PRESS ARTICLES


With_caring_Comes_Courage_Jumpsuit_back.jpg
With_caring_Comes_Courage_Jumpsuit.jpg

Today we’d like to introduce you to Claudia Gontovnik.

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.

Specs_for_embroidery.jpg

With a trailblazing brand strategy, she established freestanding 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, styled for musicians, in the early 90’s created a group to fuse rock and jazz with Colombian Caribbean rhythms.

White_dress.jpg
Camo_pants.jpg
Me_outside.jpg

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 create 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.

My Manifesto:

You can be more yourself than ever, almost fearless when you get to a certain point in your life.

I took a break after years of being a stylist, a costume designer in Colombia, the creator of a successful label, and the editor of my own online fashion magazine in the US. I needed time to think about my priorities.

The conclusion of that reflection was that I needed to express my creative intent and social responsibility through giving new life to items that previously had one. And that is what I do now.

I can contribute by stopping the feeding of toxic chemicals into our environment when I use what has already been produced. And convey the pressing need to stitch our world together through the rawness in every unique piece embroidered by a single mother in Medellin, Colombia.

My mission then is to inspire a sustainable way to be stylish, and each unique piece represents a statement for me and for the person who chooses to wear it.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Things are never easy, there are always struggles in business and in life in general. There are stones big and small in your path that you have to overcome. These are also, if you are open, aware and welcoming, teachings that will help you grow and grow.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with My Manifesto – tell our readers more, for example, what you’re most proud of and what sets you apart from others.
Since 2014, I am expressing my creativity and social concerns by designing and working with only 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 the pieces of clothing that I use for cutting the patterns and designing. It’s 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. That is the reason why 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.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
My plan for the future is to keep on working in the same lane I am working on now and experimenting with different materials. For the first time in my life, I can let myself go with each day, and see where life takes me. And those, for me personally, mean big plans! Freedom!

Be_Free_Dress.jpg

claudia-gontovnik-new-york-2018.jpg

By Tina Trevino

Colombian born, Claudia Gontovnik embraces the idea of fashion being both stylish and sustainable. She puts a colorful and unique twist to her upcycled collection.

On Thursday, Oct. 18th, I held a trunk show in my KBL Group Intl. showroom featuring the beautiful designs of Colombian born designer, Claudia Gontovnik. Gontovnik and I met a little over a year ago at the annual NYC Denim Days Festival event which hi-lights everything to do with denim from wash techniques, dying methods, new specialty brands in the market, literally anything that can be associated with denim is there under one roof making it a great place for fans of indigo to connect. Because Gontovnik’s collection is heavily based in denim, this was a great venue for her to set up shop in NYC and bring awareness to her brand.

Claudia collects vintage pieces of apparel for to start with. From old denim jeans, denim jackets, trench coats, army surplus camouflage jackets and pants – these are the pieces that she will re-design. She’s even been adding in t-shirts and some dresses to the collection as of lately.

After choosing the base piece to work with, she uses interesting fabrics that she finds at flea markets, thrift stores, vintage shows, or even from recently purchased apparel that people no longer want. She finds a way to re-purpose these things and make them into special pieces that are worthy of being in your wardrobe for a lifetime because of the love, time and effort that has gone into them. Her mission is to inspire a sustainable way to be stylish and each unique piece represents a statement for her and the person who chooses to wear it.  

gontovnik-trunkshow-1.jpg

In addition to what it takes to put together the actual designs, Claudia pins everything down as she has designed it and sends the garments to Medellin, Colombia where single mothers hand embroider everything in place. She is proud to be able to empower these women and give back to her country of Colombia.

Claudia’s concept is that everything we need already exists, and she is dedicated to discovering and re-imagining previously owned vintage apparel and accessories to create 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.


The Colombian born Claudia Gontovnik studied fashion design and sociology and she calls on both disciplines to create her unique one-of-a-kind clothing. After years of being the creator of a successful label, boutique owner, stylist, costume designer and editor of an online fashion magazine, she decided to express her creative intent and social responsibility by giving new life to items that previously had none. In this way, she explains, she helps reduce waste and the feeding of toxic chemicals into our environment. In other words, to inspire a sustainable way to be stylish.

She takes vintage clothes and repurposes them, creating new fashion pieces – jeans, t shirts, jean jackets, and jumpsuits. She cuts out pieces of a vintage garment and pins them on her creative wall, which looks like it could be a contemporary art installation. She then designs based on those pieces, with careful intent, in what can be a process taking anywhere from one week to a few months.

The pieces are pinned to the garment and then, along with a drawing with detailed instructions, shipped to single mothers in Colombia who hand-embroider each piece into place. The color of the thread and the embroidery are an integral part of the design. The result is a total fashion statement – bold, different, colorful, and fun. Heads are sure to turn when you wear one of her pieces.

Jackets range from $395 to $695; jeans from $295 to $595; t shirts $195 to $295; and jumpsuits (my favorite) from $695. Her shop and atelier are in a creative work space called Made in the Citadel in Little River, 8325 NE 2 Ave Suite #204 Phone 305.244.0159. Her instagram is @claudiagontovnik.

 


Micamisablanca.com

I’m so excited to introduce you today Miami-based Colombian Fashion Designer, Claudia Gontovnik, and her upcycled clothing line just after Earth Day. I met her at a pop-up in Hibiscus Island around three weeks ago, and we instantly connect, first because I loved her designs and, second because she’s a smart midlife woman who reinvented herself in her fifties. Claudia studied Fashion Design and Sociology, so she has always cared for doing something that could positively make an impact to a better world. In her own words:

I took a break after years of being a stylist, a costume designer in Colombia, the creator of a successful label, and the editor of my own online fashion magazine in the US. I needed time to think about my priorities.

The conclusion of that reflection was that I needed to express my creative intent and social responsibility through giving new life to items that previously had one. And that is what I do now.

WHY DO I SAY THAT CLAUDIA REINVENTED HERSELF?

Because she did! She had quite a successful fashion label with four boutiques in Colombia and, also exported to other countries. Claudia and her family moved to the US a while ago, and she started a successful online fashion magazine, that consumed most of her time, so she decided to quit and, have more time for herself and family. As a professional woman who worked all her life, she couldn’t simply stay at home and do nothing. That is why she started a new sustainable fashion line, made from garments found at consignment and second-hand thrift shops. She designs on paper how each piece of clothing has to be and then sends them to Colombia where single mom artisans from underserved communities, embroider and sew all the pieces Claudia carefully placed with pins.

CLAUDIA WORKS WITH A COMMUNITY OF COLOMBIAN ARTISANS AND SHE GIVES EACH OF THEM CREDIT FOR EMBROIDERING HER DESIGNS

I was really moved by the fact that you see a label that tells you the name of the Colombian artisan who embroidered the clothing piece you’re buying. Because, you can imagine that single mom whose hands contributed to making you look great, and received a fair payment from Claudia. That Elisa, or Ana or Elena, can have a better and fulfilled life and, also raise her children well. Don’t you think it is rewarding to know that the jacket or jumpsuit or t-shirt you buy from Claudia is contributing to open new horizons to people who otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunities they have? Thanks to sustainable initiatives such as Claudia’s, young Colombians have a future.

EACH OF HER CLOTHES ALSO HAS AN EMPOWERING MESSAGE TO WOMEN

I love the fact, that in each of Claudia’s garment there’s an empowering message because we women have been neglected for too much time. We need to be aware of how strong and powerful we are, how precious what we do is, and, there’s no limit to achieving what we want. Claudia is a great example of how the wisdom and experience that comes with age, can be a fantastic fuel to reinvent ourselves at any age and do it with style.

AND HERE COMES THE FUN PART OF THE STORY

We both were born in the same year and, the same month, with only 4 days of difference, in 1958. We’re both Sagittarians, her birthday is on December 8th and mine is the 12th. She’s from Barranquilla, Colombia, and I’m from Caracas, Venezuela, two neighbor countries with many things in common.

We both live in Miami and, when we go to fashion pop-ups or events, we never see other midlife bloggers or Instagramers, so we were both grateful to met each other.

I enjoyed every minute of this photo shoot because we were able to talk and started a new friendship. A week later, I paid another visit to Claudia’s studio with another great midlife woman and Miami Lifestyle Blogger, Karen Escalera, who is also a Sagittarian and we had a great afternoon together.