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Right in the heart of La Paz’ bustling tourist district lies Mistura, a concept boutique that exclusively sells creative designs from homegrown Bolivian talent. The store is something of a novelty in La Paz, as most boutique competitors pride themselves on stocking the latest trends from overseas. Mistura, on the other hand, only offers locally designed products that proudly incorporate Bolivian heritage into the modern 21st century lifestyle.
Mistura first opened its doors in 2013, the result of a collaborative effort from a group of hardworking entrepreneurial friends. From the outset, their vision was to empower local designers by creating a physical marketplace to sell a range of high quality products with a distinctly Bolivian flavor. Like most businesses, the concept boutique started small with only 14 designers and a limited array of products at launch. However, it has expanded substantially over last few years, largely thanks to the strong business sense and determination of manager Luisa Campero. Mistura now sells a respectable range of carefully curated fashion, home wares and handicrafts from a pool of over 80 up-and-coming and already established local designers.
The word ‘mistura’ translates to mixture, a suitable name considering the store strives to celebrate all aspects of Bolivian culture. Testimony to this is its logo which features two young boys standing side by side – one from the country and one from the city. The logo represents one of the great contrasts of Bolivia, the vast difference between modern city living and long-established campesino (countryside) traditions.
A common goal among Mistura’s chosen designers is to discover innovative new ways to interweave Andean traditions and western designs, creating unique garments and accessories that appeal to both foreign tourists and local bohemian youth. So far this vision has proven successful, with the store’s stylish alpaca sweaters, books, hats, soaps, jewelry, t-shirts and other artisanal goods creating a buzz among their intended audience.
There are plenty of other stores on Calle Sagarnaga that exclusively sell Bolivian designs. A quick wander down this cobblestone souvenir mecca reveals a multitude of stores bursting with colorful locally designed alpaca apparel and other tourist knickknacks. But Mistura has a real point of difference – the blending of indigenous culture with chic modernity. It effortlessly amalgamates countryside traditions with contemporary urban tastes through a range of attractive artisanal goods. As their slogan goes, ‘It is a creative manifestation that speaks for itself.’