a Chilean designer with international projection.

by Carolina Ortiz Jerez

After studying dressmaking and fashion design in Chile, Lupe Gajardo began working as an assistant in the workshop of a renowned designer in her country. However, in 2010, her need to create, quickly led her to make the decision to start her eponymous brand, with only 20 years old.

Her avant-garde designs and author’s proposal, allowed Lupe Gajardo to stand out within the fashion circle of her country, and after a few years, to take her first steps abroad.

How was your brand born?

I didn’t think about it. My brand was born simply from the need to create. I had been working for a year and a half as an assistant to the Chilean designer Miguel Angel Guzman, from whom I learned a lot, when I felt the need to work on my own visuality and create my own pieces.

From that moment on, I started immediately, with two collections a year.

How would you define the DNA of your brand?

Before becoming a designer, I wanted to study sociology, so my work is based on my observations and reflections of current social movements. 

Since 2015, I started working with an experimental technique of moulage, similar to draping. I start from the mannequin as a blank canvas. This means that my designs do not have a defined silhouette and have a futuristic style.

In addition, I imposed myself to use 100% of the cloth. This has allowed me to have an almost handmade creation process in the conception of the garments and to significantly reduce the amount of textile waste that is generated with traditional pattern making.

How did you become known as a fashion designer?

I took my first garments to a concept store in Santiago de Chile. A fashion producer fell in love with my work and gave me a great interview. After that publication, clients began to arrive and I started to dress actresses and faces of Chilean television. Then, my name began to be heard.

As a designer working in Chile, have you had the chance to present your brand in other fashion circuits?

Yes. In 2012, I was contacted by an Italian production company to present my collection in a showroom in Berlin. In January 2013, I returned to Berlin, this time to present a winter collection that was very successful. It was a very original collection, very Chilean, inspired by the indigenous iconography of my country. After that presentation, I had a publication in Vogue Italia.

In 2015, I was invited to New York Fashion Week, where I also had a very good reception. That was a bigger leap, in terms of self-demand.

This year, is the 3rd time you are presenting your collections at London Fashion Week. What does it mean to you, to be able to access this platform?

It means a lot. It is a recognition of my work. I applied and the exposure has been the most impactful thing. For some reason, there is an aesthetic familiarity. It could be because I like punk a lot, I like the chaotic and the multicultural.

Thanks to this exhibition, we now have offers from China, which otherwise would never have come to me. We have also dressed a couple of English TV celebrities.

To what do you attribute the success of your collections?

I think I’ve done well, because I’ve focused a lot on the conceptual, on the discourse. And I think that’s what captivates the public. 

Communication, both visual and conceptual, has been the key that I have used to navigate in this industry. A path that has also been very intuitive, because in Chile there is no fashion industry.

What are your projects?

Now that we are growing, I saw the need to launch a more commercial line, which will come out at the end of this year. The idea is to continue to support this more conceptual Lupe Gajardo, which is what I am interested in doing and allow a public that does love us, but so far can not buy our pieces because of price issues, to have access to them.

This line goes hand in hand with what we have done so far. It will not be a massive line. We want them to be limited editions. For sustainability reasons, but also because of a personal decision. I am not interested in making clothes for the sake of making clothes. 

We want to grow, but in a moderate way, with a focus on innovation in processes and materials.

We are also thinking of having a line of accessories and to achieve this, we contacted a producer in Portugal who works with shoe and handbag lines.

Where can I buy your products?

On my website www.lupegajardo.com and on Instagram shop.