It’s no secret that Latinas are breaking down walls and building bridges. After all, Forbes named Sofia Vergara Top Paid TV Actress for 2012. Not only is this a push forward for the Latin community in America and across the world—its just another stepping-stone for women across the board. Proving that when the women of Latin America go Indie, the world watches!
Flechada.com houses some of the best Latin American designers–many of whom are women–whose designs are inspired by and represent Latin America. Although the company is a collaborative effort of married couple Sharon Singer and James Stephenson, it’s the woman’s touch that gives the site its appeal. Flechada is dedicated to offering women a unique experience: a chance to explore and experience Latin America through clothing and accessories.
Sharon got her Masters in Nonprofit Management from NYU, which explains why many of the designers on the site are partners with or work for organizations that help to bring artisanal work from rural communities out into the world. It’s an indie thing, but on a worldwide level.
One of the most beautiful things about some of Flechada’s featured designers is their distinctive capability to transcend the norm while capturing the essence of the Latin mystique.
Nicolita Di Rocco is a marvelous swimwear designer. Taking cues from her Cuban background, her pieces are designed for women who are not afraid of, and are especially not ashamed of their curves. Her line of retro 40’s inspired bikinis are sexy, versatile and bring into light a true iconic sensibility. The youthful ruffles are fun and vivacious, and glamorous enough for any woman, Latina or not, to feel good while wearing them. It’s women designing for women, but the inspiration hails from a historic and cultural standpoint, resulting in the signature Nicolita style.
Diamantina is an exotic handbag brand, poised in producing some of the coolest leather handbags and purses around. Claudia Diamante’s sole purpose is to design for the individual. Her pieces are produced in Argentina where some of the world’s best leathers can be found. Diamantina also prides itself in being a leader in the eco-friendly leather trend—yes, it’s possible! As a designer, Claudia looks for the least intrusive processes for production, using leather from cows that are grown for consumption, so nothing goes to waste. It’s a mix of Fashion and the traditional cattle culture of Argentina. Now this may not be a vegan’s cup of tea, but the effort is not lost. Her ideals as a designer come from her belief that women can express themselves through fashion, and that it can come from sustainable, handcrafted methods.
On another level, there are also the designers who work to bring communities together, and help those who live in poverty to come out on the other side. It’s almost hard to connect fashion with “saving the world”—fashion comes with its controversies after all—but there are some gems out there that have been able to seamlessly sew fashion and social responsibility together.
Stefany Gonzalez is an expert in home design. She founded Jacaranda, a home décor company dedicated to producing beautiful, colorful and vibrant home accessories. The twist here is that her pieces are handcrafted by artisans from Central and South America, providing them with work opportunities they would otherwise not receive, and a sustainable income to support their families. Many of her pieces, like the hand-embroidered pillows, are crafted using traditional techniques and materials. For Jacaranda, it’s more than home décor; it’s a chance to add culture to your home with pieces that tell a story.
What sets apart Flechada from other companies is not just the Latin American connection. It’s the promise that women can find designers with a purpose, who strive to share their culture and help their communities. In the world of women’s fashion, brands like Diamantina, Jacaranda and Nicolita shed a light on a side of the world many have not had the chance to experience. It’s the dawning of a new age, where women, and Latinas at that, can create, inspire, and share through the fashion connection.