The first time I met Claudia was in a cafe called Zaza by Rue de Rivoli, a nice chic parisian place at Le Marais the fashion neighborhood of Paris. I ordered a beer while I was waiting for her and couple minutes later the Bolivian designer arrived with her latin american look strongly influenced for the Parisian style. She´s been living in Paris the last 10 years and you can tell by the way she dresses and the french expressions that escape out of her conversation from time to time.
I contacted Claudia because I was interested to know her passion story and how she has developed a brand where the main texture is the very Bolivian fabric of Alpaca, all in the middle of Paris a city that is know for glamour and sophistication. So during that first meeting, we arranged a day of shooting at her workshop near the Arc the Triumph to get to know closer her story.
The day of the shooting, I arrived to her Atelier, we did the shoot and we talked a lot; while she was smoking one of those long, slim, girly Vogue cigarettes this is what she told me about her life, her dreams, her brand and history:
Claudia started in fashion for passion after her parents gave her a sewing machine when she was only 12 years old, at that age she “started to make clothes, without know how to do it, just by following her instinct” as she said. At the same time she was drawing a lot and the first clothes she made were for her parents, her sister and after for the people that was around her. When she was 17 she started doing some catwalks with her clothes in Bolivia in a really empiric way.
From those beginnings she always had clear on her mind that she wanted to come to Paris and develop herself as a fashion designer, so she started studying french and thanks to the help of a teacher she applied to one of the most important fashion schools of the world called ESMOD. To get in the school, she had to compete agains other candidates, she presented her application and got accepted, immediately opening the door for her dream to live in the city of lights and develop as a fashion designer.
She graduated with honors from the ESMOD and started to work with big brands as Givenchy and Tara Jarmon and some other small ones. All these different works gave her the necessary experience to know how the fashion world works and how to develop a fashion brand. Back on those days, working for these important brands, she met for the first time the Alpaca and right away she felt a strong connection with the fabric since it comes from the roots of her country of origine.
After 4 years of working for other brands, she decided to start her own brand “Claudia Paz” working with the alpaca as its main fabric, using the Bolivian vision but with the influence of the Parisian experience, as she says “I started working with Bolivia showing that Alpaca comes from there, but in a different approach, not in the typic ethnic way that you can see everywhere”
The concept that she’s been developing with her brand is to create clothing for woman, made 100% with alpaca, with a high quality, exclusiveness and with the Parisian style but with the goal of having them in an accesible price for the market, which was her most important challenge because as we all know the Alpaca is a very expensive fabric. In the other hand, she wanted to work directly with the ethnic craftsmen communities who live in the Bolivian plateau who have worked with Alpaca for centuries; her idea was to learn a lot from them and at the same time teach them a lot of parisian techniques she already knew.
Model: Ashley Revollo from Woman Model Management
Now days, all of her clothes are made in those communities, helping them to have a new income and at the same time showing in Paris the know-how of Bolivian culture. Her objective is to continue establishing her brand in Paris, she also has already been selling in Japan and Switzerland and she’s very interested also in the markets of Australia, USA and China.
I asked her to tell me what was inspiring her for her next collections, and she told me that she has been lately really influenced by Cactus, since this is a plant that you can find all around the Bolivian plateau and also its green color reassembles the color of that magnificent land…she really loves green color and the savage and rustic idea that the cactus incarnates.
Finally I want to say that for the designers, I’m interested to show through my photography my vision of the environment where they work, their collections, portrayed them with something related to them and also to merge them with his/her inspirations.
For this photoshoot we worked in collaboration with Ashley Revollo from Woman Model Management Paris, an amazing half Cuban half Colombian model that lives in Miami but was in Paris for work during couple of weeks.
Obviously, as I always said, the spirit of Pashioncase is to have Natural Pictures, so there is No Make Up, No Hair Dressing and of course No Skin Retouch.