Bogotá Fashion Week (BFW) is the first business-to-business platform by the Bogotá Chamber of Commerce of the year, that showcases talent from across Colombia, especially designers based in Bogotá and surrounding region. After a successful first version in 2017, BFW launches April 24 in its new world-class venue: Ágora Bogotá, International Convention Center. During three days, with 13 catwalks and two performances, industry professionals will generate business opportunities with 40 designers, from established names to emerging talent.

This year, Bogotá Fashion Week goes under the slogan “Tejiendo Colombia” (Weaving Colombia), with an emphasis on design that represents this country’s diverse regional identity and exuberant biodiversity. Weaving Colombia is divided into four areas of circulation and the business platform of Market Experience. Stands will represent designs inspired by Biodiversity, Magical Stories, Art and Architecture, Tradition. In this area, local and national designers will showcase collections, works in progress, and discuss with world-class experts how to consolidate their businesses in order to grow and conquer global consumers.

Market Experience emphasizes the commercial potential of 40 designers by offering national and international buyers a space to meet one-on-one with the designers, and place orders for items that range from the most artisan to contemporary. The first edition of BFW generated sales close to USD$670,000 for the fashion cluster, and this year, the Bogotá Chamber of Commerce estimates this investment will increase significantly as the capital-region continues to consolidate itself as an international fashion center.

One of the prestigious entities that will accompany designers is the Barcelona-based European Design Institute (EDI). Even though Bogotá Fashion Week’s window spans three business days, the event is a year long project, as the CCB hosts business workshops so that designers have permanent feedback on their business ideas, and can adapt to the demands of consumers. The EDI will also accompany designers with 770 hours of free consultation.

An objective of the Bogotá Chamber of Commerce with promoting this expanding creative cluster is to give exposure to Bogotá as a vibrant place for the jewelery, leather, shoe and clothing clusters. Working with a diverse palate of materials, and inspired by their urban and rural environments, Bogotá’s designers are charged with originality and creativity. Platforms such as Bogotá Fashion Week motivate an entrepreneurial spirit that has come to define the Bogotá-Region.

To select the catwalk section, EDI’s curator Anna Sabater evaluated the participants concept of identity and originality. “Designers must interpret the local identity according to the DNA, the filter and style of their brand. We want collections to reflect the country in which they are produced,” said Sabater.

To get an up-close experience of the talent that was curated, designers Adriana Santacruz, Faride Ramos, Lina Cantillo, Bendita Seas, Bettina Spitz, Mulierr, Isabel Henao, Andrea Castro and Juan Pablo Socarrás will have individual shows. The collective runway, shaped as a “U” to give participants a more comprehensive panoramic view, will be shared by Hebrante y Pessoa, Saha Swimwear, Barceloneta Swimwear, Pamela Duque and Carolina Estefan.

Representing leather and footware are Ana Lavarde, Divina Castidad Handbags, Bareke, Bags n’Ballerinas, Bissoni, Mamahuhu, Paola Palacio, Snakers, Fifi & Mugre, and Flora&Victoria. There are two performances lined-up on the runway to highlight this important manufacturing sector that traditionally employs thousands across Bogotá and surrounding region.

No fashion week or industry trade fair is complete without a showcase of accessories and jewelry. In this sector, Álvaro Avila, MIE Jewelry, Liliam Medina, Alejandra Valdivieso, Flor Amazona, La P. Pa Design, Fernanda Arias, Nontien Joyería, Metalero and Lakshmi are represented.

By putting fashion at the heart of Bogotá, the CCB directly benefits 35,000 companies in the city-region dedicated to clothing and manufacturing; among these, 6,200 in leather (which encompasses footwear), and 1,100 in jewellery. Music, audio-visual arts and fashion are the creative industries that contribute 3% of Colombia’s GDP with Bogotá contributing more than 90%.

Thanks to the Bogotá Chamber of Commerce, other clusters have flourished. ARTBO has consolidated itself as the largest art fair in Latin America; Bogotá Audiovisual Market (BAM) the most important showcase for film and animation; and, Bogotá Music Market (BOmm), the sonorous event that promotes Colombia’s musicians and producers. While the 40 designers are the main protagonists of Bogotá Fashion Week, the event also brings together models, make-ups artists, photographers and leading media representatives. Among the guests who will be offering invaluable advice on industry trends and style is Nina García, editor-in-chief of the US edition of Elle magazine, as well as director for Spain and the U.S. Mercedes Urrea. The organization expects the second edition to draw-in 12,000 visitors.

Mónica de Greiff, Executive President of the Bogotá Chamber of Commerce, reaffirms the 140-year organization’s commitment to supporting and developing creative industries; and which now sees fashion getting the high-profile recognition it deserves. “With this second edition, Bogotá Fashion Week continues to consolidate itself as one of the most important platforms for the fashion sector in the country, thanks to all the advice and preparation designers receive to make sure their businesses are effective and sustainable.”