Thanks to a new friend I met at my recent reader event – Chuky – I got plugged into new local fashion designers Miami and came up with some great discoveries. Must admit, I also did some damage to the pocketbook, an “occupational hazard” of being a blogger. The finds – three Latin American designers — are in the emerging Little River area which is a growing hub for creatives and art galleries.
ArtTECA’s Venezuelan (SISTERS Claudia and FLAVIA) grew up surrounded by international fine art. They took this passion for contemporary art along with a love of fashion creating limited edition pieces of wearable art. They source work in mediums ranging from oil, collage and installations from artists in the Americas, then digitally print it on silk.
Find bold prints with vibrant hues made into silk scarves which can be transformed into halter tops, neck blows, headwear, some ten ways to use them, all detailed in a booklet with a purchase (a great gift item).
Also find cool tank tops and long sleeve silk blouses, silk jogger pants, some with matching neoprene (material used in surfing suits) bomber jacket with silk inlays; and kimonos with traditional square sleeves and bolero style gathered at the wrist, both in different lengths.
Their newest creation is long silk dresses, perfect for daytime, beach, and casual evenings out (I got one). All are perfect for summer travel — cool, don’t wrinkle, easy to wash and quick dry, and take up little space.
The Colombian born Claudia Gontovnik studied fashion design and sociology and she calls on both disciplines to create her unique one-of-a-kind clothing. After years of being the creator of a successful label, boutique owner, stylist, costume designer and editor of an online fashion magazine, she decided to express her creative intent and social responsibility by giving new life to items that previously had none. In this way, she explains, she helps reduce waste and the feeding of toxic chemicals into our environment. In other words, to inspire a sustainable way to be stylish.
She takes vintage clothes and repurposes them, creating new fashion pieces – jeans, t shirts, jean jackets, and jumpsuits. She cuts out pieces of a vintage garment and pins them on her creative wall, which looks like it could be a contemporary art installation. She then designs based on those pieces, with careful intent, in what can be a process taking anywhere from one week to a few months.
The pieces are pinned to the garment and then, along with a drawing with detailed instructions, shipped to single mothers in Colombia who hand-embroider each piece into place. The color of the thread and the embroidery are an integral part of the design. The result is a total fashion statement – bold, different, colorful, and fun. Heads are sure to turn when you wear one of her pieces.
Jackets range from $395 to $695; jeans from $295 to $595; t shirts $195 to $295; and jumpsuits (my favorite) from $695. Her shop and atelier are in a creative work space called Made in the Citadel in Little River, 8325 NE 2 Ave Suite #204 Phone 305.244.0159. Her instagram is @claudiagontovnik.
The third shop on my list is also in Little River –Gussy Lopez and her custom made atelier. It’s a quirky kind of place, a shop you’d expect to find from a young, emerging artist who happens to have a large art studio in the back which she shares with Mexican artist Pepe Mar. Her work is represented with camouflage jackets designed as artistic collaborations with Mar and Max Guevara. Then she curates clothing and accessories from other designers such as Vanessa iacono and Arianna Caroli . The day I went there were boho pompom sandals (Sonia Trussardi), bodysuits, clutch bags made from recycled magazines,fabric necklaces, t-shirts by cult designer Neu Shop ($45), decorated denim jackets, and colorful throw pillows for $60. There was also a ruffled off the shoulder top with original print that I coveted (Collab Gussy & Pepe Mar). It’s open in the afternoons but best to call for an appointment. Address: 8373 NE 2nd Avenue, T.(561 808 5691.
And while you’re in Little River, treat yourself, too, to those OMG old fashioned cookies at Cindy Lou’s Cookies, including the new variety filled with “quesito”, cream cheese.