Born and raised in Barranquilla Colombia, Claudia Gontovnik graduated from Syracuse University in 1981. With her signature style of comfortable chic and natural femininity, Claudia arrived back home to launch her eponymous fashion house to great success and proclaimed as one of the pioneers of fashion design and style in Colombia.
With a trailblazing brand strategy, she established free standing stores as well as the distribution of her collections throughout Colombia. In 2001 she expanded her brand to the international arena and relocated her operations to the United States where she opened two new stores in Miami, Florida and founded a digital fashion magazine tutrend.com
“I am passionate about individuality, having fun with clothes, dressing creatively every day, and expressing oneself through our individual style”.
Claudia has also designed and produced fashion shows, music for fashion shows, store windows for which she has won prices, custom designed for TV series and theatre, beauty products catalog design and production, organized and produced Newport Guitar Festival in Miami, styles for musicians, does image consulting, in the early 90’s created a group to fuse rock and jazz with Colombian Caribbean rhythms .
Since 2014 Claudia has been playing with the idea that everything we need already exists, and is dedicated to discovering and re-imagining previously owned & vintage apparel and accessories, to crate completely one-of-a-kind pieces that nurture traditional hand-sewing techniques while endorsing a modern attitude towards design. It is Claudia Gontovnik’s mission to inspire a sustainable way to be stylish.
Since 2014 I am designing and working only with repurposed materials, except for the embroidery thread. I like turning waste into cool, one-of-a-kind pieces.
I source the garments themselves on which I am going to work and the garments that I use for cutting the patterns and designing. Its a very thorough and meticulous thought process. A long one.
After I am loving the piece and its all pinned exactly as I want it, I send them to Medellin, Colombia where single mothers hand-embroider them in place.
The idea of the particular stitching I use to place the pieces on the garment, came about through experimenting while trying to convey a sense of stitching the world together.
There is a rawness to what I do that represents transparency and honesty. So one can see the knotting of the thread, that things have been cut from something, that not all edges around the patterns are perfect, that two things are seamed together, and incomplete images.
I am proud of contributing to our planet by not polluting, proud to be empowering women and giving back to my country of origin, Colombia.