Colombiamoda 2012: Fashion And Culture In Colombia

colombia fashion For those with an interest in travel, fashion and culture, Colombia hosted their annual Colombiamoda fashion event this past week, from July 24-26. The event is world-renowned, with over 30,000 industry professionals from 46 countries coming from all over the world to attend. In fact, Colombiamoda is such an important happening; it helped place Medellin on the map as the “fashion capital of Colombia.”

It’s not just attractive models and high-end retailers that make Colombiamoda such a hit, but the fact that fashion and textiles play a very important role in the city. Medellin is often considered the industrial capital of Colombia, with textiles being one of their biggest areas of commerce. Fifty-three percent of total exports of finished clothing go to countries like the United States, Costa Rica, Venezuela, Ecuador and Europe. Moreover, the industry generates 30 percent of Medellin’s employment.

%Gallery-161283%The event is also important because of Colombia’s stance as a major influence on world fashion. For one, garments are high quality and unique but cost very little to make. Additionally, many popular brands are produced there, such as Abercrombie & Fitch, Calvin Klein, Dockers, Gap, Levi Strauss, Polo Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger. Locals take great pride in their city’s reputation, and designers at the show often have their garments reflect the culture and lifestyle of Colombia.

Visitors also got a taste of Mexican fashion from international guest and designer Christian Cota, who based his pieces on the story of an American girl in love with Mexican culture. Cota used craft traditions of the Aztec country roots and handmade garments for his creations.

Looking to attend other major fashion events during fashion season? Upcoming Fashion Weeks include:

  • New York- September 6 to 13, 2012
  • London- September 14 to 18, 2012
  • Milan- September 18 to 24, 2012
  • Paris- September 25 to October 3, 2012
  • Tokyo- October 14 to 24, 2012

As of now, Colombiamoda 2013 is set for July 23 to 25. For a more visual idea of the event, check out the gallery above.

[photos via Proexport]

6 ways to crash New York Fashion Week

new york fashion week

Twice a year, Manhattan’s streets are flooded with high heels, red lips, and designer clothing as the world’s fashion community descends upon the city for New York Fashion Week.

The week-long event, officially called Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week (nod to sponsors), runs from February 9 to 16 and will feature presentations by some of the world’s most famous fashion designers of their Fall/Winter 2012 collections. The runway shows are invitation-only, with most seats reserved for press, buyers, and friends of the designer. The after-parties are equally exclusive, with tight guest lists and strict door policies.

But although it’s a mostly closed event, it is possible for New York visitors and residents to get in on the action. Here are six ways to “crash” Fashion Week from outside the industry.

1. Park yourself at Lincoln Center. Since 2010, the hub of New York Fashion Week has been Lincoln Center, after the organizers abandoned the traditional tents at Bryant Park. Throughout Fashion Week, the plaza outside the center is a flurry of activity, with a constant stream of people entering and exiting while paparazzi fight for photos of celebrities and socialites. Bundle up, grab a spot, and feel the energy.

2. Check out Fashion Week’s other venues. Milk Studios, in Chelsea, is the unofficial second main venue of Fashion Week, hosting shows for designers like Peter Som and Cushnie et Ochs throughout the week. Other designers choose to hold their shows at more off-beat (and open) locations. Victoria Beckham, for instance, will be showing her latest line at the New York Public Library, while the 3.1 Phillip Lim show will be held on the Highline. A full schedule, with locations, is available from NYMag.com.

3. Visit the FIT Museum’s new exhibit. The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology will host the first-ever exhibition celebrating the work of the Council for American Fashion Designers from February 10 to April 20. Titled Impact: Fifty Years of the CFDA, the exhibit will feature more than 100 garments from the council’s most impactful designers, including Diane von Furstenberg, Oscar de la Renta, Halston, Donna Karan, Calvin Klein, Marc Jacobs, and other fashion heavy-hitters. Admission to the museum is free.

4. Explore the Garment District. The Garment District, located right smack in midtown, is the historic center of New York’s fashion industry. A daytime stroll will find you in the midst of truck deliveries, rolling clothing racks, and anxious interns running errands, and the energy multiplies during Fashion Week. Stay alert, and you may even recognize a familiar face; I spotted designer Anna Sui during a recent visit.


5. Reserve a room at a stylish hotel. It used to be that New York’s most fashionable nightlife was centered around the Meatpacking District, but not any more. This season, Fashion Week’s notorious after-parties will be held in venues across Manhattan, and many of the most stylish hotspots are hidden in hotels. While reserving a room won’t guarantee entrance to the events, it might certainly help. Start with the Ace Hotel, the Hotel Gansevoort, the Gramercy Park Hotel, the brand new Dream Downtown Hotel, and the always risque Standard Hotel.

6. Watch on Facebook. The democratization of fashion continues on Facebook, where people around the world can snag front row seats to shows from designers like Michael Kors, Betsey Johnson, Narciso Rodriguez, Jill Stuart, and BCBGMAXAZRIA. Sure, it’s by live video stream, but until you’re a famous fashion blogger, it’ll have to do.

[Flickr images via Art Comments, Paul Lowry and Jimmy Baikovicius, other image via Fashion Institute of Technology]

First U.S. shopping festival arrives Chicago this summer

chicago shoppingImpulse buyers, hang on to your wallets. The nation’s first shopping festival is being held this summer along Chicago’s Magnificent Mile, and it’s looking to be quite the extravagant affair.

Organized by The Greater North Michigan Avenue Association, In-Fashion: The Magnificent Mile Shopping Festival™ begins on Friday, August 26th with an interactive celebrity event featuring renowned stylist and television star, Carson Kressley (best known for his styling efforts from Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, a regular guest on Oprah Winfrey’s shows, and host of the new make-over show Carson-Nation).

The Chicago shopping celebration will also include appearances by top designers (who haven’t been announced yet), celebrity chefs and personal stylists. Trunk shows and sample sales will also take place. Note to potential festival goers: if you don’t know what trunk shows and sample sales are, please hand your measurements over to someone who does and let them manage the shopping scene.

In-Fashion: The Magnificent Mile Shopping Festival, is taking its cue from other shopping festivals that occur around the world in international cities including Dubai, Singapore, and Cannes. The Chicago festival will also include events by local restaurants and retailers, and there will be a raffle that rewards lucky winners luxury prizes including a 5-night stay at the Fairmont Chicago Millennium Park valued at $20,000.

The event kicks off Aug. 26 and concludes on Sept. 8 with Chicago’s version of Fashion’s Night Out.

Five “fashionable” museum exhibits for those who can’t make it to New York Fashion Week

museum exhibits - smithsonian museum of american historyCan’t make it to Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York City? Never fear – these fashionable museum exhibits will help you get your fix.

We’ve heard of a museum where you can touch the goods – but what about one where you can smell them? The Museum of Arts & Design in New York City has hired former New York Times perfume critic Chandler Burr to head their “Center of Olfactory Art” as well as its inaugural exhibit, “The Art of Scent, 1889 – 2001,” opening in November 2011.

The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts is offering a retrospective of famed designer Jean Paul Gautier entitled The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk.” It opens June 17.

New York’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum is offering a more timely (at least for those sad about missing NYFW) look at big-time bling with, “Set in Style: The Jewelry of Van Cleef & Arpels.” It opens February 18.

New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art is paying tribute to Alexander McQueen with “Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty.” It opens May 4.

You don’t have to wait to see Washington D.C.’s finest fashions on display. Simply visit the for the “First Ladies at the Smitsonian” exhibit, a permanent gallery that has long been one of the museum’s most popular.

If you do make it to New York, look out for the Stylist Mobile Makeover Bus that will be parked outside the Lincoln Center tents.

Six ways to enjoy Madison Square Park

Manhattan has a lot of great parks – but a handful tends to hog all the attention. Central Park is what it is; there’s just now way to compare it to anything else. Bryant Park has live performances and exhibitions (not to mention a starring role in Fashion Week) and is only a block from Times Square. And, there are others that would come to mind before you work your way down the list to one of my favorite open spaces in the city: Madison Square Park.

Don’t be misled – this park is nowhere near the “garden” of the same name. It sits between East 23d Street and East 26th Street and between Madison Avenue and Fifth Avenue, in a small pocket of New York that most visitors tend to skip. So, catch the R or W train to the East 23d Street stop, and get ready to enjoy Madison Square Park in six different ways.

1. Take care of two buildings at once
The uniquely shaped Flatiron Building is right across the intersection from the southwest corner of the park, where Fifth Avenue and Broadway meet. What you may not realize, though, is that the northwest corner of the park (East 26th Street and Fifth Avenue) provides a great view of the Empire State Building. Crowds tend to form, for some reason, during morning rush hour (which sucks for the locals). Also, avoid lunch hour and evenings, as people who work nearby will get in the way of your shot.

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2. Watch some television – live
It’s not unusual to find camera crews in and around Madison Square Park. Plenty of shows shot in New York use the space. So, while you wander through, you may be lucky enough to bump into one of your faves.

3. Go to the bathroom
If you aren’t fortunate enough to spot a celeb, drink some water. This will have the predictable effect and send you to one of only a handful of self-cleaning public toilets in the New York City. It’s on the southeast corner of Madison Square Park, and a quarter buys you 15 minutes. That should be plenty of time to take interior photos of the device that guest-starred on CSI:NY.

4. Enjoy some art
There’s always a public art display of some kind in Madison Square Park. Right now, it’s Markers, an installation by Mel Kendrick, a Boston-born artist who’s now a resident of New York. This project consists of five pieces reflect the “rippling surfaces contain the fossil memory of the actions taken over time.” Like almost all the public art in Madison Square Park, Kendrick’s installation is definitely worth a look.

5. Grab a bite
Sure, it’s tempting to head over to the storied Shake Shack in the southeast corner of Madison Square Park (near the toilet/TV star/murderer). But, if you’re looking for a substantial, enjoyable sit-down meal, go up to Ben & Jack’s Steakhouse, a few blocks north on East 28th Street and Fifth Avenue. Definitely make the ribeye your meal (it was amazing), but you’d be nuts not to start with the seafood platter. Take your time, and rest your feet for a bit, especially if you’ve been wandering around the city all day. The staff is attentive and accommodating, and they will not rush you. This is a great alternative to the long waits and hope-you-can-pull-it-off reservation situations at the steakhouses in mid-town. And, the dark-wooded interior drives home the insider feel that makes any steak dinner in Manhattan complete.

6. Grab a cigar (for those inclined)
For many, the only way to finish a hefty steak dinner is with a cigar. Go local with a stick from Martinez Cigars, a few blocks away on West 29th Street and Seventh Ave. Grab a maduro, and go back to the park (while you can still smoke there). If nobody’s around, chill for a bit on the new pedestrian area just west of Madison Square Park.