One of the most exciting aspects of Colombia's fashion week is the chance to see the next generation of fashion design on the student runways. Each of the maor design schools has their own catwalk and the most promising students of each school are invited to participate.
There are three major runways, Jovenes Creadores for Colegiatura, the Morphotech catwalk for Universidad Pontifica Bolivariana (UPB) and the runway for Fundacion Universitaria del Area Andina.
Student lines differ from established brands
The main difference between student and established lines is the amount of fantasy and creativity involved. Basing a line on a human parasite can result in some beautiful, even wearable looks but not many fashion buyers for large department stores like Exito are willing to take the chance. But since students do not have to focus their energies on making a marketable product, their designs can be pure exercises in unadulterated art and imagination.
While some of these designs take their inspiration from futuristic or space age ideas, movies and concepts, many of the designs show their roots in traditional Colombian artisan craft work. Andean and native Colombian patterns, trim work, color choices and silhouettes were popular among all of the schools of design.
Fundacion Universitaria del Area Andina
This was the first student line presented in the Colombia Moda schedule of runways. The school is located in Pereira, which is the capitol of the state of Riselda, which is part of the coffee-growing region of Colombia. This runway was presented as a cohesive collection as opposed to Jovenes Creadores and UPB with several different themes.
While futuristic themes are immediately apparent in the collection, there were tell-tale signs of Andean influences, from the colorful fabric strips on one outfit, to the general style of facial painting and embroidery work on another piece.
The next student collection presented at fashion week was the Jovens Creadores runway for Colegiatura Colombiana Universitaria. The runway was sponsored by ChocoLyne, a Colombian chocolate company. Colegiatura, like UPB is located in Medellin, which is the capitol of the state of Antioquia.
This year's students include Alexandra Perez, Laura Osorio, Manuela Sanabria, Mariana Robledo, Alejandra Londono, Miguel Mesa, Sara Donated, Sebastian Sanchez, Daniela Valencia, Nicolle Valery, Stephanía Mejia, Laura Martinez, Jose Julian Rojas and Miguel Angel León. The students create and prepare the runway under the coordination of their professor, Julianne Moon.
Of these students, Miguel Mesa was the clear audience favorite. His runway was interrupted by applause on several occasions, particularly for a buttery yellow creation. His designs featured flowing robes with elegant draping.
Alexandra Perez Perez's work showed the strongest traditional influences, from the face decorations, to the fabric patterns to the designs themselves.
Universidad Pontifica Bolivariana (UPB)
One of the last runways of the three day event was the UPB runway. Universidad Pontifica Boliviariana has several campuses but the School of Design is located in Medellin. Sponsored by Morphotech, the catwalk features designs from teams of students under a common theme. One of the themes was Parasite, and featured designs inspired by disease.
*Names of designers provided when this information was available.