Colombian Barrios and Nineties sparks

Christian Colorado’s fashion is not just art but has the power to change young people’s lives

By Silvia Gazzola

Christian Colorado is an upcoming designer from Caldas, a Colombian town placed in the Antioquia department. Class of ’89, Colorado developed his passion for fashion at a young age having fun creating clothes and accessories for his cousins’ Barbie dolls with whatever materials he managed to put his hands on. Soon after, his creativity shifted from dolls into accessories: like handmade necklaces and bracelets which he used to sell to buy items and gadgets of his idol and later muse, Britney Spears. 

The early 2000s aesthetic that the American Pop princess embodied so well throughout her whole career is not difficult to miss in Colorado’s vision and collections. Since the very beginning, the designer who graduated in 2012 in fashion design at SENA, seemed to have in mind strong visuals for his eponymous brand that he launched three years later. 

His 2012 collection called Generation “A trip to 10 Years of erase and rewind” shot in analogue black and white, presented simple and effective silhouettes mixed with edgy zipped details and played around with the idea of a more gender-fluid menswear approach. 

Later, after gaining some experience working for different local fashion designers, Colorado debuted in  2017 at Colombiamoda partnering with Nickelodeon with a capsule collection featuring the famous cartoon character Spongebob in a gold version. With a linear and basic colour palette playing around black, white and gold (of course), the designer here could showcase even some womenswear looks. The collection featured leather jackets with gold embroidered details and the famous square-shaped cartoon was presented in a stylized and geographic motive all around the garments. 

Through the years, Christian Colorado’s aesthetic and whole vision gained more confidence and nuance landing into a more sensual, break-gender norms and almost dark philosophy without losing the “attention to details” sartorial approach that set him apart. All these elements, key for the brand, are the creative outcome where Colorado can display intimate and personal references but most importantly his proud love for his Colombian heritage. It’s with his latest collection “Belleza de Barrio”, showed during the New York Fashion Week, that the designer seemed to master all these visual postcards into a cohesive fashion language able to display his ultra-personal interpretation of the urban streetwear style so “en vogue” lately with the reminisces of the late 90s and early 2000s luxury style. 

The attitude is always transgressive and androgynous: male corsets adorned with technical straps, and sheer and see-through tank tops with black leather cargo. And most importantly, the white cotton shirts display eye-catching texts hinting at the name of the collection emphasizing the theme with three strands each of the colour of the Colombian flag. The collection seemed to want to showcase and give us knowledge of what it means to be Colombian: the use of subjects like the tap of the famous Colombian beverage “Colombiana” used as a belt buckle is an example of that. Or the shirts inspired by the bags from Exito, the supermarket chain. 

This strong and confident approach not only helped him gain a certain type of estimator among the Latinx fashion community but it did give him the possibility to break into more pop and international publications: like Rolling Stones Mexico which recently featured one of his pieces for a photo shooting with Miguel Bosè. 

But Colorado’s love for his country doesn’t just stop at fashion influences. The designer is, as a matter of fact, the creator of “Thebosayorkdream”: a project to showcase that fashion is not just a creative outlet or an art form but it also has the power to change young people’s lives. 

Probably inspired by his personal story, as a young man he fell into the world of drugs and later in his twenties decided to take control of his life and go into rehab, the project seems a needed reality in a country where 13,5 million people are under the poverty conditions and, understandably, for young people seems a little harder achieving their dreams, especially in an elitist and close world like the fashion one. 

“Thebosayorkdream” in particular wants to fill the gap between the talents that may blossom even under such conditions and the few possibilities that seems to exist. Under these conditions, the project has reached foundations, schools and universities to put a spotlight not only on Christian’s personal story but also on all the learning behind the different creative processes through workshops focused on art and design. In October, for example, they joined the Amese Association in the fight against breast cancer, with a pink version of the shirt displayed during the “Belleza de Barrio” collection. 

Colorado is far more than just a designer. He is a creative talent whose remarkable goal is to put light onto his motherland and help it at the same time.