LAFS: spotlighting women in fashion

“Latin American Fashion Summit" (LAFS) in a format 100% digital

From October 19 to 23, 2020 took place the event “Latin American Fashion Summit” (LAFS) in a format 100% digital. LAFS is a yearly conference of retail that gives real opportunities to grow their businesses to all entrepreneurs, designers, stylists, editors, students, top executives in the retail industry in Latin America and the Hispanics living in the USA.

It is a fact that although LAFS is a very inclusive event,  its essence is female, 90% of its attendees are women, the founders, Estefania Lacayo and Samantha Tams are women, it is obvious that during the event, some female leaders in the retail industry and fashion, were highlighted  as models of inspiration for the younger entrepreneurs.

The event started with a conversation with the legendary Diane Von Furstenberg interviewed by the activist Ariela Suster. The conversation was very inspiring, Diane mentioned that the best relationship you have is the one you have with yourself; women need to be in charge, which means commit to themselves.  The fashion industry has been in crisis for years now is the time to think about our individual model and modify it. We must use this moment to reset, listen to others and listen to ourselves, do not doubt our power, finally, she pointed out that It is inspiring when we say when we are facing challenges, being honest, talk about our faults, and imperfections.

During the five days were panels in which women were protagonists, Weaving a better future, A talk by Amanda HearstMercedes SalazarStephanie von Watzdorf and Alden Wicker, Maison de Mode, Mercedes Salazar Joyería, Figue & EcoCult. They discussed Sustainable fashion which is a Fashion that respects the environment and the people that are making it and how craftsmanship is the most important thing, designers are to create products that are beautifully made in the correct time frame, also responsible supply chain, analyze what is our bigger purpose, evolve as human beings,  we need to remember that we are not alone as an industry, we have to work as one, it is not who I am  and finally, they mentioned that dialogue  with our customers must be very thoughtful and genuine.

Another panel was Success stories in difficult times with 2 Latina designers, A talk by Maygel Coronel, Clarissa Egaña and Teresa Sádaba, Maygel Coronel, Port de Bras & ISEM Fashion Business School. The keys to the success of these wonderful designers are: To have storytelling, work with influencers, engagement in social media to sell in e-commerce, both brands are very innovative, Maygel Coronel changed the way people wear bathing suits, now the consumer wear them on different occasions, in the case  Portebras which is an Athleisure brand, she took sportswear on another level. Both agreed that fashion designers must work hard, have the experience, because things do not come alone, the constancy, the discipline, a trained intuition, and a desire to learn and grow are crucial. Feed the DNA of the brand, it has to be solid consistent that does not deviate from your vision, study, not only of trends but study the consumer, change things that don´t work, have an optimistic spirit.

A very interesting panel was: Ignite your power: from breakdown to breakthrough, a talk by Jamira Burley and Ariela Suster, I am Here To & Sequence Collection & I am here too. Ariela is from El Salvador, which is the second most dangerous country in the world, thanks to the tragedy, she created her company sequence, giving opportunities to young people. Jamira is an activist, working with NGO in causes as violence prevention and social impact, they pointed out that companies cannot operate in the world violating human rights, society must be more socially conscious and critical thinkers. Ariela shared the secret of her success, she engages with values,  looks for collaborations, does research, and she finds the way to sell differently, finally, they invited the audience to engage in issues that are happening in their communities.

There is another world after Covid19, that is why there was the panel: The impact of mental health on all of us, a talk by Carmen Busquets, Celina de Sola, and Jana Pasquel. Carmen Busquets, Glasswing International, and Munnu The Gem Palace North America. LAFS is donating a percentage of the tickets to provide Food and mental health to kids support through glasswing international, panelists said that the pandemic makes clear the importance to serve others, we have to listen to nature together, listen to ourselves, know our vulnerable side, and now more than ever, to keep connected is a way to pivot, that we need to do something, help others, build a community, believe in a higher power, do exercise, be organized, wake up every day at the same time, make our beds, live in clean spaces, be grateful, practice gratitude every day, about fashion, they recommended to designers: Be creative show your individuality, integrity, and who they are without fear, challenge different sides of your brain are resilient, be flexible, be given, don´t forget collaboration, and adaptability because they are keys to success in these tough times.

At the end of these empowered women's talks,  there was the panel:  Creating and Influencing Positive Impact by Sophia Bush and Nina Farran Fashionkind, they suggested that the fashion community should rethink the way things are done to propel the earth, we all have followers, why not doing something for making an impact in the society?, social media are good platforms to influence people for the better, to prioritize community, they invite us to advocate for change in different ways, in the case of fashion, they said that fashion care for beautiful things, so the consumer should know who made their clothes, the story, the process, consumerism is a concern, so let´s become more conscious, there are so many ways to be active, to connect with our community, and ultimately innovation is extremely important and for that, we need diversity in our teams.

The content of this edition reflects the vision of the founders of LAFS, they invite us to reinvent ourselves, embrace the challenge, collaborate, and connect with others.