bogota fashion capital

- By Bogota Brilliance -

"People dress better here than in Paris." - Mirielle - Paris, France


It should come as no surprise that given Colombia’s fortunate geographic positioning between North and South America
, between Europe and Asia, and between Africa and Oceania, in Bogota you can find virtually any product from around the world.  More importantly, given Colombia’s vast manufacturing history, reflected in practically every variety of craft or product, you will be happy to know that in Bogota one can really find just about anything and at any price point.  In short, Bogota is a shocking shopper’s paradise.

For decades, Bogota’s shopping centers known as centro comerciales (CC) have been the envy of Latin America; currently well over 100, with new mega-projects under construction.  These shopping centers which can be found throughout the city come in all shapes and sizes.  Some of the best known are CC Andino, CC Atlantis, CC El Retiro, CC Unicentro, CC Hacienda Santa Barbara, CC Gran Estacion and CC Santa Fe and CC Centro Mayor –the largest in Colombia, and one of the largest in the world.   Different from their North American counterparts they all offer a wide variety of shops and labels.  Whereas North American malls now tend to feature mostly the same brands and fashions, those in Bogota include some of those same stores, but Colombian malls will also surprise you with their diversity of options, including incomparable food courts and children’s amusement areas.

In addition to the shopping centers, you will find an ocean of commerce spread throughout the entire city.  These vast areas include a massive amount of leather goods, shoemakers, printers, bookstores, fabric shops, tailors, furniture makers, technology centers, pet shops, craftsmen, artisans, florists, jewelry makers and bronze, gold and silver-smiths.  Some districts cover several square miles and house thousands of stores of all sizes.  These areas will also include street vendors along with many cafés and restaurants.

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Some prominent districts for bargain shopping are called San Andrecitos. Other popular districts for great prices include El Restrepo, Siete de Agosto and San Victorino.

The upscale shopping districts will also surprise you. In addition to finding boutiques from all over the world such as Cartier, Bulgari, Tiffany & Co., Cranes, Ermenegildo Zegna, Louis Vuitton, Mont Blanc, Izod, Revillon, Ralph Lauren, Hugo Boss, Levis, Carolina Herrera, Max Mara, Paul & Shark, Calvin Klein, Custo Barcelona, Guess, Diesel, Mango, Bose, Bang & Olufson and many others, you will have the unexpected pleasure of discovering the wonderful national designers and brands of Colombia.

Colombia has a long and proud history of manufacturing and design, the result of which has been exported the world over through well-known foreign brands such as Diesel, Levis, gef, Hush Puppies and many others.

Today you will find in Bogota an incredible choice of design and quality of products that are in every way comparable to the best European craftsmen.  Some prominent brand names to look for are Hernando Trujillo, Arturo Calle, Louis Barton, Silvia Tcherassi, Bettina Spitz, Hernan Zajar, Colombian Bags and Trianon.  Some of these national brands are also found abroad.

The principal upscale shopping areas of the city can be found around CC Hacienda Santa Barbara in the charming historical district of Usaquen (where on Sundays and holidays you will be treated to Bogota’s premiere flea market), the lovely Parque 93, the World Trade Center, Avenida Pepe Sierra, Calle 109, and most notably in the Zona Rosa (Rose Zone) which circumnavigates the luxurious anchor mall, CC Andino.      
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The highly acclaimed Bogota Fashion week held every February at the Corferias fair grounds has expanded its programming to include a total of four major events.  The whirlwind of activities for the fashion conscious and the fashion cognisetti combines fashion shows, merchandise marketing and networking parties (see the Festivals tab for more information):

* Bogota International Fashion Week /Semana Internacional de la Moda de Bogota SIMB
* Fashion Salon / Salon de Moda
* The International Footwear & Leather Show
* Bogota Fashion Circle / Circulo de la Moda Bogota

These events in Bogota, when combined with the great international fashion shows of Medellin, collectively export more textiles, clothing and design than any other nation in the hemisphere, making Colombia and Bogota the Fashion Capital of Latin America.

Colombians take the time to look their best, and approach each day with a positive outlook.  One could say it is a living manifestation of the expression "looking good/feeling good."  The fashion sense of Bogotanos is intoxicating.  Whether a CEO or a shoe-shiner, they all take pride in their appearance.  This is true for people of all ages.  It also helps that the clothing choices here are of top quality, most of which are either made in Colombia or imported from Europe (primarily Italy).  Colombia is one of the leading manufacturers of fabric, allowing the shopper to luxuriate in a vast array of patterns and textures.  In addition to boutiques and shopping malls, custom designers and sastrerias (tailor shops) can be found in practically every street, providing unparalleled options for every budget.

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On average a custom-made suit using high quality fabric, and craftsmanship, can be had for as little as $75.00 USD!  Some even offer a package that includes a custom shirt and tie for total of $100.00 - $150.00 USD.   In addition to a custom made suit, you can also order shoes made especially for you by a zapatero.  Of course, the ladies enjoy the lion’s share of this bounty.  One of the most striking aspects of a Colombiana’s wardrobe are her shoes.  As effortless as the women here make it appear to walk in high-heeled shoes and boots, you would think they were born with them!  …Not to mention their great talent for applying makeup, an art they have cultivated for centuries.  It is all a beguiling mystery.  

Over the centuries, Bogota has been entrenched in European trends and aesthete, however, given the success of the Colombian fashion and textile industry over the past decades, it is Colombia which is helping to set international trends –as exemplified in a 2009 Colombia-themed Menswear Fashion show in Paris by Jean Paul Gautier.

Given the city’s high elevation and cool climate, Bogota’s beautiful style is ever-locked in fall fashion elegance.  The cool weather seldom varies, and presentation is ever important for the gentlemen, the children, and, most assuredly, the ladies.

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