Being a meeting point for designers from different Central American and Latin American countries, Costa Rica Fashion Week continues to consolidate itself as an obligatory stop on the fashion map. Its promotion of local and international talent, combined with a firm commitment to sustainability and environmental care, makes this event one of the most promising platforms in the entire American continent. We travelled to San José last week to attend its latest edition, held from October 27 to 29 at the Antigua Aduana.
Having been in the industry for more than 20 years, Costa Rica Fashion Week is determined to champion sustainability and regenerative design on the international map of the fashion sector. A vision that, beyond fashion, we can extrapolate to the entire economy of the country, which in 2021 covered more than 99.9% of its electricity demand with renewable energies. Travelling to the Central American country makes you realise the respect for the environment promoted by the population and local authorities, who are fully aware of the need to make the planet a better place and fight to preserve their impressive natural landscapes and unique ecosystems in the world.
However, the Costa Rica Fashion Week team led by its general director Karina Díaz knows that it is not enough to spread the work of local designers among the national population. It is necessary to broaden the horizons, invite creatives from different countries to participate in the catwalk and make the press, guests and international buyers part of the event. Devoting their efforts to making this event a global reference platform, more and more brands are betting on the Costa Rican catwalk to unveil their collections, in an interesting scene in which we also find fashion weeks in Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Brazil or Argentina.
It is enough to look at the official calendar of this latest edition to corroborate that the efforts are having an effect. Designers from more than a dozen countries have gathered at Antigua Aduana, the star location of the Costa Rica Fashion Week, to present their new work and interact with other national and international agents of the industry. Venezuela, Colombia, Honduras, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Spain and of course, Costa Rica, are some of the countries that have been present at this last call, in which an increase in the number of attendees from North America and Europe has also been noted.
Among the international guests, a good example of the strength that the event is gaining and the growing expectation that it generates year after year, we must highlight important personalities from the fashion sector. José Forteza, Senior Editor of Condé Nast Latin America; Claudia Zuleta, Creative Director of the Dominican Republic Fashion Week; George Papa, Founder and President of Readytoshow and Buyer from Milan Fashion Week; Chris Lavish, Global Director of Fashion Week Online: or Jose Ibarra, an expert marketer in international trade and Director of Communication at Settimana Della Moda, a fashion event held in Guatemala, were some of the international guests that we could see throughout the three days of fashion shows. Important figures from the sector travelled to San José to see the collections of the participating designers and support this platform.
Before delving into the collections, in which established and consolidated designers coexist with younger brands and collective fashion shows starring students from different schools, we must also point out the efforts of Costa Rica Fashion Week to make this event an experience that goes beyond fashion. Championing its world-famous motto “Pura Vida”, the fashion platform also seeks to make a country unique in the world known to all those who travel to celebrate their creative talent. A good example of this is the breathtaking views that we could enjoy from the hotel where we stayed, the impressive Hilton San José La Sabana, where nature met at the National Stadium of Costa Rica. Just a few days before our arrival, Daddy Yankee held a massive concert there. Costa Rica is more present than ever in the global creative circuit.
If we immerse ourselves in the collections presented on the catwalk, we must start by applauding the talent of the fashion students from some of the fashion schools who presented their works on the catwalk. Special mention should be made to students of the INA, Instituto Nacional de Aprendizaje, who opened the first day of Costa Rica Fashion Week, as well as the talent shown by the young designers of the Universidad Veritas. The display of the creative power of designers still in training would continue on the second day of shows by Istituto Marangoni. Among all the collections presented by the students, we must highlight the work of Sunset Soul, who showed an exquisite pattern design in which the garments are reimagined, redefining the silhouettes through an interesting shirting exercise.
On the first day, we were also able to enjoy the work of the Costa Rican Kevin Rojas, who presented one of the most daring collections of the entire edition, or the Mexican Jesús de la Garsa, with a sophisticated collection marked by feathers, glitter and feminine elegance. After the Marianela Sandi show, it was the turn of the Venezuelan creative Rodner Figueroa. The acclaimed journalist debuted on the catwalks with his fashion brand at Costa Rica Fashion Week, betting on the country to present his work. Casablanca was the title of his new collection, in which design and functionality meet.
Maison Mesa once again travelled to San José from Spain to take part in the Central American runway, after having presented their last collection a few months ago in Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Madrid. Celebrating the brand's fifth anniversary, their fashion show was undoubtedly one of the most applauded by the public. There was no lack of theatricality and colour, with an outstanding presence of accessories, which hints at the extensive professional career of its creative director, Juan Carlos Mesa, and the passion for fashion demonstrated by the brand with headquarters in Madrid. Diego Guarzino closed the first day of fashion shows.
Among the presentations on the second day of this edition of Costa Rica Fashion Week, we highlight the collection presented by the designer, originally from Honduras and based in Madrid, Duly Romero. Achieving a recognizable aesthetic in which everything is taken care of in detail, the brand continues to grow, betting at all times on the coherence of the project and the search for international expansion. Her voluminous dresses draw inspiration from architecture and sculpture but take these arts to a much more delicate and peaceful terrain through sophisticated fabrics.
We could also see on the runway the Mexican brand No Name, which defends an aesthetic that they refer to as “street couture.” Its Creative Director Jonathan Morales, who has dressed Lady Gaga or the singer Rosé from Blackpink, unveiled his capsule collection, defined by visual stimuli, the mix of vibrant colours with an urban and carefree touch, making his pieces a second skin with its own identity. The day was completed with the shows of the Universidad Creativa, Ka Fashion, Herminas Reea, Amag by Nolys Rodríguez and Leonisa.
From the third and last day of this edition of Costa Rica Fashion Week, we highlight three collections. Specifically, the last three presentations of the day. Venezuelan designer Alejandro Fajardo demonstrated once again why he is one of the most well-known creatives in Latin America with his impressive designs. The Spanish designer Belén Villanueva Dacasa presented for the first time on a fashion week, and she achieved a brilliant result. Unveiling a collection inspired by coffee, an essential element of Costa Rican culture, the creator based in Galicia showed that she has a unique style. Voluminous silhouettes and vibrant colours walked the catwalk in one of the most significant collections of the entire edition. And finally, Andrés Pajón. The Colombian designer closed the day by presenting one of the most complete collections with greater attention to detail and enhancing the female silhouette. Before these three presentations, we saw the work of Adriana Orozco, Posh Couture/ Vicky Tcherrassi, Selfmade, Tiffany Fermín and Mariandrée Gaitán.
Besides the fashion shows, the calendar also included interesting talks and panel discussions by industry experts. Presentations in which the future of fashion was discussed, as well as the role of the designer in the industry today, the challenges faced by journalists in the sector, or how sustainability must be a fundamental value in the vision of all fashion brands. Costa Rica Fashion Week has shown to be determined to make the platform a meeting point for creatives from different countries, a place where different fashion visions coexist. But they all have a common factor: their environmental commitment.
INA (Instituto Nacional de Aprendizaje)
Jesús de la Garsa