LATELIER was born out of my love for telling stories about the places and people I have met while traveling and recognizing a need for a more sustainable and ethical fashion industry. While studying Trend Research, I began my research on the fast fashion business and was heart broken to find out how devastating it actually is (and that I had been unknowingly contributing to it for so long!!)
LATELIER means “latin american studio”. The name comes from the French word “L’atelier” which means “the studio”. “LAT” stems from Latin America (where our products are made).
I grew up traveling between Los Angeles and Colombia, where my father is from. In 2015 I decided to move to Bogota, Colombia where I lived for four years. Colombia has a very special place in my heart: it’s rich in life and the culture is so vibrant. There really is no place like it. I also LOVE Mexico. Their craftsmanship is unmatched, the colors, the sounds, the food; everything is beautiful there!
My most satisfying moment was working with the Kuna women (an indigenous tribe from Colombia), sharing my ideas on how to share their story and seeing how happy and excited they were to have a platform that also respected the integrity of their ancient art.
My first collection was made in collaboration with Kuna tribe, an indigenous group from Colombia who use elaborately colored and hand stitched textiles, calledMolas to share their oral history, as well as leather artisans to make one of a kind leather jackets.
My second collection is made in Mexico, with a co-op of women who hand weave our bags using recycled plastic and traditional Oaxacan weaving techniques.
The work I do with these communities is always to honor and preserve their craft, history, and culture. A large part of the collaboration is anthropology: understanding how and why their craft is rooted in their culture and its significance. For me, it is very important to spend time with the artisans and learn why and how they started.
Respecting the integrity of their craft is of utmost importance for LATELIER. I always want to give the artisans full creative control to express themselves and their culture through their art.
Anticipate loss and accept imperfections (especially if your stuff is handmade-- it makes them more beautiful!) You might spend a significant amount of time and money on something that doesn’t work and you’ll have to change direction.That’s totally okay. It’s part of the process and it’s all a learning experience. Sustainable fashion is still an industry under development and everyone is learning as they go along.
LATELIER style is rich in color and culture. They are statement pieces that strike up conversations and each piece tells a unique story. My hope is that each piece has an origin that the wearer continues to add to with their own story.
The best occasion to wear LATELIER is when you want to connect with cultural pieces and share its history!
I love everything we make but the first jacket I ever designed and had made is my favorite. It came out perfectly the first time around, made of the most beautiful golden suede. It doesn’t have any molas on it, but it was made with so much skill and love by a leather artisan in Bogota.
My favorite book is The Shadows of the Wind, by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, a Catalan writer. The book is a gothic novel about life in Barcelona during the 50s. It’s very romantic and mysterious. I was actually reading it while I was developing the initial ideas for LATELIER. I wouldn’t say it inspired the brand, but I remember I was definitely thinking about the characters a lot while I worked!