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Latino Fashion Week: Kick-Off Event

Latino Fashion Week 2013 kicked off Oct. 1 with designers flown in from Guadalajara, Mexico to feature their designs at Block 37.

Latino Fashion Week was celebrated  with the sounds of salsa and cumbia at Block 37 on State Street. The theme of the night was, “Made by Latinos for everyone.” A unique display of local and international designers showed off their unique, contemporary and traditional designs that reflect Latino culture.

The array of talent was refreshing to see in a city not known for it’s fashion statements. Personally my favorite part of the kick off event was not the runway but rather the talented designers that were flown in from Guadalajara, Mexico.

A spacious, poorly lit arena was the backdrop for the designers. A section of the floor space called the Fashion Lounge was where designers from Guadalajara, Jalisco on the South coast of Mexico, were flown in to show their designs.

They displayed their creations in the Fashion Lounge. Although the designers complained about the poor lighting, they were excited to show off their designs to the Chicago community.

Some got close and touched the fabrics and beading of the clothing to see the talent – the poor lighting made it necessary. Emmy award-winning designer María Rosario Mendoza was a highlight. Her design house, Takasami, in Guadalajara has built quite a profile in Mexico and abroad. Her clothing is often made from cotton and light fabrics. Typically, her designs contain an element of Mexican culture.

“The women are inspired by what’s around them,” she explained. “The blues on our fabric prints are a reflection of our blue sky or the rivers near our town. The greens are inspired by tree’s and fields of grass. We don’t make clothing for the everyday woman. We make ensembles for the special events in our lives: a child’s christening or a special party. That’s the inspiration that drives us to create a beautiful crafted piece of clothing.”

Designs by Karol Barrero
Designer Karol Barrero updated the classic Hollywood glamour look for Latino Fashion Week 2013.

The fashion show started with a celebrity runway walk, featuring anchors and television reporters from the local NBC, CBS, ABC and Univision stations. Their cat walks were not glamorous – and they knew that. They were true Chicago celebrities having fun, high-fiving each other, supporting designers and doing what they could to show off the designs.

Some designers were better than others. The best designs for me, were by Karol Barrero. Her collection is a reflection of Hollywood glamour.

Her designs were a perfect fit for any modern day Elizabeth Taylor or Audrey Hepburn. Bright red lips, were adorned by the models. Silk whites and black fabrics wrapped tightly into dresses with black and brown fur collars and diamond costume jewelry as the consistent accessory. She updated the elegant, classic look with the cut and fit, making them a little shorter and edgier.

The show displayed several seeds of talent. Talent that in my opinion has the opportunity to take most of the designers to the next level. Events like this may even raise Chicago’s profile in the fashion industry.

Latino Fashion Week continues through Nov. 2. Visit the website for more information on upcoming events.



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