The Argentines: ‘Crisis = Opportunity’
17 December 2014
Author: Mora Basilotta, Fashion Brand CEO
With one of the highest rates of entrepreneurship in the world, Argentina has produced flourishing and vibrant fashion talent. It is one of the busiest countries in South America when it comes to innovation in the fashion industry over the last decade. Buenos Aires is the booming centre for the Argentinean fashion industry, bringing together the big players as well as dynamic independent brands during the 2 fabulous, internationally acclaimed shows: BAF WEEK (Buenos Aires Fashion Week) and the BAAM (Buenos Aires Alta Moda).
The fashion industry in Argentina was at its peak during the 90’s, during a very tough economic crisis, when the predominant national fashion brands of today began to bloom (including Paula Cahen D'Anvers, Ona Saenz, Caro Cuore, Jazmin Chebar and Vitamina, to name just a couple). Today, the country is going through yet another very deep economic crisis. In the beginning of 2014, after a long time in recession, the country finally went into default. Despite the dreadful situation, Argentines seem to live by the motto “crisis = opportunity”... and Argentina, overall, is a country of opportunities.
Argentines are very bold when it comes to fashion: they are always willing to try new and different looks, even though it might take some time for people to incorporate international trends. In general, Argentines aspire to premium international brands like Marc Jacobs and Prada; however, these brands not being affordable for many, high street brands such as Forever 21 and H&M win in popularity. Unfortunately, nowadays in Argentina there is no large retail structure or strong presence from large global fast fashion companies, despite the great consumer demand. Many international players face legal and financial barriers when considering export to Argentina due to tough import restrictions and currency devaluation (it is even illegal to sell clothes with dollar prices!). Nevertheless, many local companies have grown through local business groups with different brands; franchises or exclusive own stores or multibrand stores in malls, avenues, et cetera.
All in all, Argentina already has a developed fashion market, but there are still niches to be filled, and the economic crisis is opening up new pathways in the ever-evolving Argentine fashion scene.