C: At what age did you know you wanted to become a designer?

AO: I can’t remember an exact age but I’ve had this affinity from a very early stage in my life. When I would get bored at school, I’d draw sketches and designs in my notebook. Later on, my friends going to parties and events started asking me to design dresses for them. Once I finished high school, I really wanted to study fashion design but my family didn’t agree so I attended some semesters studying business administration. Eventually and logically, I got really frustrated so I decided to go back to my hometown, started studying fashion design, and then launched my own company.

C: Tell us your overall design process. Do you start with sketches or create moodboards?

AO: We usually start by looking for the concept of the new collection. I’m always inspired by trips I’ve gone on or different cultures I have visited, so there’s always something of that when it comes to choosing the direction for the new season. Once we get a clear idea, my team and I start putting together the moodboards. It’s typically a full board of photographs or videos, depending on the inspiration. Then my team starts developing the prints, shapes, and silhouettes for the clothes and little by little everything starts coming together until we get the final results.

C: What are three words you would use to describe the aesthetic of your designs and your brand overall?

AO: Bold, authentic, and sophisticated – we create clothes to empower women.

C: Your all-time favorite spots in the U.S and Cali.

AO: In Cali it’s hard to choose. The best thing about my city is the weather and the diversity of cultures and races, so you have a lot to choose from. I would probably go with the Boulevar del Rio, which is a nice area along the Cali River where you can find great restaurants, nice boutiques, museums, and a great and refreshing breeze in the afternoons. In the U.S I love New York, it’s a magical place full of life and chaos, and I absolutely adore to just get lost in the city, walk, and discovering new spots all the time. You have to live and experience the city.

C: Your last collection was inspired by the French Riviera. Tell us what inspired you for your newest collection, “Pacific Ocean.”

AO: Like I said, traveling has always been a big inspiration for me. The last collections were inspired by India, the French Riviera, and many other places. I found out later that maybe I was looking too much to the outside and not so much in my own city/region, so I rediscovered the Pacific again and totally fell for it. There’s a richness in its culture, in the nature, and the colors and textures that I needed to create a collection were very much inspired by that. I think we developed great prints and shapes that are strong and bold, yet super sophisticated – all of them inspired by the flora and fauna of the region. We wanted something fresh and feminine to make an homage to our roots and origins.

C: What’s your perception of Latin American fashion?

AO: I think we’re living a great moment. All the eyes of the world are set in our region and in our talents. Luckily we have so much to offer that the international public has yet to discover, not just in fashion but in design, art, and production. To be a part of this movement is very exciting.

C: What are your favorite pieces from your new collection?

AO: It’s a very hard question to answer, since all of them are like my children and you are not supposed to have a favorite one. I would just say that the Mangroves prints is definitely one of my favorites.

Shop Andres Otalora’s new collection

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