Interview by Alejandra Perez, Translated from Spanish.
True Love & Poems is a Colombian online store focused on promoting sustainable fashion. The shop is owned by Ana and Jimena; two feminists, fashion revolutionaries and visionaries. Like their manifesto states: a true fashionista understands their power as a consumer and refuses to follow fads, meaning that they appreciate clothing that is truly authentic.
Maria Jimena is a 26-year-old fashionista and compulsive shopper that spends her time looking for new alternatives for fashion consumption, she has also managed her own blog for four years. Ana Maria is a 23-year-old emotional being, who prides herself in her good sense of aesthetics; she is obsessed with vintage and antique shops, loves traveling around the world and is fascinated by classical literature & contemporary philosophy.
Tell us a bit more about True Love & Poems:
AM: The first time Jimena and I had a conversation was almost a year ago via Skype. I was living in San Francisco and the only concrete things I knew about her was that she had previously been in a relationship with my current boyfriend and that her style was really cool, not only when dressing but also in her writing. I had followed her blog “Baño Rosado” for a while but I don’t consider that as knowing someone, however I had only heard good things about her so that is how it started, through social media.
When talking on Skype, we started to discuss what we wanted to achieve through True Love & Poems. At this point we didn’t know what it was going to be called or how we were going to manage the store but our aim was to find unique garments that we could take to Colombia with us. We knew it wasn’t going to be easy; vintage clothing is not popular in my country, as so many people prefer to find cheap and new garments before wearing old clothes.
What was the reason behind the creation of True Love & Poems?
AM: I think the store is a result of our experiences and lifestyles. For example, living abroad taught me about having to moderate consumption and finding different alternatives, not only regarding clothing but also food, which is another important topic for me.
Why did you decide that name for the store?
AM: We wanted our shop to feel like a love story, we believe that in TL&P second chances are forever, just like with true love. The concept that we work under is about being good owners to the stuff that we own.
Why does the store’s section LOVE AT SECOND SIGHT not sell second hand clothing that comes from fast fashion retailers?
AM: We try to find garments that are truly unique, from a specific era and with good durability; which is the opposite of clothing that comes from those types of retailers. However, we could consider selling them at our garage sales if one of our customer’s wishes to sell their garments for a special reason.
Additionally, in The Fashion Gallery, another section of the shop, we will use second hand clothing that comes from those retailers to give them to different artists for them to modify them, which will later be auctioned to raise money for my foundation “La Maquina de los Sueños”, which focuses on offering support to children from a really poor part of the city where I live.
What actions have you taken in order to inform your customers about sustainable fashion?
AM: We have used our personal social media platforms as well as those of the brand. Additionally, we hosted a ‘Coffee Break’ event, where we invited people to come meet us and hear about what we do. We have also done different interviews telling our story and our aims.
What capsule collections are you offering at the minute?
AM: Right now, we are offering a collection of badges, which focuses on female empowerment called “Sin Verguenza”- shameless; we also have a collection with Aradne Aradne, who used old denim to construct new pieces and give the fabrics a second chance. Currently, we are hoping to make an exclusive collection with Zumeya Moskera, a fashion designer from Medellin.
I noticed BROKEN by Kitten, one of the designers that you stock. He really caught my attention; can you tell us a bit more about him?
AM: Carlos Cabrices is a 29-year-old Venezuelan Fashion Designer with a degree in Graphic Design, who after graduating realized fashion was his call and began to take nighttime Pattern Design lessons. He came to Colombia looking for better opportunities and to be with the love of his life, we are very proud to have him as one of our designers.
What do you think about the current situation of Colombia’s fashion?
AM: Jimena and I are really impressed by the sudden artistic emergence in the country. Unfortunately, it is not something that is massively supported as people love Zara, H&M and Forever 21 too much because their clothes are cheap, meaning they can get rid of them as soon as the trend has passed. However, I believe that with a lot of work and better visibility of these brands we can make a difference at a worldwide level.
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