Colombia chose orange as the color to label its creative industries that include clusters ranging from music to film, gastronomy and, of course, fashion. During three days in April, orange wasn’t the only color on the catwalk at the Ágora International Convention Center where the Bogotá Chamber of Commerce (CCB) hosted the third edition of the capital’s most important fashion trade fair, and presented collections from leading industry names.

With 15 presentations on the catwalk, as well as two performances, Bogotá Fashion Week showcased the city region as a vibrant hub for fashion, from artisan designers to established brands that supply both the domestic and international markets.

As one of four clusters the Bogotá Chamber of Commerce promotes during the year – along with music with Bogotá Music Market (BOmm), film with Bogotá Audiovisual Market (BAM) and Art with ARTBO – this year’s BFW generated USD$600,000 in business revenue. It also paved the way for sales opportunities for designers by introducing them to some of the most recognized names in retail, with Asia and the Middle East also represented.

Some of the highlights of this year’s Bogotá Fashion Week were the diversity of Colombian textiles and accessories, as well as the latest trends in ready-to-wear apparel, swimwear, lingerie and haute couture.

While BFW ushered in a busy week for the promotion of the city’s cultural industries by the Bogotá Chamber of Commerce, it actually extends throughout the year by offering the selected designers a business platform that begins with the early stages of production. The Barcelona-based European Design Institute (IDE) has forged close ties with the CCB since BFW first launched in 2017.

Creating long-term business relationships between local manufacturers and potential buyers is at the heart of the event. This year, prestigious retailer Al Tayer Group, which owns the exclusive license of Harvey Nicols and Bloomingdales in the United Arab Emirates, attended their first ever Bogotá Fashion Week. So too did New York’s Five Story, a boutique dedicated to showcasing international brands, including Aquazzura, Alexander McQueen and Balenciaga. Also present was Maison de Mode, an e-commerce platform that sells luxury clothing while promoting environmentally friendly fashion. Among its portfolio of designers are Beck Jewels, Mola Sasa and Cienne.

With every continent present, including fashion houses from Paris, London, New York, Tokyo and Miami, among others, the CCB set up 350 business appointments between designers and agents, showing how the Colombian capital is rapidly positioning itself as an important fashion hub in the Americas. Accompanying the workshops and runway presentations were several prominent names in Colombian fashion, including Edgardo Osorio, a designer of the Aquazurra brand, Silvia Tcherassi, creator of the brand that bears her name, and Nina García, fashion editor of Elle magazine. García is also Bogotá Fashion Week’s international ambassador.

One of the many aspects that sets BFW apart from other fashion trade fairs in the hemisphere is an academic focus where guests can participate in conversations with a panel of industry experts, or in talks focused on marketing, e-commerce branding, the impact of social media for reaching consumers and good corporate governance, among other topics.

For Mónica de Greiff, President of the Bogotá Chamber of Commerce, Bogotá Fashion Week is a celebration of local talent, but also a window on Bogotá where 35,000 companies are dedicated to the fashion cluster. By expanding the international participation of buyers at the fair, the hard work of Colombian designers is rewarded with greater visibility in print magazines and on digital platforms.

“We are committed to this cluster and by accompanying our designers we contribute to the entrepreneurial growth and prosperity of the city and region,” she said.

The garment trade in Bogotá occupies the largest segment of the CCB’s registered companies with close to 27,000 or 80%, with leather accounting for 7,000 companies.

Even though jewelry comes third with 1,600, it is one of the sectors that attracts plenty of international attention given the diversity of materials and craftsmanship. With 40% of the Colombian fashion market concentrated in the capital, Bogotá Fashion Week helps designers consolidate a business vision, and by “pushing the thread” – as this year’s slogan reads – fashion also guarantees dignified and sustainable employment to thousands across the city and region.

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