LAFS, the powerful community renowned for its omnichannel platform showcasing Latin American talent to the world, took place from November 6 to 8, 2023 in the Design District of Miami, there were 3 days dedicated to all things Latin American Fashion and more:
- Inspiring Conferences: Conferences by industry leaders and world-renowned fashion professionals
- Networking Events: For fashion, design, and beauty entrepreneurs
- The LAFS Pop-Up: An impeccable curatorship of the best of Latino Design
- Luxury Brand Activations
- The Glamorous Themed Closing Ceremony Gala, the most fun night in Latin American Fashion where the Pitch to LAFS winners were announced, which is an annual contest in search of the next big Latin American emerging talents. Only 9 brands were selected in the region, this was the fourth year of this competition.
Pitch to LAFS has 3 categories: Latin Designer of the Year, Accessories Designer of the Year, and Social Impact Project of the Year, these 9 talents presented their brands in front of a jury composed of the most influential names in the fashion world.
The winners of this edition were:
Latin Designer of the Year: Maria Elena Villamil (Colombia): Her personal signature is reflected through the harmonious syncretism of her combinations, the exploration of textures and abstract graphics, the skill in patronage, the experimentation of linear forms that spread freely in space and generate volumes, evolve to versatile forms reflecting a concept of simple and natural beauty; these architectural lines characterize her work.
Accessories Designer of the Year: Paola Sighinolfi (Colombia): A Colombian-born, Barcelona-based designer, the founder and creative mind behind PAOLA SIGHINOLFI JEWELRY. As the direct descendant of the Italian sculptor Césare Sighinolfi, creativity runs in her blood. She developed an aesthetic sensibility from a young age and was particularly fascinated by the precious stones found in her native Colombia.
Social Impact Project of the Year: Escvdo (Peru): Escvdo, is a sustainable luxury brand approaching contemporary design through visionary creations, excellence in craftsmanship, and a special care for quality. ESCVDO was founded in 2013 by sisters Chiara and Giuliana Macchiavello, an artist and a fashion designer who share a deep-seated passion for Peru, its traditions, and its vast natural and cultural wealth.
Although the summit is totally inclusive, women played a crucial role for LAFS, the summit has a feminine essence, the founders are two disruptive Latinas with outstanding careers in the fashion world: Estefania Lacayo and Samantha Tams.
The majority of attendees were women, Pitch to LAFS 2023 awardees were female designers, and many of the judges of Pitch to LAFS as well, some of them were: Arielle Siboni, Fashion Director for RTW at Bloomingdales, Johanna Ortiz, Designer, Maria Williams Senior Buyer at Net-a-Porter, Silvia Tcherassi, Designer, Trisha Gregory, Chief Brand Officer at Luxury Stores at Amazon, Carmen Busquets, Entrepreneur, Strategic Investor, and Philanthropist among others.
A large number of speakers who participated were women: Ginny Wright, CEO of Audemars Piguet Americas, Diane Von Furstenberg, The Belgian American design icon, Tata Harper, founder of Tata Harper Skincare, Ana Khouri, jewelry designer, April Hennig, Chief Merchandising Officer of Moda Operandi, Rickie de Sole, Women´s Fashion Director at Norstrom, among others. These leaders shared their knowledge and the keys to their career success within the different sectors in which they are: Entrepreneurship, Wellness, Beauty, Leadership, Fashion Retail, Financial Literacy, and Sustainability, in the different Panels, Talks, and Breakout Sessions, which were 45-minute discussions led by an industry expert and only 15 attendees of LAFS Miami 2023.
One of the most anticipated moments was the conversation with Diane von Furstenberg, the influential fashion designer who popularized the women’s wrap dress, who will be the subject of a new documentary, this new film will use archival footage and intimate interviews to take a deep dive into the life and her career who forged a path for herself in a male-dominated industry and built a multi-million-dollar fashion empire. During her conversation with Fabiola Beracasa, Film and TV producer, the designer shared some insights with the audience:
“Be a woman in charge, connect with people, talk about your challenges and difficulties to people to inspire them, be an activist, be true to yourself, follow your instincts, learn from your own experience and growth”.
Something very remarkable was the LAFS 2023 attendees could enjoy a concert in the Miami design district of Emily Estefan Daughter of singer Gloria Estefan and producer Emilio Estefan. LAFS is an event that provides knowledge, networking, and above all inspiration stories for women entrepreneurs from all over the world but mainly from Latin America to push them to follow their dreams and succeed in the fashion industry.