What do you want Americans to know about both the country of Colombia and Colombian fashion?
The best Colombian export is talent: talents in very different fields such as sports, literature, arts, business, entertainment, and, of course, in the creative disciplines such as fashion. After many years of conflicts and bad press, we are ready to achieve our potential—supported by our strategic location, a variety of natural resources, and the shockproof spirit of our people.
Regarding fashion, Colombia was a big producer of textiles and well-known for production and manufacturing, but the design component was missing. Many researchers associate the repositioning of our country as a fashion force in the region with my achievements as a fashion designer, being the first Latina to be invited to show my collections at Milan and Paris fashion weeks. This is a sustained motivation to continue opening doors and inspiring the new generation of Colombian designers.
For many upstart brands, landing on Net-a-Porter would earn well-deserved bragging rights. But when it comes to Silvia Tcherassi, I personally think it should be the other way around: It's Net-a-Porter that should be boasting about securing an exclusive with the designer, who's armed with a staggering 25 years of experience and a cult following in Colombia and Spain (where she already has brick-and-mortar boutiques).
Tcherassi's Net-a-Porter launch in November 2017 marked the first time the brand was available on a global retailer. Since then, the family-run label has spread like wildfire, with many pieces selling out and her colorful clothes popping up all over Instagram. "Amazing—beyond our expectations," Tcherassi told Who What Wear of the reception since the launch. "The media, influencers, and customers have been very receptive. They have perfectly assimilated our concept of 'casual luxury' and now we have beautiful women around the world wearing Silvia Tcherassi pieces."
Intrigued, I recently set off for Colombia to see what the brand is all about. I was lucky enough to be hosted by Tcherassi and her team in beautiful Cartagena, where the designer runs two impeccable hotels in addition to a stunning brick-and-mortar boutique. (Side note: Is there anything she can't do?) Scroll down to read my exclusive interview with Tcherassi and shop my favorite pieces—and prepare to see a lot more of the brand in the very near future.
How would you personally describe Colombian style? How does your brand fit in with your description?
Colombian women love to dress up, show their femininity, and be on trend. Many years ago, their taste was more conservative and they were afraid to use colors and prints. When I opened my boutique in Bogotá, the windows of the boutiques were full of black solid clothes. Today, they take more risks. I think women, no matter their age or nationality, are looking for uniqueness, and my brand offers a fresh and innovative take—not the traditional styles you will see everywhere. Also, they are on trend, but they have also a timeless feel. Our brand has a strong DNA: We value innovation and transparency and have had a global vision from day one.
Your brand is very much family-run. Why is that important to you? What roles do your family members play?
This is an independent luxury brand supported by a family business since the beginning. My mother, Vera, has been my partner in this venture. Her vision and contagious optimism motivate me. After my son, Mauricio, finished his business studies, he joined the company. He started the improvement of our digital operation, including our online store and the relaunch of our social media and digital marketing operation. He is also leading the development of our wholesale operation. My daughter, Sofia, is studying fashion at Parsons and has been a great support in the creative side of the business. She has her own point of view, and her feedback and contributions are very important to me.
Why did you choose Cartagena to open your two hotels?
The original plan was Bogotá, and we checked some properties, but then we discovered a beautiful colonial house located in the historic center of Cartagena. The house had a lot of potential, and we changed directions—address and zip code to be more accurate. We created an oasis, surrounded by vertical gardens, to be inspired. Cartagena is unique, beautiful, and daring in a very particular way. I hope you felt the energy and good vibes floating in the air. The tourists feel at home because the locals are very open, happy, and cordial—the Caribbean hospitality at its finest.
This press trip was paid for by Silvia Tcherassi. Editors' opinions are her own.