Up and Coming Latin American Designers

When the average American thinks of LatinX clothing, they usually think of stereotypical tropical-influenced prints and bold colors. But there’s a lot more to Latin American designers than that.

Several LatinX designers have been taking off in recent years. Though the typical American may not know about them yet, those who follow fashion and couture have had their eyes on them for some time. These designers are not only changing the world’s view of what Latin American fashion is, but they’re also influencing the larger fashion world in general.

Johanna Ortiz

Johanna Ortiz’s success looks like it happened overnight, but in reality, it took 15 years of growing her brand. The Colombian designer’s luxury gypset dresses, with a boho, slinky mixture of fabrics and ruffles, came to international attention just a few years ago after a co-founder of Moda Operandi saw someone at a wedding wearing Ortiz’s design and sent Ortiz to New York.

What sets Ortiz apart is her commitment to real women– Ortiz, who describes herself as a typical Latina, “short and curvy,” tries on every design to make sure it looks and feels good– and her celebration of South American spirit, with vibrant colors and unabashed femininity. She also has a bridal collection available.

Ortiz is also committed to giving back to her community. Instead of outsourcing her factories, she keeps them in Colombia, hiring locals to work in them. She helps local women rise by teaching them couture sewing techniques through her nonprofit, Semillero.

Silvia Tcherassi

Another Colombian woman, Silvia Tcherassi, has been poised to break out in the US. since at least 2013 after 25 years in the fashion business. She blends unexpected fabrics, like neoprene, normally used in things like wetsuits, with high-end materials.

Tcherassi notes that Colombia has long been a big producer of textiles, but only recently has had some designers start leading the way in fashion. Tcherassi has been helping to show the world that Latina fashion is not monolithic. “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.”

Angel Sanchez

Venezuelan-born designer Angel Sanchez first trained as an architect before switching into fashion, a skill he learned from his mother, his first business partner. His designs are often called architectural, with highly structured dresses, particularly his wedding gown line. More recently, his move to Miami caused him to start creating dresses with a more resort-like flow. Sanchez is known for dressing celebrities like Eva Longoria but also for his loyalty to his clients, putting their needs above him trying to be a celebrity himself.  He says, “I owe being here, the fact of that continuity, to all those loyal clients, the clients that don’t simply use you because now you are the ‘it’ designer and the next season use another one.”

Esteban Cortazar

Esteban Cortazar is a young Colombian-born designer who’s becoming very popular worldwide. Cortazar travels in class. Now based in Paris, Cortazar cites his Versace-period upbringing in Miami as a strong influence. Cortazar’s Spring 2019 collection features summer-ready looks with sumptuously draped fabric and muted sunset colors. The clothes look like something suitable to throw on over swimsuits or to wear on their own.

These Latin American designers are leaving their mark on the world and changing fashion. You can find similar Latin American designs at ByMalka, and be among the first to adopt the newest trends in fashion!


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Interview with Flipando!

  • First of all, the name! People are obsessed with the name, who came up with it and why?

FLIPANDO is a term used in Spain when something is out of this world! Laura came up with the name, she wanted people to feel this way when they saw FLIPANDO’s designs.


  • Two sisters, one company. How has it been working together?

It has been an incredible opportunity, when we united we gave FLIPANDO a new beginning, where we both focus on a same goal. We complement each other perfectly when designing, innovating and always keeping the brand’s identity and essence.


  • Where does your inspiration come from?

We are inspired by various ancestral cultures and places in the world, this is our main source of creativity where we then transform into unique geometric shapes and designs.


  • Tell us a little bit about your design/fashion background

Laura is technologist in jewelry production and has always had talent and ability for manual arts, she is FLIPANDO’s creator

Ana Maria is an industrial designer and fashion designer with over 8 years in work experience in costume design.


  • How does Colombia influence your jewelry?

Our indigenous cultures are the ones which most inspire us, from pre-Columbian metal works to knitting techniques and color palettes.


  • Your packaging, is just brilliant! Unique, sophisticated and you can almost play with it. How did you come up with this clever packaging?

Ana Maria was the one who came up with all the ideas behind our logo and packaging. Our logo is based in origami shapes and composed by different geometric shapes that combined create FLIPANDO’s emblematic bird. We wanted to reflect this among the package, for the user to be able to play and create modular forms, shapes and designs. We also wanted to eliminate the use of glue within the packages.


  • How do you stay creative?

We are always seeking new methods, materials and ideas to generate new techniques and designs within our brand, we are always innovating!

Colombian Design Keeps Rising!

Colombia’s creative boom is not only wowing the whole country, or South American continent, but the whole world!

Generally speaking, Latin American designers are having a great moment, with more exposure than ever before! But Colombia has mesmerized everyone with its Johana Ortiz ruffles, Aquazzura heels and Esteban Cortazar sophistication. These are only three of the great brands being showcased at the best stores around the globe like Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman, Barneys, Harrods, Harvey Nichols, Intermix, Neiman Marcus among others. But others are starting to emerge as well, Silvia Tcherassi has fascinated us with her most recent collections inspired by Colombian heritage and Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s literature. Stephanie Mattos, creative director from La Couture Maison impeccable taste has captured everyone’s eye, specially Nina Garcia who recently wore one of her pieces.

From our very own designers: Laura Davila golden daring pieces have been spotted multiple times on celebrities like Louise Roe and Caroline Vreeland. Palma Canaria has completely changed the meaning of a “strawbag” by innovating these baskets with new materials, shapes and interventions. Tres Almas latest Divas Embroidery Collection has been one of the must have statement earrings of the year, and lets not even begin talking about Daniela Salcedo’s success with her evil eye rings, star earrings and now lip earrings!

When you own a unique handmade piece (which we value tremendously), that has all this story, tradition and work behind it, you can feel it! It just gives it a complete different meaning and aesthetic to the whole outfit! Which is the reason why we think the overall response to all these emerging designers has been so positive.

At By Malka we are continuously working on adding new emerging designers from all over Latin America, and share all this talent, designs and passion with you!

The Faces Behind Palma Canaria

On this Women’s International Day, we interviewed two women who we admire immensely and have done a fabulous job at creating their own line.

Palma Canaria has only been around for a couple of months and has already given a new meaning to beach accessories, these are not only beach accessories, these are fun and fashionable pieces which can be worn during day and night, beach or city. Learn more about the mother-daughter duo, who have created the must-have pool and beach(or city) accessories every girl wants!

What inspired you to launch Palma Canaria?

Palma Canaria was inspired by Colombian artisans and their powerful and diverse talent, and our interest for fashion and design. We saw a huge potential in our artisans for them to bring to life our designs, and still be a piece that shows our culture and the good vibes we have. 

Why the name “Palma Canaria”?

We chose the name Palma Canaria because for us it sound cheerful and tropical, and the main raw material we use is palm leafs so we felt it really special. 

How would you describe the Palma Canaria customer?

Our customers are women who like to have fun, to take risks and that like to own exclusive pieces. They are travelers, dreamers and fashion lovers.

Where did the inspiration for the messages and quotes come from?

FUN. FUN. FUN . Our inspiration is seeing people smile or even laugh when they read our quotes. Or even feeling inspired, and feel the need to get away. Life and Happiness are our main messages we like to transmit. 

What respective strengths do you each bring to the design process?

Monica is the creative and active part of Palma Canaria. She has many wonderful ideas everyday, and most of them are the ones you are seeing. Juliana executes Monica’s ideas and organizes the business plan to make everything possible. 

What is the best thing about working with your mother/daughter?

Its really and adventure. We are knowing different facets and sides that we really didn’t know about ourselves and about each other. The best part is that you cant’s trust anyone more than your mother or your daughter, and you are working for each other best interest. Its a new phase as entrepreneurs and we can’t feel more comfortable and happy about sharing these moments together. 

Monica and Juliana are a clear example that what is done with love is done well, very well.

Beach Approved: Palma Canaria

Palma Canaria is the most recent creation of mother-daughter duo Monica Arbelaez and Juliana Quintero, who have designed the trendiest pool and beach essentials every Colombian fashionista wants right now.

Their unique designs are a refreshing alternative for those who want classic yet fun pieces with catchy words like: “HOT”, “WHATEVER”, “AMOUR” and our favorite “LA FANTASTICA” referring to Colombia’s Caribbean magical city Cartagena La Fantastica.  Some clutches or pieces also have inspiring poetry passages as well as creative figures such was lemons, flamingos, watermelons, crabs and other tropical creatures or elements.

Monica and Juliana design from beach bags, handbags, clutches to hats, espadrilles and hand fans.  Each item is 100% handcrafted in natural iraca palm fiber by Colombian artisans.

This is only Palma Canaria’s first collection, and we can help but want EVERYTHING!