Prediction: This Under-the-Radar Brand Will Be Huge in 2017
It's easy to get addicted to the endless energy and infinite creativity that fashion capitals like NYC or London offer, but you'd be remiss to ignore what's happening in other pockets of the world. For instance, the industry would be wise to pay attention to a country located a couple thousand miles due south of the Big Apple: Colombia. It's where talented designer Diana Crump has established her up-and-coming brand, Atelier Crump.
The half-Colombian, half-French designer originally cut her teeth in the menswear department at Hermès in Paris before returning to her native country. "I wanted to learn in France, but I wanted to launch my brand in Colombia because I think there’s a lot of potential here and it’s an unknown," she told Who What Wear. "It’s something more exotic and different."
To learn more about the designer and her brand, we caught up with Crump at a pop-up shop in Mexico City hosted by Cooperativa Shop, an e-commerce site that stocks only designers from Latin America. Keep reading to find out what we gleaned from our inspiring chat with the designer and shop her stylish wares.
Scroll down to learn more about Atelier Crump, and go a bit further to shop our favorite pieces available at Cooperativa Shop!
First, some context: Crump is one of several rising Colombian designers who are getting hotter by the minute right now—others include Johanna Ortiz, Mercedes Salazar, Olga Piedrahita, and Ricardo Ballen. Crump explained why the country is especially primed for the spotlight these days. "I think Colombia is in a really good moment right now despite of all our problems and our complicated story," she told us. "For many years, the reality was so sad, and now I think there are a lot of people wanting to express themselves with colors and happiness."
[Traditionally], Colombian women present themselves in a very sexual way to attract men. I want to change that. I want to see empowered women who dress for themselves.
Although her wares are full of joyously vivid prints, her brand is about much more than you see on the surface: She is eager to empower women with her clothes. When we asked Crump about how she would characterize Colombian women's style, she explained how it's transforming.
"It’s difficult to describe because I think we’re just now defining ourselves—at least in a contemporary way," she said. "[Traditionally], Colombian women present themselves in a very sexual way to attract men. I want to change that. I want to see empowered women who dress for themselves."
Crump realizes that a brand centered on menswear-inspired suits is not exactly "sexy" in the conventional sense. However, she has been seeing a shift in women's mentality in her country that has helped her line find a niche. "I would say now the Colombian woman is looking for something else," she said. "For example, I never thought my brand would catch on so quickly. A suit for a girl is very masculine, and a girl could be like Where’s the cleavage? But the good news is that I have a lot of girls interested in this new aesthetic who are looking for that."
At least [Hillary Clinton] went very far, so I think that’s empowering us. We are saying, 'Yeah, we can do it too!'
So where did this shift come from? Crump cited none other than Hillary Clinton—pantsuit aficionado—as an inspiration. "At least she went very far, so I think that’s empowering us," Crump said. "We are saying, 'Yeah, we can do it too!'
She also noted Man Repeller's Leandra Medine as an influential figure. "She is brilliant and her new idea of fashion is so smart: It’s not just about the looks, but also our ideas." Amen to that. We can't wait to see what other ideas Diana Crump has up her sleeve for her brand.
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How would you style these pieces? Tell us in the comments below, and then shop more Latin American designers at Cooperativa Shop!