On this occasion we have the honor and pleasure to ask Adriana Fernandez a few questions about her brand, her journey, Colombian fashion and her latest collection: Strong Woman.
Laura Arciniegas: Adriana Fernandez, one of Colombia’s most prominent designers not only in Colombia but internationally. When was the label born?
Adriana Fernandez: Thank you so much, Adriana Fernandez Pret a Porter was born 18 years ago.
LA: Did you always want to be a fashion designer?
AF: Yes, absolutely I always knew I wanted to be a fashion designer. I studied Fashion Design and then I became the head designer for a Colombian brand for about 5 years, after this I started a brand called Estudio Basico which was in the market around 8 years. This is when I decided I wanted to build my own label: “Adriana Fernandez” proudly it has been in the market for 18 years already.
LA: Wow, what a fascinating journey. It is interesting to note fashion, design, art and even architecture run in your blood. Your mom, aunts and grandmother designed clothes for you when you were a girl; your husband being an architect, and one of your daughters currently studying fashion in Italy, how does this affect your creative processes and how was it growing up with all these influences?
AF: Yes, my mom was always very artistic, my grandmother and my aunt as well. My mom taught pottery, my grandmother sewed beautifully, so I was immersed in this creative world since I was very young and truly appreciated it and enjoyed it. In my own family my husband is an architect, and my older daughter is currently enrolled in fashion school at Marangoni in Milan, the younger one will enroll in architecture this year. So yes, my house is inspired and surrounded by art, architecture and more importantly aesthetics.
LA: This is your daughter, right? (watch IGTV to see image).
AF: Yes, that is my older daughter Antonia who will be turn 20 and is also our brand’s model.
LA: Gorgeous. All your pieces and collections are manufactured in Medellin, Colombia with incredible precision and attention to detail. How many employees does AF currently have?
AF: For me the most important aspect within my collections are the fabrics we use, how they feel, their quality, making sure they don’t include polyester. We want fresh fabrics, soft fabrics which once worn by any woman, she wants to wear them over and over again.
Also, the mold and cut in all our pieces; the sizing, as you’ve seen our sizes are true to and are extremely precise and realistic.
In order to accomplish all of the above, we have an amazing team of around 30 people in our workshop here in Medellin.
LA: Your brand reflects elegance and sophistication timeless and yet in accordance with today’s trends. Your pieces are worn by different types of women around the world for different types of occasions. How do you achieve this?
AF: That really goes hand in hand with my personality and my mind set when it comes to shopping.
When I buy a new piece for my wardrobe, I see it as a long-term investment. So, when I design a new shirt for instance, I truly ask myself if I will wear this a week from today, or if I see a picture 3 years from now will I still like it or will I think “Gosh, what was I thinking?”
I do like to incorporate current trends into my designs, like big sleeves, however, I adapt these to my aesthetics and essence. For instance, for my end of the year collections I like to work with feathers and fringe, because they go well with the festivities and the holiday season. When a customer gets a feather Malala top, she knows she will happily wear it again the following year and many more, because these are timeless pieces.
I do take the customer very much into account, since as I expressed; for me, each piece is an investment.
LA: Absolutely, this is definitely reflected on your collections. What would you say are 3 staples pieces from AF?
AF: Definitely the white shirt, this is our signature product especially the Orquidea Shirt, our best-selling shirt. For instance, I wear a white shirt about 80% of the time.
A pair of nice black pants and basic knitwear, they can be black, white or ivory. Oh, and a black jacket.
LA: Yes, I Strongly agree with every one of them! What inspired your latest collection Strong Woman?
AF: I was inspired by iconic women across the world in various fields; sports, art, fashion, politics. Women who have exerted influence somehow in this world. I wish to leave a trace with the pieces I design and the work I do.
LA: Amazing, this brings us to our last question: what would you say is the biggest strength in Colombian fashion?
AF: We have so many, but I would say quality is the most important. We have so much talent and emerging designers, but Colombian quality and manufacture are simply impeccable, our finishes, the possibility to intervene a piece with artisans. I personally do not do this myself, but other designers do. If you compare a garment made in Colombia to another one manufactured anywhere else, certainly the quality is of a higher level.
LA: Absolutely, Colombian quality is without a doubt one of our strongest assets. Adriana thank you so much for your time and all of these fascinating stories and insights. And thank you! You who are reading as part of our Mucura family and community, stay tuned for more interviews with our other designers and make sure to watch these on our Instagram @mucura_shop