Centered in heart of Colombia, in the city of Medellin, Colombiamoda is considered to be one of the best annual fashion conferences in Latin America, and this year certainly did not disappoint.
The first impression when one enters Colombiamoda is the enormity of the pavilions – 55,000 buyers, spectators and VIPs arrive every year eager to be surprised. It’s fascinating to witness large international brands showcasing their latest collections along side upstart brands as they try to breakthrough what is a very competitive, often times merciless industry.
Nearly 600 brands, both from Colombia and abroad, showcased their wares. Many of them were upstart companies. Unfortunately, in the cutthroat fashion industry, a large percentage of those companies will not be back next year. While most of the companies exhibiting were Colombian, the world was well represented at Colombiamoda in 2015.
Origin countries of exhibitors at Colombiamoda
But my interest this year was in the entrepreneurs. While many fashion events focus on the largest brands, Colombiamoda focuses on emerging brands and I was eager to find the entrepreneurs behind the clothing and get to know some of their work.
One of the companies that stood out was Dressing Lab. While not a fashion company, Dressing Lab leverages the very social aspect of the fashion industry, allowing fashion bloggers to more easily promote designs or highlight clothing that catch their interest. In showcasing those designs through a social media tool like Dressing Lab, as bloggers we can promote small business and give a boost to emerging brands that otherwise cannot compete with the marketing budget of the international goliaths.
Of course, visiting Colombiamoda is more than the pavilion. It’s also about the spectacular fashion shows and after parties. One of the most interesting fashion shows was from Fuchsia Magazine, celebrating 15 years of publication. The objective of their fashion show was to support new designers and provide them with the platform to showcase their designs on the catwalk. Four talented designers were chosen to present their collections, all Colombians, two from Bogota and two from Medellin.
It is always a pleasure to participate in a conference such as Colombiamoda, and especially to spend time with emerging brands and see new fashion trends. As a paisa, I would invite everyone in the industry to visit Medellin. It is not only the city of eternal spring and the city of innovation, it is one of the best world cities to launch or showcase your brand.
Johana Buriticá is a fashion blogger from Medellín, Colombia and the author of Latin Urban Style, a blog that tracks global urban fashion trends. She is passionate about men’s fashion and is a regular visitor at many international fashion conferences. When she is not writing, she works as an event coordinator for Míguelo Romano, Colombia’s first maker of fashionable, armored clothing. You can follow Johana on twitter as @johana_buritika.