Despite marching to the beat of its own independently styled drum (think platform shoes and metallic leggings, which most people outside of Argentina find perplexing), Argentina’s fashion scene is getting some welcomed praise from some pretty important people as of late.
Kelly Talamas, the Editor-in-chief of Vogue Mexico & Latin America, recently visited the country and said that she was pleasantly surprised by the amount of unique brands present in the country. “[Argentina] has more of their own local brands than any other country I’ve been to,” she said.
She went on to say in an interview with #MuyMonaTV that Argentina has established a whole host of fashion trends, and that although each country in Latin America has its own particular style, Argentina stands out to her because most of its fashion is set locally with international brands lacking the popularity seen in most of its neighboring countries.
The stress on local fashion is due in part to the import restrictions and taxes on international brands in Argentina, but this is quickly changing. With the current inflation rates soaring, consumers are beginning to look more to international brands for cheaper alternatives. In light of President Mauricio Macri lifting currency controls at the end of last year (known as the cepo), this in theory should be much easier. Textile imports have already increased by 33 percent this year as a result, according to a report by the PRO-TEJER Foundation.
While this is great for consumers looking for cheaper alternatives and for international brands who have now expressed an interest in opening flagship stores here, this is bad news for local production. Sales have fallen by an average of 30 percent in the country since the textile import increase, and in some cases as high as 80 percent, according to the report by the PRO-TEJER Foundation.
Those numbers have many wondering if Talamas will still be as impressed with Argentina’s trendsetting ways if retail giants like Forever21 and H&M find their way into town.