For every designer included at the Latin Curated pop-up shop, there are infinite stories to tell.
Like the luxury designer Ballen Pellettiere, which employs former guerillas, offering them a second chance at life. Take Caralarga, a Mexican workshop that seeks to create authentic, handmade jewelry. Or even Flor Amazona, a company that works directly with the indigenous people of the Kamcha community on a "spiritual journey."
Latin Curated is helping these Latin American designers emerge in the global fashion world -- necessary, as many times, these overlooked designers have trouble breaking in on their own. It's been difficult for these talents to "crack" the American and European market -- but that will change.
"Historically it has been very difficult for Latin American designers to reach a global audience. There was a lack of platform or format for Latin American designers to tap into the global market, it was too difficult and too expensive to breakthrough on their own. But now, with Latin Curated, we are joining together to create a system that supports our most talented designers and celebrates our unique design process and point of view," said Creative Director of Latin Curated Lorena Cuevas.
This is Latin Curated's inaugural year at New York Fashion Week. The pop up, located in New York City's fashion-forward SOHO, features over 40 designers and showcases everything from jewelry to handbags, dresses to coats, gowns to swimwear. The curation includes already established labels, like Olga Piedrahita, to emerging creatives -- all of whom began their work somewhere in Latin America.
Inside the po pup:
Marie Claire's Nina Garcia echoes Cueva's statement.
"When I visited Colombia last time I was there, I visited Bogotá Fashion Week...and I was kind of really impressed with all the emerging talent that was happening. These are young designers that maybe have second or third collections. Then they approached me with a thought of maybe bringing a collective number of designers here to New York Fashion Week," said Garcia, an ambassador to the project.
She expressed her support and desire for involvement -- and the project came together. "I believe right now is the time for designers and the right time for the market," she maintained.
For Colombian-born Garcia, there's a certain responsibility to help guide these designers. "I am originally from Colombia and I travel to South America quite often. I really stayed in touch with the design industry down there, and I've seen its incredible growth. I've seen firsthand how Colombian designers are making light waves internationally right now."
The designers, many of whom hail from Colombia, are selected by a prestigious panel. In collaborating with powerhouses Lambert & Associates and KCD, Latin Curated hopes to shed light on these incredible artists.
So much can be done, especially in today's climate. "I think that the fashion industry has always been very conscious about issues. And now more than ever, we have the responsibility to speak out, to make a difference, to not let borders or walls or any of that sort of rhetoric impede us from growing culturally," Garcia maintains.
Although the pop up is open until the end of September, Latin Curated hopes to cement themselves "onto the global fashion stage." After New York Fashion Week, the team will venture to Milan, London, Paris and Asia to broadcast their message.
"There's a lot that can be done through fashion -- it has been done in the past and will continue to do that. I hope that as an industry we can rally behind more than just politics."
The Latin Curated retail pop up is open to the public through September 30th at 138 Wooster Street.
Related: Famous faces at NYFW