FASHION PEOPLE: JOHANNA ORTIZ
THE CLOTHES OF THE COLOMBIAN DESIGNER JOHANNA ORTIZ RADIATE PURE JOIE DE VIVRE
Anyone currently scrolling through Instagram will see a fashion label pop up again and again on the exotic holiday pictures of international socialites, it girls and influencers: Johanna Ortiz. The Colombian brand looks like a fresh breeze and exudes a carefree zest for life like hardly any other. Johanna Ortiz' fashion flirts. "Or as we say here: 'Gozamos la vida!'," says the charming founder and mother of three on the telephone from Cali, a big city southwest of Bogotá. "We celebrate the life and the togetherness of friends and family. This is particularly expressed in fashion in this country: Latin American women are very feminine. They don't shy away from colors and like to emphasize their curves."
Ortiz translates this above all into sensual one-shoulder dresses with jungle and flower prints or vibrating frill dresses with tapestry motifs that cut a good figure both at a Vernissage in the city and at the beach bar. Her designs (meanwhile she also makes bridal wear) adapt equally well to every body type - from super-curvy to very slim. Ortiz knows how to accentuate the waist and décolleté in such a way that her dresses conjure up a sensual hourglass figure. "I want to know how a woman feels in our models. That's what I always have in mind when designing. That's why I try everything on, even though I don't have any model measurements - and I don't strive for them! Especially her sophisticated draped swimwear made the Colombian-born designer famous in her home market after her fashion design degree in Florida.
HER SUCCESS STORY
The international breakthrough came in 2014, however, after the New York entrepreneur and super socialite Lauren Santo Domingo discovered Johanna-Ortiz clothes for herself. Since then, her success story has been unbroken and her brand has been represented with the Latin American joie de vivre at the best addresses. Tiffany Hsu, Buying Director of Mytheresa, believed in the label from the beginning: "Johanna Ortiz is an important partner for us: she is a sovereign businesswoman and combines children and career with an inspiring ease. Our customer can identify very well with Johanna Ortiz's lifestyle - her dresses are one of our favorite resort and summer fashion brands."
HER HOMELAND COLOMBIA
Despite her self-evident internationality, Johanna Ortiz has remained true to her roots: Cali in Colombia, also known as the "Capital of Salsa" (Ortiz prefers to dance to the sounds of Marc Anthony and Grupo Niche), is still the centre and location of her design studio. "We all have lunch together at a long table, and of course the whole thing ends with a large cup of Colombian coffee. Ortiz describes her working day as very varied and very chaotic: "After school the children stop by in the studio."
As she cares about her identity as a Colombian brand, she works closely with indigenous communities in her home country and has all collections produced locally. She employs around 250 people. She has also founded Semirello, an institution that enables young women from low-income families to train as seamstresses. Many have stayed, some others have gone into business for themselves. A great success, says Ortiz: "Right from the start it was important for me to act as an ambassador for the fashion industry in my country. And I also wanted to give something back to the community."
TRAVEL TIPS: JOHANNA ORTIZ FAVORITE PLACES IN COLOMBIA
Galería Alameda, Cali
"A turbulent farmer's market where you can find the best of Colombia. Here you can taste local specialties."
"La Vitrola," Cartagena
"In this restaurant, you feel like you're back in Havana in the 1950s. The Cuban live music completes the experience."
Museo del Oro, Bogotá
"Jewelry and other gold objects from the pre-Columbian era are exhibited here. The visit flashes every time."
"A typical salsa nightclub in town. Sometimes I dance with my friends here all night."
"On the Barú peninsula on the Colombian Caribbean coast, my family and I like to spend a short vacation."