Meet Laura Buitrago, Tottem’s designer and creator. With only a few months after graduating from Parsons in New York City, she has already developed hew own brand featuring vivid and unique straw bags!
Why did you decide to launch your own brand?
Fashion is a language of its own; it is a visual way to tell a story, to show a culture and to create emotion. By creating my own brand, I would have the possibility to show Colombia to the world and to make each person create a link to the beautiful country I was born in. Through Tottem I could tell millions of stories of all that Colombia has to offer, with design I would be able to communicate all the beauty in Colombia that is unseen.
Where did the name “Tottem” come from?
A totem is a natural object, an iconic symbol representing a particular culture, tribe or individual. More than being a cultural object, totems are an artistic expression that seek to symbolically represent a particular person, and thus give a meaning to the attributes of who identifies with this object.
TOTTEM allows its pieces to be insignias and emblems of identity of each person, according to their tastes, preferences and fashion sense. We want that with TOTTEM you can tell a story through original designs that represent in an exceptional way the identity of their owners.
Which is Tottem’s it girl? Who do you design for?
Tottem doesn’t set a standard of an It girl, Tottem allows every girl to be her own It girl.
The Tottem Girl:
With a dreamy heart, hopeful of finding peace and tranquility where she goes, The TOTTEM woman enjoys life at full.
Joy shines in her eyes and her smile reflects the grace of her being.
She wakes up with a salute to the sun and thanks for her life.
Each day is like a blank new page, ready to be fill stories to tell.
This is the TOTTEM woman, a STORYTELLER of life.
She is not a dancer, but she has movement. She is a BOOM of energy, causing an impact whereever she goes.
She feeds her good humor and infects those who surround her.
She is a BEING OF LIGHT, her presence radiates tranquility and inner peace.
She know what to say, because she always have the right words to give good advice and convey love for others.
She has no amulets, no objects of good luck.
While her clothing is a reflection of her personality, she is a woman detached from the material. Her taste goes beyond attraction, she seeks a special bond in everything that surrounds her.
Each element of life fills her with energy and gives her happiness.
In her world there is no white and black, she visualize her day painted in thousands of COLORS! .. TOTTEM is a quiet language, a secure mind, a noble heart, a loving soul, she lives in joyful landscapes and has endless stories to tell.
What inspires your designs?
After I came back home from living in New York, I started appreciating what I had been taking for granted while I grew up. Discovering this appreciation for my culture and the art that had lived with me all my life inspired me to design this first collection for Tottem. The pompeya flooring, the tall palmtrees, the colorful flowers, the joy of the Colombian people and the beauty of handmade, imperfect (yet perfect) craft of the artisans of my country were all inspirations for this collection.
For example, In the Sevilla Bag you will find patters of Pompeya tiles, in our Mucura Lunchbox the influence of tropical flowers and through all of our designs you will see how the energy and joy of the Colombian people are captured by the usage of bright colors.
What is your dream for Tottem?
I want to built a Tottem tribe! I want girls to not only be identified with their Tottem, but to feel empowered and unique while they carry a peace of Colombia. Make them feel like even though they might not know the place, they can identify with it, its happy people, its colorful surroundings and the most contagious positive energy.
I want girls all over the world to join us!