Made In Colombia
Argemiro Sierra, an iconic Colombian fashion brand that has been creating beautiful pieces for almost 20 years. Recognized in several countries around the world, Argemiro sierra keeps its promise to dress the “open minded” and the “young in spirit” who also want to show a little of their authentic self without being too daring.
Currently, the brand has a presence in several Latin American countries through distributors and external partnerships, including the flagship boutique in Medellin.
I had the honor to work closely with the Artist and his idea of a re-imagined store design and an online presence in 2013.
The objective with this ambitious project was the creation of physical as well as an online presence focused on gaining broader market adoption and increasing conversion rates within national as well as international markets.
Chiffon and Satin…
Argemiro’s collections are touched by a sense of tranquil modernity… laser cut effects and details of rhinestones interact in a game of fresh and relaxed shapes and colors. Elegance, sensuality, sobriety and modernity are key components of every collection and create a versatile attire that helps the user develop their own style. Understanding the brand personality was key for the creation and ideation of the user experience in both the physical and online presence.
Heart of the Brand
As a small Family owned company, the brand is runned by Argemiro and his sisters, and has the charm of a typical “Paisa” family (the way Colombians call people from Medellin):
Strong family values, respect and love for each employee, as well as typical brothers and sisters arguments, resolved in a way that has been helping them take the brand to big success for almost 20 years.
The Fashion Industry in Colombia
“Fashion is a mirror of our society and, in recent years, Colombia has experienced a huge political, economic and cultural change; Cities like Medellin have been going through an enormous healing process. Steps like the rescuing of Ingrid Betancourt [and] cracking down on money laundering have, in effect, curtailed drug wars. And finding peace with the FARC [rebels] have all helped move the country forward in very significant ways. All these changes have been reflected in fashion too.” Says Nina García Colombian-born fashion critic who has held the role of fashion director at the American editions of Elle and Marie Claire.
Bringing into awareness the socio-cultural situations of the country and the fact that Colombia is still very young in terms of its fashion offer, helped us create a clearer definition of the heart and soul of the brand as well as to be sensible and honor the country’s both successes and struggles; understanding the user and how he/she would not only look for a beautiful fashion piece, but the story of the material origins, cuts and authenticity of design 100% MADE IN COLOMBIA with love, were the principal ideas Argemiro Sierra wanted to transmit with each piece.
Colombia Moda Internationalization
Colombia is slowly but surely making its mark on the global fashion industry, with many experienced brands like Silvia Tcherassi, Olga Piedrahita, Johanna Ortiz, Argemiro sierra, and new faces like Haider Ackerman, Esteban Cortazar, M2Malletier.
“Colombia is one of the most mature in the region [but] it’s been a mix of influences that have put it on the map over the last decade.” Says Kelly Talamas (former editor-in-chief and recently appointed creative director of Vogue Mexico and Vogue Latin America) referring to the popularity of Cartagena’s design scene among the likes of Marc Jacobs, Angela Missoni and Lauren Santo Domingo.
Understanding the User
Free Spirit, Cosmopolitan & Classy
Argemiro’s sleek, simple designs transcend cheap fads and six-month trends, exposing individuality from within rather than having it superficially imposed.
He describes his typical consumer as someone who wants to show “a hint of seduction without being too forward…an effortless sexiness.”
To define the personas of the brand I reached to the sales department as well as the designer to figure out the kinds of stores that carry the brand and from them, which had the biggest conversion rates and concluded that the personas are: Woman and Men (80% woman 20% men ) between 30 to 60 years old, elegant yet casual, with an artistic eccentric side that love fashion and appreciate quality and uniqueness; well traveled and with a successful career. They want to feel confortable and look graceful without making a big effort; intelligent yet sensitive to beauty, they are leaders, CEO’s or company founders; powerful yet kind and empathetic, loves being different and out of the norm.
Argemiro Sierra wanted to talk to that powerful person that needs an attire that not only makes them feel confortable and unique, but that portrays their visionary style of being.
First Steps Towards The Digital World
Creating the first online presence for a brand like this comes with the knowledge of opening to the world at large and the responsibility with the current clients of what this opening could mean to them.
Although the brand received more direct clients because of the new online platform and social media marketing, we had a responsibility with the select clients that have followed the brand since its beginnings back in 1998. Taking this into consideration, I created a database of loyal clients and developed an email newsletter where they would get exclusive information about every new piece, before it went to any of the stores. This showed significant increase in sales from this clientele and gave us an idea on how to foster loyalty within a bigger list of special clients.
Creating The Argemiro Sierra Store Experience
We decided to, after an extensive design iteration and various design options, create a straightforward layout, simple yet classy, with natural touches that underline the cloth and made the visitor feel free to explore Argemiro Sierra’s delicately curated designed pieces. The main store is a gorgeous 7 bedroom 3 bathroom mansion house, with a pool, patio and huge spacefull living room, dining room and kitchen located in one of the most exclusive neighborhoods in Medellin "El Poblado".
Time & money
There was a limitation in terms of resources and time, we needed to finish redesign of the store before Colombia moda, which is the Colombian fashion week during the last week of July. That gave us two months to have everything ready for the great amount of international buyers that this fair brings into Medellin. We decided to invest in the most relevant interior design pieces of the store that could convey the message the brand wanted to transmit, and continue building in a second phase with what we had started in phase one.
The company and I continued on different paths after I delivered both projects but goes on with their pursue of creating unique pieces for the open-minded free of spirit and I continue admiring all the great talent and design vision…