INEXMODA IS A PASSIONATE INSTITUTE, for creating innovative strategies that promote the growth and development of the Colombian and Latin American Fashion System. Day by day, it works to strengthen the Fashion System, offering solutions that vibrate with knowledge, this being the essence and inspiration to transform businesses and people competitively and sustainably, according to changing contexts and market needs. I had the pleasure of interviewing Leonor Hoyos, Director of Connection Platforms at Inexmoda, about this important institution and the great opportunities that the Colombian fashion sector has given to her.
“INEXMODA, changed my life not only as a professional that I have had the growth that I never imagined, but as a person, it is an institution that as I was telling you right now, what we do generates great satisfaction, because we are not working on our own growth, but on that of an industry that generates so much impact”
How did you start your career at Inexmoda?
I had never had experience in fashion, but yes, in the industry of events, since I finished college, I worked for the office of international promotion of the mayor of Medellin in 2009 and collaborated with each of the fairs that existed in that city, in its internationalization strategy. Collecting the strategic sectors of the city, the objective was to generate or develop a fair, a platform to connect them with markets, this is how my relationship with Inexmoda began, who already had a great experience accompanying the fashion sector so that the resources of the city, destined to support the fair, were given to bring international journalists, visit of international buyers, investors. There began my contact with Inexmoda, for 5 years it was that way, then the opportunity was given to work with them, in the unit of fairs.
“Fashion has the ability to change lives, we have seen it from the different programs we have. For me, it is an absolute honor and an absolute satisfaction that the work I do is capable of generating such a transformation”
What is Inexmoda and what is your specific role there?
Inexmoda is a private non-profit foundation and that gives a special touch to this work, because it does not work for a particular good of an organization, but for an entire industry, for a whole sector. And it is super rewarding, I am the director of fairs at the moment, I started 14 years ago as coordinator of sponsorships and special content of the fair and for 4 years I am in the direction, is one of the missionary units of the fair, one is connection platforms that is responsible for organizing the Colombiamoda and Colombiatex fairs, all those actions that allow the meeting between the actors of this industry and its connection with markets, another area is transformation, which is the whole area in charge of training, consultancies, consultancies and generate tools for each of these companies that are part of the fashion system, have their individual, innovative strategy.
“We have a level of incredible national brands that have managed to reach international markets and have all the VALUATION AND CONSUMPTION of the domestic market, We are also one of the Latin American countries, with the highest rates of entrepreneurship, with which, we love, respect and consume what is produced and created in Colombia”
Do you have any data on what percentage of women in Colombia occupy positions of power in the fashion industry?
I feel that it is an industry driven by the female force, according to data from an association, of which I do not remember the name now, 80% of the fashion workforce is in charge of women, in Colombia it is promptly 55% and if you take it to managerial positions in the industry, Almost 40% is in the hands of women and this from the craft since ancestry have been women responsible for sewing, crafts, women are a very important and relevant actor in this industry.
How does it feel to be so young and represent such an important institution as Inexmoda at a national level?
I am not so young (laughs) but I feel a huge pride to be part of this institution, INEXMODA, changed my life not only as a professional that I have had the growth that I never imagined, but as a person, it is an institution that as I was telling you right now, what we do generates great satisfaction, because we are not working on our own growth, but on that of an industry that generates so much impact, and you as a journalist who knows it well, that you have studied it and that you communicate what this industry means in Latin America and in general in the world. It is the satisfaction of knowing that Colombian fashion, that Latin American fashion is relevant, and known in the world. It is very special what we do, fashion has the ability to change lives, we have seen it from the different programs we have. For me, it is an absolute honor and an absolute satisfaction that the work I do is capable of generating such a transformation.
How is the Colombian consumer, what are her characteristics?
It could not be categorized into one, it is such a diverse market, it is so large we are 55 million inhabitants, and there are so many mental and consumer styles that it would be impossible to categorize a single consumer of Colombian fashion, what I can say is, that we are a market absolutely connected with the brands that we have, we have a level of incredible national brands that have managed to reach international markets and have all the VALUATION AND CONSUMPTION of the domestic market, We are also one of the Latin American countries, with the highest rates of entrepreneurship, with which, we love, respect and consume what is produced and created in Colombia , if there is one thing to unite them, it is that respect and value that we give to Colombian brands.
What challenges as a woman have you faced and how have you solved them?
Women have many facets, not only are we professionals, also moms, and wives, part of the challenges is how to distribute that time from a work that is demanding in time, in dedication, but definitely for me, especially my most important project are my daughters, is my family, and in that I have had the fortune, to have a husband who is an ally in this project, then when at work demands a little more from me, when we are in events, on the trips we do, he is the best dad in the world and I have as a task to get more time for myself.
What piece of advice would you give to women who want to be like you, to have a position like yours?
I would say that the first thing, is to do everything with a lot of love clearly, be very coherent from what you are with all the stakeholders with whom you have to interact, be very faithful always to your word, have a greater purpose from the sector that you represent and love it and always give the best whatever the job role you play.