Designer Johanna Ortiz has made her mark on the fashion world from Cali, her hometown in southwest Colombia. Her pieces are not only stylish but also created with a socially-conscious approach. Read on to explore her vision and trajectory.
Johanna Ortiz has always loved the design, ever since she visited antiques and decoration stores with her mother as a little girl. Later on, she embraced her passion by studying fashion design at the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale and completing a fashion postgraduate program at the renowned Parsons School of Design. Her first project was a swimwear line (Revista Fucsia, n.d.).
Organically, she transitioned into ready-to-wear clothing. Ortiz caught the eye of industry experts after showing her work at fashion events in Medellín and Bogotá. Ultimately, she made the jump to international markets with an exclusive collection on luxury online retailer Moda Operandi (Castany, 2021).
Today, women can purchase her pieces at 72 retailers in 11 countries, including top-tier brands like Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, Harvey Nichols, Lane Crawford, and Net-a-Porter (Castany, 2021; Revista Fucsia, n.d.).
Johanna Ortiz and her aesthetic
For years, Colombian fashion design has been synonymous with names like Silvia Tcherassi and Esteban Cortázar. Today, Johanna Ortiz has etched hers into the fashion world by harnessing the power of the feminine in her designs (Johanna Ortiz, n.d.). She prides herself in integrating femininity, subtle elegance, and an easy, festive vibe. Ortiz says her clothes are an invitation to celebrate in everyday life (Revista Fucsia, n.d.).
“Fashion is a tool for women to have fun,” she says (Ortiz, 2021). She draws inspiration from women in Colombia and Latin America, who are confident and empowered (Castany, 2021). Her signature style consists of imaginative design, intricate ancestry, and balancing the beauty of nature and the glamour of modern sophistication (Johanna Ortiz, n.d.).
Known for feminine silhouettes, her take on volume, and vibrant color palettes and prints, Johanna Ortiz has dressed international superstars like Jennifer López and Beyoncé. She is also a favorite among fashionistas like Olivia Palermo and Lauren Santo Domingo (Castany, 2021).
A socially-conscious fashion brand
Although she is now a globally renowned designer, Johanna Ortiz still lives in her hometown. Her brand is one of the very few that exclusively produces in Colombia, where she employs 380 people –95% of them women. Moreover, Ortiz founded a fashion school for vulnerable women, where they hone their skills. She plans to expand this project to other Latin American countries (Ferrero, 2021).
Bringing artisanship into fashion
Ortiz treasures Colombia’s ancestral traditions of artisanship. That is why she works with indigenous organizations to incorporate their work into her designs. She believes their unique artistry and sensibility can only add value to her pieces (Castany, 2021).
Furthermore, Ortiz prioritizes manual and sustainable production in her brand. She employs artisans and uses natural fibers and certified, sustainable fabrics (Torres, 2021).
As seen, Johanna Ortiz is a true standout among Cali Colombia women. Her approach to style and fashion businesses has truly set her apart.
Castany, C. (2021). Johanna Ortiz: hablamos con la diseñadora que ha vestido esta Navidad a Tamara Falcó. Vanitatis. Retrieved from https://www.vanitatis.elconfidencial.com/estilo/moda/2021-12-27/johanna-ortiz-disenadora-colombia-tamara-falco_2701608/
Ferrero, C. (2021). Johanna Ortiz: «Todas las mujeres tienen derecho a verse bien sea cual sea su talla. Nuestro trabajo es lograrlo». S Moda. Retrieved from https://smoda.elpais.com/moda/actualidad/johanna-ortiz-todas-las-mujeres-tienen-derecho-a-verse-bien-sea-cual-sea-su-talla-nuestro-trabajo-es-lograrlo/
Johanna Ortiz. (n.d.). The woman. Retrieved from https://www.johannaortiz.com/pages/the-woman
Revista Fucsia. (n.d.). Una explosión femenina llamada Johanna Ortíz. Fucsia. Retrieved from https://www.fucsia.co/edicion-impresa/articulo/johanna-ortiz-disenadora-calena-clave-en-la-moda-colombiana/71442
Torres, M. (2021). Johanna Ortiz, la diseñadora de JLO y Sassa de Osma: ‘Es posible hacer moda con conciencia ambiental y social’. ¡Hola! Retrieved from https://www.hola.com/moda/actualidad/20211202200479/johanna-ortiz-entrevista-moda-sostenible-coleccion-nespresso/