Bogotá Fashion Week 2022: The artisans return

By Valentina Verdecia Ustáriz June 1, 2022

Key industry players agree that the word luxury has taken on a new meaning. 

Bogotá Fashion Week 2022 took place in May, with a great line up of talks, runways, pop-up stores and experience rooms. It was an excellent comeback after the Covid-19 pandemic. The event aims to be a platform to position Bogotá as a worldwide fashion business capital, promoting the talent of many local designers and creatives. It exposes emerging brands as well as established businesses to national and international audiences. 

The talks really grabbed the audience’s attention, as key figures like journalists, designers and theorists discussed issues facing the industry. These spaces are very important for the Colombian scene because they put many topics in perspective, some of which are not very well known or frequently thought about.

I was impressed by one such talk, called ‘Lujo, estilos, tendencias y comunicaciones’ (Luxury, style, trends and communications) which had a very personal approach. On stage with moderator Lucety Carreño, fashion and business journalist were: 

  • Lina Bustillo, coach and author of the book ‘Pilares del lujo latinoamericano’ 
  • Laura Echavarría, creator of the blog Fashion Lessons
  • Raúl Peñaranda, Creative Director and founder of Raúl Peñaranda
  • Manuela Álvarez, Creative Director of MAZ Manuela Alvarez

Every member started by saying what luxury meant for them and the impact their history in the industry and the way they grew up has had on their current work. They agreed that the word ‘luxury’ nowadays needs to be redefined. It is seen as expensive and inaccessible, but in reality, luxury can be found in our everyday lives. For example, it may be the time we spend with family and friends. Ultimately, it depends on our facility to interpret and appreciate what is special about life experiences. 

Regarding the fashion industry, Manuela Álvarez said, “The artisan is part of that woman’s life, and that is a luxury.” She was referring to the differences between fast fashion and luxury, where fast fashion often comes from horrific worker conditions – which is what allows us to pay low prices for clothes. Álvarez argues that luxury fashion comes with an acknowledgement of the artisan’s expertise, where they are well paid, work for a normal amount of hours and have recognition. 

This statement was seen on the MAZ runway, which showcased Manuela Álvarez’ brand. We were able to see the artisans’ work projected in the collection ‘Flor de Venus’. These outfits had the fabrics of the artisans that work for the brand, and were made by the team behind the brand, which is composed mainly of artisans and single mothers. The MAZ brand perfectly portrays their Latin American roots, combining style and the aim to empower women with tailoring work. 

This event has endless discussions around it. It’s important to notice that the discussions on Latin American and Colombia’s point of view is more and more considered nowadays. There’s a focus on our ancestors and way of life, and how they impact on the ways we see clothes and create fashion.