures for this post. It is highly appreciated.

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