Publicity, Karla Lisker, François Goize, Daniel Aratangy
Colombian designer Johanna Ortiz has taken off in the international scene and become a darling of fashionistas
In 2017, after seeing Nicole Kidman in the pages of the fashion magazine Porter wearing one of her creations, Johanna Ortiz reacted like any other person would: she wrote “When your superstar crush wears your dress!” on her Instagram feed, posted with a photo of the actress in a white shirt dress with puffy sleeves.
It wasn’t the first, nor the last time that the Cali designer caught Hollywood’s attention. In the last three years, celebrities such as Beyoncé, Sarah Jessica Parker, Heidi Klum, and Jessica Biel were seen wearing pieces with the flashy patterns and huge frills that are part of Johanna’s clothing identity. The Colombian designer who translated Cali’s culture through her fashion creations deserves this recognition.
“The fabrics, the aesthetic, and how to work with colors are topics that have always caught my attention,” she says about the beginning of her career. “When I graduated from school, there were only a few people in Colombia studying fashion.” After some time at two prestigious American institutions – Parsons School of Design in Manhattan and the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale in Florida –, the designer returned home in 2001 to create her brand.
Now Johanna has an affiliate store in Bogotá and points of sale in elegant department stores (like Harrods in England and Neiman Marcus in the US), but her headquarters and workshop remain in Cali. “The world of Cali heavily influences the brand’s essence,” she explains without any need for greater clarifications – the salsa culture for which the city is known is present in the boleros, in the blouses with exposed shoulders, in the smooth dresses that sway with movement. “The fashion industry sees us as a festive, effortless brand.” With the lightness and joy of her culture, Johanna is taking Cali to the world.
Cali favorites by Johanna Ortiz
“El Escudo del Quijote, which reinterprets Vallecaucana food and food from the Pacific in a refined manner. I’d recommend the plantains and brie ravioli.”
Calle 4 Oeste, 3-46
“The store La Caleñita is the ideal place to buy a traditional backpack or some pre-Columbian jewelry.”
Carrera 24, 8-53
Having some coffee
“Palmaro, a concept store that sells décor items and accessories and with a delightful garden where you can have a coffee or hot chocolate.”