First Johanna Ortiz fans will remember her groundbreaking piece in 2015: a striped off-the-shoulder, puff-sleeve, sold-out shirt called the Tulum Top. His brand has come a long way since then, both aesthetically and commercially. The top’s blend of familiarity and Latin flair has spilled over into tailoring, evening dresses, jewelry, and footwear, and almost everything is made in Ortiz’s vertically integrated workshop in Cali, Colombia. “Cali is not exactly a fashion capital,” she joked on a Zoom from Paris, where she presents spring 2022 by appointment. Indeed, the “traditional” way of doing things as a Cali-based designer would have been to produce his collections elsewhere – perhaps in Italy, perhaps in Asia – using materials from another corner of the world. world. This process would require multiple rounds of shipping and cargo flights, which is hardly a sustainable approach. Ortiz, on the other hand, condensed everything in one place; In addition to having a closer relationship with her product, she is able to collaborate with local artisans and create employment opportunities for her community of Cali. Her team now has 350 people and she is just getting started: in 2016 she opened Escuela Johanna Ortiz, a free training program for local women to learn to sew and embroider, so that they can eventually work. in Ortiz’s workshop or create their own line. .
The question of fashion’s finality has arisen a lot this season: why do we need these clothes? Why would a brand exist even when the world is on fire? Ortiz’s commitment to empowering women and sustainable manufacturing is a much stronger response than most.
All in all, the actual clothes were also aligned in their emphasis on longevity, comfort, and durability. The ruffles and tiers of years past have been toned down or done away with, replaced with slim print dresses to wear everywhere. Many are secretly adjustable: Belts and ties can be tied in multiple ways to reveal or conceal, while a strapless dress in a Matisse-inspired emerald print had a pearl necklace looped through the front; you can try the same trick with a silk scarf or other jewelry. Other dresses have been streamlined to showcase their large-scale prints, pictured here in sienna, moss, rust, and all shades of brown. They present themselves as natural prints rather than on the face, so they are best worn often and for years to come.
In a few cases, the “prints” were actually swirling patches of hand-woven raffia (zoom in on the army green cotton dress in Look 14 to see). The technique was both entirely new – you won’t see it in another collection this month – but subtle enough to be truly timeless. It’s easy to imagine dozens of reasons for it to exist.