PlanetNotion introduces Rui Delgado, the self proclaimed Online Media Entrepreneur, who will be bringing his insights in the Latin American Fashion industry to our site. We catch up with Rui, to discuss his foray into the sphere of digital media, with his blog VANGUARDINK.com, which showcases what’s hot on the catwalk in Latin America.
PlanetNotion: What made you want to start writing a blog?
Rui Delgado: I’ve been blogging since almost a decade ago in sites such as LiveJournal and when we didn’t have any idea of how to blog correctly. I started to absorb my social media enthusiasm and relate it to art since back then when I was a huge fan of some Japanese rock bands.
Growing up in Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic), you really didn’t have that much access to Japanese music. I remember paying tremendous shipping fees to get original CDs or having to wait to go to New York to get them, and don’t get me started on how to deal with DVDs in another region code.
So that’s why I became very in touch with Internet communities and Web 2.0 tools like social networks, blogging and connecting with people through it. I honestly believe digital media is the future and in April 2010, I started my current blog (VANGUARDINK.com), after having it for a couple of months with another name and language.
PN: What’s the focus of yours?
RD: VANGUARDINK.com is about art, fashion, music, films, events and people. That’s it. It embraces a whole culture that is revolutionising what we know as current art. I realised I wasn’t the only out there that is as much as interested in fashion weeks than in film festivals or an indie UK band that you listened to while you were in an art gallery opening in New York.
I see a Galliano gown or a wearable statement made by the late Alexander McQueen as an expression adapted to our needs and society: it literally is an art form you use to express yourself. It makes us to tell the world visually who we are, since most of us aren’t musicians, painters or directors to express it in any other way.
PN: How do you compare the Latin American fashion industry with the big centres in Europe and New York?
RD: Well, let me use again the example of being a fan of Japanese music. Back then, it was very challenging to get material or any type of information about bands and songs. Nowadays it’s the easiest thing in the world: you have iTunes Store to buy music, YouTube for videos, and the bands are going on tour worldwide embracing international fans.
The same thing is happening with the Latin American fashion industry. Globalisation has helped us so much to project what we’re doing and get us a fairer opportunity to get attention from the world market. Of course, we have the legendary Dominican designer Oscar de la Renta and Venezuela’s Carolina Herrera, who both of them conquered New York and the rest of the world, but they’re not the only Latin Americans that are worth the attention.
New York and European capitals are obviously the cities where fashion breathes, but Latin American has a different spice to offer. We have such a strong mixed background created when European, Native and African culture crashed creating one only. Plus, the recent arrival of immigrants from all around the world in the past century makes fashion here more complicated to defined that it could seem.
PN: Who are the most exciting designers coming out of Latin America at the moment?
RD: Being a fan (and a consumer) of menswear, personally I’m obsessed with José Jhan. I would describe him as the result of if Tom Ford was Latin American (and with a tanner skin tone and less beard). He’s getting the attention of internationally known fashion designers who are really impressed with what he has the offer and he’s been recognised by the Marangoni Institute as a designer to watch. I remember seeing Carolina Herrera sitting front row with a widespread smile as every José Jhan look went down on the runway.
Also, I can’t forget to mention Esteban Cortázar, one of the favourites right now in the Latin American market, Carlos Miele, Alvin Alley, Maria Cornejo, Alexia Ulibarri, Gustavo Moscoso, Carlos Frank Then, Dalton Gata, Mondo Guerra, Oriett Domenech, among many others.
PN: What trends are you seeing for next season coming out of Latin America?
RD: It’s very difficult to summarise the entire region. First, we have the big monster in fashion that is Brazil. Then, we have fashion week events that are rapidly becoming the regional trendsetters such as ColombiaModa, Mexico Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, Buenos Aires and DominicanaModa in Santo Domingo.
The Caribbean has a mixture between Mediterranean fashion and cruise collection due to its weather condition throughout the year. Buenos Aires is an aesthete city very marked by the European immigration, probably the most fashion forward city in the entire region. Colombia, Mexico and Peru bring a lot to the table adding Native prints, sewing techniques and symbols to mix up with Western fashion.
Everything is more dramatic in Latin America. The cultures, music, architecture, gestures, dances and that clearly affects modern art and fashion, but fashion in Latin America is not going too far as people think. It isn’t filled by massive hair and make-up, showing too much cleavage as the Latin women is often stereotyped. In fact, a trend for this year is the use of different fabrics and colours to reflect comfortability and confident moods. The spring/summer collections are full of sensual looks divided by styles in black and others more colourful full of flower prints.
PN: What sort of thing do you want to spotlight, bringing Latin fashion to PlanetNotion?
RD: Fashion designers of course, the originality of fashion week events here, photographers, films, trends happening in Latin American worth knowing about, models and how they feel inside the world fashion world being Latin Americans and their point of view of the world and local trends.
I guess the biggest challenge for the region this year is to fulfil the consumer’s desire to be original and represent their individuality and to demonstrate the rest of the world our richness and ability to make a fashion statement, and probably this space in PlanetNotion would help the readers to find something that they would like to take from Latin America.
Interviewed by Seb Law