Politics, Business & Culture in the Americas
AQ Top 5

Meet Latin America’s Top 5 Fashion Innovators

Five designers from across Latin America who use clothing to make a statement

Gabriel Guerra Bianchini; Courtesy Idania del Rio; Joe Maher/Getty; Courtesy Carla Fernández; Courtesy Esteban Cortázar

This article is adapted from AQ’s special report on Latin America’s armed forces.

Fed up with everything from corruption and inequality to climate change, Latin Americans spent much of the last year venting their frustrations – and making demands of policymakers – on the streets. But there is more than one way to stage a protest. 

AQ’s latest Top 5 highlights fashion innovators from across the region who use clothing to reflect their changing societies and offer an outlet for the public’s inner aspirations. 

In Brazil, Isaac Silva confronts racism with multicolored creations and an all-black cast of models to “compensate for the long reign of only white, thin people in fashion.” In Bolivia, Rosario Aguilar elevates cholitas’ social standing though amazing designs that have grabbed global attention. 

Our list also includes Carla Fernández, who from a young age found inspiration in Mexican indigenous art – and turned that into collaboration with local artisans. For Esteban Cortázar, who started his career at just 17, dressing Beyoncé was one step toward supporting his fellow Colombian designers in finding their own voice. Finally, there’s Idania del Rio, who despite the U.S. embargo developed the first Cuban-based fashion brand that sells to a global audience.

One seam at a time, these innovators are creating a new tapestry of Latin American style.

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Any opinions expressed in this piece do not necessarily reflect those of Americas Quarterly or its publishers.
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