By Kim Duong
Updated Sep 13, 2017 @ 7:00 pm
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Courtesy of Isabella Dorelli

Let me set the scene: Overcast. Breezy. New York Fashion Week adrenaline hangs in the air like a treat (or a taunt, depending on your outlook). Down in NYC’s trendy-beyond-repair SoHo neighborhood, black lieutenant caps and patent leather ankle booties roam the cobblestone streets in herds. I enter the freshly opened Latin Curated pop-up shop, wherein Nina Garcia quickly shares with me, “We’re all shopping from Zara, shopping from the same pool of clothes.” Y’all, fashion needs a refresh.

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Don’t get us wrong, though—caps and ankle booties are surely fall fashion staples (as they also were last season), but where’s that sense of discovery? That new-new? That, as Garcia puts it, “sense of, what is this unique piece? Why haven’t I seen it? How can that add to my personal style? How can I wear it differently?” Color us bored. Then enter: Latin Curated, a collective (bonus: shoppable) showcase of over 40 of Latin America’s best luxury brands coming at us via a showroom-retail space hybrid. If you’re craving one-of-a-kind fashion or pieces with stories behind them, hit up Latin Curated over on 138 Wooster Street.

Courtesy of Monica Schipper

As a key industry player, Project Runway host, Colombian-born immigrant, and Latin Curated’s ambassador—Garcia’s excitement for this project is the real deal. “The time is right to open the door for all the talent and artisans and craftsmanship that exists in Latin America that we're not privy to,” Garcia shared with InStyle. “I happen to go to Latin America a lot. And I've stayed in contact with a lot of the designers, so I see what is happening, and I see the talent. I see the positivity.” It was on a recent trip back for Bogotá Fashion Week when she got to see the Latin American talent firsthand. “I was impressed. I was really taken aback,” she said of the experience. “There are so many talented designers, and what I found is that they work very closely with the artisans. And when you work closely with the artisans, you're steeped in history, you're steeped in craftsmanship, you're steeped in uniqueness. And yet it's modern.”

Courtesy of Isabella Dorelli

Latin Curated serves as the first and only platform to collectively showcase Latin American luxury brands to the U.S. market under one roof. The pop-up shop, spanning back much farther than I initially expected, is neatly packed with racks, shelves, and glass cases of everything from handwoven totes to hand sewn leather jackets to one-of-kind jewelry to XL sweaters you’ll want to live in all winter. Oh, plus swimwear. You can really create your own capsule wardrobe in this space.

Courtesy of Isabella Dorelli

Speaking of the designers, Garcia shared, “[They are] surrounded by a culture that is incredibly rich in music and color and art. And I think that comes off on the clothes. You know, the clothes are just a reflection of what surrounds them. And so when you see these clothes, there's a real optimism, there's a real happiness about them. Maybe it's the print, maybe it's the color. Maybe it's the construction. Maybe it's that I know [some of these pieces] were handmade by a tribe of Wayuu people in La Guajira. I don't know. That all helps, and I think we've lost a little bit of that optimism in this country because we're bombarded with news all the time that is not so positive. We need to capture that back.”

Courtesy of Isabella Dorelli

Latin Curated is the name, sartorial diversity is the game. Head over to 138 Wooster Street to shop the extraordinary pieces from now until September 30.