Fashion mogul gives emerging designers room to grow

Fashion designers Rosita Hurtado from Bolivia and Julie Giliberti from Venezuela are collaborating on a platform for emerging Latin American designers to exhibit and sell their work. 

During their first event, which was held from Nov. 21 to Nov. 23, they gave around 10 designers the opportunity to showcase their newest proposals to the Miami community.  

According to Hurtado, selling is one of the hardest parts of the industry.  

Via her foundation, Latin Angels, Hurtado has put her needle and thread down to lend a hand to up-and-coming Latin American fashion designers. 

Latin Angels is a global charity that helps women and underprivileged families in third-world countries.

“There are many ways to help them,” said Hurtado, who has over 30 years of experience, in Spanish. “There are many designers that start and don’t know if they’ll be able to sell. Many of them work too much and in the end, make their path harder and longer. With my knowledge, I’m hoping that I can make that path easier and shorter.”

At the event, which was held in Hurtado’s atelier (showroom) in Wynwood, the emerging designers presented items including swimwear, jewelry, streetwear and beauty products. 

“Aside from making themselves known, they were able to sell, which is the hardest,” said Hurtado. “They do beautiful work, but they don’t have the means to sell them. They sell what they can on their platforms, but our event had coverage from Hola TV and Telemundo; it gives them more.”

She also exhibited parts of her IXOYE collection, which features urban looks imprinted with iconic figures of Bolivian and Mexican culture.

According to Hurtado, the idea of IXOYE is to mix and match the items from collection to collection while raising awareness of communities in South America. In one of her collections, she prints icons of a church in Chiquitania, which was recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage site.

By doing events like these, Hurtado has become a guide for many in the South Florida fashion industry. Now, accompanied by Giliberti, she created a platform for emerging designers to be able to exhibit and sell their items in her exhibition space.

“I know a lot of shows,” said Hurtado. “I know which ones are for new designers, for established ones and the ones on top.”

A large part of Hurtado’s contribution was the event space. She said that to rent a showroom in Miami for three days as they had, it would cost at least $5,000. 

Hurtado said that before the event, many of the designers, which came from all over Latin America, felt anxious about the outcome.

“They all felt fear. It was the first time they were somewhere like this,” said Hurtado. “I think they learned that there are opportunities and you must take them without fear, be sure of what you do.”

Gilberti originally came up with the idea for the initiative and presented it to Hurtado, who “boosted” the event, according to Giliberti. 

“Between Rosita and I, we were able to make all of our dreams come true,” said Giliberti in Spanish. “It really was a dream for all of us.”

Giliberti also presented the latest collection from her swimwear and activewear brand Power Wings. According to her, the brand’s logo, a set of wings, is a symbol of freedom. 

Another point that the event was trying to emphasize was that clients could mix and match between brands, something that is usually not done. 

According to Giliberti, one doesn’t have to only combine items from one brand in order for the outfit to work. They wanted to present the idea that many brands could come together for one great outfit.

Giliberti also said that the pool of designers needed to be from many countries. The collections and items are made by artists from Mexico, Cuba, Honduras, Bolivia, United States, Venezuela and Peru. 

“We tried to find a good combination in which we didn’t exclude any country, and that [the designers] didn’t specialize in the same thing,” said Giliberti. “We created a concept of exhibition where we put all the new proposals that are not on the market yet together. Through these days of exhibition and sale, we wanted to expand the establishment of these brands.”

Giliberti and Hurtado have been friends for many years. Giliberti believes that being represented or endorsed by a designer like Hurtado is an advantage and that nobody else would be a better fit for the job.

“She has the prestige and career that all the new generations dream of,” said Giliberti. “For a designer like Rosita to embrace you, it was a luxury for us. Who better than Rosita Hurtado, who has always been in the forefront of the industry.”

The audience, according to Giliberti, was pleased with the event because they could find items that are not found in stores. 

Giliberti said she feels satisfied and thrilled with the outcome of this initial round of events. She hopes that the event snowballs and eventually “becomes an avalanche,” she said.

Giliberti and Hurtado are both pleased with the results of the events and the gratification of the growing designers.

“They were so happy,” said Giliberti. “Their eyes glistened, it was truly exciting and fascinating. They thank you, and I think Rosita and I are at ease with just that.”

Victor Jorges is a broadcast journalist specialized in covering stories about culture, arts and human interaction. His work includes documentaries, feature packages and written profiles. He currently works at CNN en Español as an associate producer. He hopes to cover Miami's Hispanic American culture for a local network upon graduation. Jorges was born in Caracas, Venezuela and moved to Miami in 2007.