In a very short time Latin American Fashion Summit has become a fashion reference, and will take place every year to celebrate Latin American talent. The ten finalists of Pitch to LAFS presented their brand and collections to more than 20 judges.
The winner, Kika Vargas, a Colombian designer, managed to conquer the judges with her marvelous project. The second place was taken by ESCVDO, a sustainable brand of Peruvian origin designed by Chiara Macchiavello, and the third place went to Sandra Weil, a brand of Mexican origin. Pitch to LAFS was created as an opportunity for the selected designers to present their collections to a room filled with the most influential agents in the industry.
Finalists also competed for a $10,000 prize along with the chance to sell their creations at Farfetch and Armarium, as well as receiving advice and mentorship from key influencers from the fashion industry. A total of ten designers from different countries in Latin America were chosen as finalists: No Pise la Grama, Jessica Butrich, Escudo, Kika Vargas, Patricia Padrón, Child of the Universe, Armando Takeda, Sandra Weil, Lorena Saravia and GUiSHEM. Some of the judges were Lisa Smilor, Irma Martínez, Morena Zabeni, Eva Hughes, Amalia Korasidou, Brenda Díaz de la Vega, Stacey Caldwell, Victoria de la Fuente, Cloclo Echevarría, Giovanna Fabricio Cárdenas, Araceli Graham, Claudia Torrico, Hakan Baykam, Luvi Wheelock, Lisa Pomerantz, Sarah Easley, Trisha Gregory, Christine Ellis, Cassie Smart and Salman Khokhar.
Our Editor Lizet Esquivel had the opportunity to talk to the winner Kika Vargas.
How did you hear about the event and about the pitch?
I was approached by Latin Curated who informed me about the pitch and they were the ones who sent my brand for the first part of the judging.
Why did you decide to participate?
It was a no-brainer really, we were going to attend the summit anyhow with or without the pitch... and when we found out about the pitch there was never a second doubt. It was such a great opportunity and great exposure for the brand we jumped on it right away.
We know the judges were of the highest level, tell us more about your experience there in the room, with those VIP giving you feedback? were you nervous? did you recommend other designers to apply in the next edition of LAFS? yes or no and why?
I was extremely nervous, the crowd was full of a very important and distinguished member of the fashion community which made everything so much harder! there are some people that are great at public speaking, I think its something I have to work on every day as it is definitely not my strong suit. Still, there was no going back, and it felt like a chance of a lifetime so I had to get my act together. I so so nervous that morning and everyone around me was telling me I had to prepare my pitch... and finally I just said to my husband, "you know, I am just going to speak from the heart... my brand is my baby and I know it inside out, I am going to say what I think my brand is, and what makes it special and different. And that is exactly what I did. Without a doubt, I would recommend and have already recommended other designers to apply for next year. Sometimes it takes that right person to believe in you, and I believe that right person is present at LAFS. We have seen such an amazing response towards the brand because we won the PITCH, so many interests from different fields in the fashion industry that want to be a part of Kika Vargas, want to help grow the brand and make it triumph in the international circuit. We have been very humbled with the attention, the advice and the business opportunities the PITCH has generated.
What does it mean for you as a designer?
I was approached by several judges after and they told me there was consistency in every aspect of our work... and that for me is golden. There couldn't have been a better feedback and compliment as a designer than that. I felt reassured that our persistence and hard work is paying off!!
What´s next in your career?
We are building a bigger and better team, getting ready for international exposure and international sales, getting every aspect of the Kika Vargas team right!
How do you see the fashion in Latin America? what are the challenges you are facing/faced for being a Latina designer?
I think it is our moment, Latin America is finally on the map and it is shining! we have to take advantage of this unique moment. I think there is amazing talent! one of our biggest struggles I believe at least in Colombia is not having seasons... I think this is detrimental as a designer and creative person not to have all the changes in the seasons. I believe this makes it harder for creativity... but it can also be a strong point. depends on how you look at it, because we understand transitional fashion very well!!
Anything you want to add?
I thought this was a great opportunity for us as a team, as the Kika Vargas family.. because we had the opportunity to come together and really think about what we stand for, what we believe in... it made us come together and work together for what is the essence of Kika Vargas... we get lost on the day to day, next collection and production and then next collection and so on and so forth... that this competition gave us the chance to sit back and dream again.. sit back and really dig in into what makes us special, unique and different. And that always makes the team stronger, and I am very thankful for that.
For more information about LAFS:
For more information about Kika Vargas
Amalia Korasidou / Araceli Graham / Armando Takeda / Brenda Díaz de la Vega / Cassie Smart and Salman Khokhar. / Child of the Universe / Christine Ellis / Claudia Torrico / Cloclo Echevarría / Designer / Eva Hughes / Fashion / finalist / Giovanna Fabricio Cárdenas / Hakan Baykam / Irma Martínez / Jessica Butrich / Kika Vargas / lafs / Lisa Pomerantz / Luvi Wheelock / Morena Zabeni / Patricia Padrón / Sandra Weil / Sarah Easley / Stacey Caldwell / talent / Trisha Gregory / Victoria de la Fuente / Winner