As part of our experiential design brief for semester two, we are to design and budget a fashion show. As a starting point to my module i have been exploring South American womenswear and boy did i get a surprise.
In Colombia there is a running joke that on her sixteenth birthday it is the norm for a father to buy his daughter a lovely pair of bum implants; however this is no laughing matter as it is often the case. In a culture shock realisation i noticed a stark difference between the South American models and the stereotypical skinny models we see working in the European industry.
These young girls crave such a gift due to the image portrayed in South American fashion. The sought after look, which women of all ages are seemingly prepared to pay thousands for consists of a lot more 'meat on the bones' in comparison to our british girls. Almost all Colombian models have breast and bum implants (although not many are willing to admit it) in order to portray the typical curvy Latino woman. The famous latino curves are accentuated and this is referred to as 'Narco-Beauty'. It proved difficult to research any actual South American fashion collections due to the fact Colombian fashion week (amongst many other South American shows) seemed to largely consist of these 'Narco-beauties' prancing around in bikinis and underwear, being true to the saying 'if you've got it flaunt it' and these woman have definitely made sure they have it.
Yet more controversy lies around Colombian fashion week due to a large glamorisation issue with the cocaine industry. The issue in being that it isn't really seen as an issue at all. Models and designers openly admit to using the drug and in one instance of a more elaborate catwalk set large mountains of white powder surround the show set, assumed by most to be representing large mountains of cocaine.
Presented by Charlotte Duboc 'Vice' magazine has covered these issues in a three part series which can be viewed here. http://www.vice.com/en_uk/fashion-week-internationale/colombia-part-1