A Q&A with Gabriela Guaracao, head of the Philly-based fashion icon Americae
Americae is an up-and-coming fashion label based in Philadelphia that is largely influenced by Colombian and Latin culture. Their founder, Gabriela Guaracao, was born in Colombia but was raised in that country and here in the U.S. (She describes herself as “Latin Americanist.” In fact “Americae” is the Latin word for North and South America.)
She also has roots in our area, graduating from Villanova with a Bachelor’s degree in international business. I was lucky enough to meet her when she spoke to a class of mine at JeffersonU. I was so floored by her passion and commitment I spoke with her afterwards to hear more about her vision. She agreed to tell me more in a quick interview. Love her story and can’t wait to see where her brand goes.
Would you say your brand is Latin Inspired American wear or American inspired Colombian wear? Or something in between?
Neither. We design for a cosmopolitan female consumer in mind, regardless of what country she is from. We just do it with a South American influence. Every brand that exists has a point-of-view. It could be that they are inspired by urban New York culture, Southern culture, or hip-hop LA culture, etc. Or if you think of international brands, Burberry designs with a British bent or Dolce & Gabbana with Italian history or Italian Renaissance as their guideline.
A California-based blogger put it nicely recently. She said “Sometimes in fashion, things start to look the same. So when I was introduced to Americae, a company that celebrates and infuses Latin American influences into its designs, my interest was piqued.” More specifically, I would say it’s South America and its diverse cultures that influences us because that’s where I’m from – and Latin America is a massive region – Central America being quite different from South America in terms of cultures.
Do you draw influence from anywhere else?
Color, world history, architecture, and art. I’m inspired by the world and its abundance of cultures. Gothic architecture is also a big theme for me. And it’s influenced our logo and imagery. Languages, too. Languages are the windows or eyes into its respective country or culture. Color the rainbow is my constant influence and I love the nuances between shades.
In your previous careers in news media you were somewhat of a storyteller, do you think this is still the case in your clothes? What story are you telling with your clothes?
In a way, I’m telling the story of me. Certainly of a region. But more specifically of me and the way the region is seen through my eyes. From the color, to my experiences, to its geographical features – that’s the basis of the Americae story.
Is there a certain piece from your collection that you feel is the most important or has the most meaning to you?
Our raw emerald ring. The product description says it best – “Bold and relaxed elegance, this ring embodies Latin America. Made of raw emerald, brass, gold, and cow horn, this ring is an elegant representation of the cornucopia of resources native to that region.”
I also love it because every single time I wear it, women of all different types of backgrounds, ages, professions, and dressing styles come up to me just to tell me how much they love it and ask where to get it.
Do you see yourself opening a brick and mortar store in the future, staying just online, selling your clothes to other boutiques, etc.?
I’m interested in building brick and mortar locations. That’s what compelled me to go down this road – to build sensorial retail experiences that immerse consumers in my region of inspiration without having to travel there.