Text & Instagram Photos:
Julie Schwietert Collazo
** I’ve left fashion and design behind in Managua, setting out first to the west (Leon) and then to the east (Granada) to see what I can see of Nicaragua in just a few days.
My brain is on information overload and I have a hundred questions, at least, but for now, I’m just taking in as much as I can.
Lion’s head door knocker in Leon, Nicaragua.
Bell of La Catedral Metropolitana de Leon, Nicaragua.
Water vendor with “Madonna! Madonna! Madonna!” cap. (Yes, he actually likes Madonna).
Unlike most things in my life, I approached the opening of Nicaragua’s first design fair, Disena 2012, without expectations. I know a bit about Nicaragua’s culture and history, though not much, and I know even less (much less) about fashion, so for me, Diseña 2012 was the blank slate upon which any story could be written.
And what a story it’s been so far.
Speeches were offered and a ribbon was cut; then, attendees streamed in by the dozens. They circulated through a salon where designers of all types exhibited their work: lamps and furniture made of rescued trash and driftwood; handmade leather sandals with rope straps; spray paint art; and much more. The hum and buzz of the room was literal, the excitement completely palpable.
Then, those who came out to attend the free event, Nicaragua’s first international design fair, enjoyed a series of impressive runway shows, starting with student designers from the Universidad del Valle and concluding with the introduction of Shantall Lacayo’s newest line. Even without a strong grasp of fashion trends, I knew what we were seeing was good.
Though all of the clothes and accessories (and the shoes… my God, the shoes! I have never seen so many high-high heels in one place in my life!) presented on the runway had qualities that impressed, the student designers were particularly impressive. I hope to track some of them down tomorrow for interviews.
In the meantime, enjoy these photos. And mark my words: Soon, Nicaragua will make itself known in global fashion circles.
Follow along on twitter, instagram (@collazoprojects), and Facebook. And for more photos, check out our gallery on Flickr.