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In 2012 SYOU first went to Colombia as a consequence of the booming climate of the last years, in terms of innovation and entrepreneurial opportunities. A country with a challenging history has suddenly evolved, transforming itself into a platform with great potential for investors, tourists, creatives, storytellers and beyond.
SYOU's initial steps in this country consisted in searching for entities that would be interested in being part of a project that tells stories of Colombia through sneaker collections that are 100% locally sourced, designed and produced. Inexmoda was one of those entities willing to collaborate. They believed in SYOU from the very beginning and became one of the company's most important partners.
Inexmoda, founded in 1987, is a Colombian institute for export and fashion. It's the heart and brain of fashion in Colombia and stands for innovation, respect and excellence. There is no other like this in Latin-America, and is the country's most important commercial platform with a strong international character.
In their own words: "Inexmoda is the institute in Colombia generator of research, marketing, innovation, training, internationalization and competitiveness tools for the textile -apparel - distribution channel sector and others sensitive to design and fashion".
The institute is very close to the creative community in Medellín, and worked side by side with SYOU to make its Creative Talent Conference happen (read all about the Creative talent Conference on our blog).
They are also the organizers of Colombiamoda, the most important fashion event in Colombia and possibly in Latin-America.
SYOU was first launched in Colombia in July of 2014 during Colombiamoda, the most prominent fashion event in Colombia, organized by Inexmoda. The event lasted three days.
Colombiamoda is often referred to as Latin-America's Fashion Week and many of Latin America's greatest fashion designers have had their debute during Colombiamoda.
Colombiamoda attracts the country's most fashionable and influential people in the industry.
During last year's event we asked some of the most striking and remarkable characters that we encountered to take a picture with our &Colombia logo.
The event consists of three pillars: fashion shows, commercial displays and a knowledge pavilion.
In last year's event, SYOU had it's own stand where people could hang out and get to know the brand better. The aim was to introduce SYOU to the public and tell the Colombian story behind the brand. Our stand definitely stood out for its creativity and unique experiential aspects, and also for its sustainable display design. SYOU hired a local creative team who created a stand with a very personalized, 100% SYOU flavor; they designed custom made stools using SYOUs unique printed textiles, coasters with some of their designs, tables with the ampersand (&) logo, rugs with the "walk with us" slogan and many more details that made it fully aligned with the brand.
One of the most unique things about our stand was that all of our materials and equipment was made in a sustainable and portable way, making it easy to reuse for other events and occasions. In fact, we reused all of these materials in our showroom, pop-up stores and even during our launch in Amsterdam in June. Our equipment has traveled all over the world and is still with us today! This is what they looked like in Amsterdam.
On Wednesday morning, the second day of Colombiamoda, we offered the press a delicious Colombian breakfast, with tropical fruits, buñuelos (typically Colombian cheese balls), fresh 'lulo' juice and of course, Colombian coffee. In addition to the traditional breakfast we offered them a brand new pair of sneakers, making them one of the first people in the world to walk on SYOU's!
On the same day, SYOU's founder and the creative team gave a conference that was open to the public. Our writer Juanita Olivera and photographer Diego Chávarro were guest speakers and had a great opportunity to tell their story and present the artwork they co-created with SYOU.
In addition to that we also had two very special people introducing SYOU to Colombian fashion industry: Luz Adriana Naranjo, Director of Strategic Transformation in Inexmoda and Carlos Eduardo Botero, President of Inexmoda. During the conference we presented them with custom-made SYOU's with the Inexmoda logo printed exclusively for them.
It was a beautiful and successful afternoon for all of us. :)
The entire event was extremely exciting for us, with many unforgettable moments! One of those moments was having renowned Colombian fashion designer Camilo Alvarez hanging out at our stand . He became very close to SYOU and to this day we consider him one of our ambassadors. As a matter of fact, we have a little something prepared for this year, but more on that later!
Since it was our first introduction to the Colombian people, it was important for our stand, to really stand out and be memorable. Our Colombian team came up with the brilliant idea of making an interactive graffiti canvas throughout the whole event. It was a double-sided white canvas, and next to it we had fluorescent markers accesible to anyone willing to leave his or her mark. For the naked eye it appeared to be an all white canvas, but our Colombia team had a little surprise in stock… On the last night of the event, they revealed what the canvas represented. On the outside, it all appeared to be a colorful graffiti full of tags, signatures, inspiring words, phrases, doodles and scribbles. What nobody saw coming was that the &Colombia logo was there all along, making it a rocking &Colombia co-created work of art!
Co-creation in its purest form, that's what SYOU is all about!
All in all, our participation during Colombiamoda 2014 was an awesome experience! This year's Colombiamoda will take place next week (July 28 - 30) and we are proud to announce that we were invited as guests to be part of Camilo Alvarez' stand! We are in the process of co-designing t-shirts with the Colombian designer and we will be located at the Vogue section during the event. We can't wait to be back! To all the Colombian fashionistas, see you there?
Read more about Inexmoda and what they do at inexmoda.org.co.