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Colombia is a beautiful country in so many ways: amazing landscapes, unique nature, diverse culture. Yet there’s a lot more to Colombia than what the guidebooks focus on. The country is also home to a burgeoning fashion scene, with a plethora of fashion events, unique boutiques, and one-of-a-kind items. So here’s a fashion lover’s guide to Colombia.
If you’re a true fashion-obsessed traveller then you might want to schedule your trip to coincide with one of Colombia’s most important fashion events. The granddaddy of the lot is ColombiaModa, an annual event which takes place every July, and is commonly called ‘Colombia’s Fashion Week’. It is held in Medellin and is the biggest fashion expo in Latin America, with over 2,000 international and Colombian buyers and 60,000 visitors in attendance. In short, if you’re into fashion and planning a trip to Colombia, then you shouldn’t miss ColombiaModa.
The other big Colombian fashion event is Bogotá Fashion Week, a relatively new event seeking to establish the Colombian capital as a global fashion destination. It is also the first ever major fashion event to be held at an international airport – Bogotá’s El Dorado airport to be exact – and features runway shows, fashion events and lectures.
Any real fashion lover won’t be able to take a trip anywhere, least of all Colombia, without coming back with a few new items to add to their collection. The good news is that there are plenty of excellent fashionable items which can be purchased in Colombia. Arguably the most popular are the iconic Wayuu mochila bags: colourful woven bags made by the Indigenous Wayuu people of the Caribbean Guajira region. These beautiful bags have become quite the fashion statement worldwide in recent years, and in Colombia you see them for sale at reasonable prices all over the place. The best place to buy one, however, is directly from the talented women who make them in La Guajira.
Many major Colombian cities are also home to some excellent fashion boutiques. Cartagena, in particular, is an extremely fashionable city: boutique designer stores like Silvia Tcherassi, St. Dom, and Casa Chiqui are amazing places to pick up cutting-edge Colombian designs that you won’t find anywhere else. Medellin is also home to excellent boutiques such as Makeno and Tigre de Salon. As the capital city, Bogotá is blessed with plenty of excellent fashion boutiques: Olga Piedrahita and Amelia Toro are particular standouts.
Another top fashion item to check out in Colombia is an authentic Colombian emerald – Colombia produces over 80 percent of the world’s emeralds so there is no better place to buy a beautiful piece of emerald jewellery than right at the source. Shops like Lucy Jewelry in Cartagena, or Bogotá’s emerald district are the places to go to take home a beautiful emerald of your own.