Colombia has a rich history of indigenous artisanship; this is where the famous woven Wayuu mochila bags hail from, after all.
But there’s so much more to shopping in Medellin and Bogota than handicrafts. Colombian women, and their fashion, are fun, worldly, and sexy. They combine a care for their country’s people and wild places, with investment in their appearance, and a penchant for pops of color.
I’ve gathered up for you (with some help of my knowledgeable friends from the artisan Colombian website NOA Trade) the best authentic Colombian fashion shopping in Bogota and Medellin.
Note that in Colombia, many boutiques are in private studios, where you have to buzz yourself in. But that’s where the good stuff is! I’ll note down for you when to expect that so you’re not left standing around awkwardly wondering what to do next.
(PS. Here’s where to eat in Medellin when you’re pining for some healthy food.)
Ethical & Sustainable Shopping in Medellin
Cra. 35 #7-83
You’ll have to get buzzed into this atelier of local designers and beauty brands, but it’s a gem of a find. Strike up a conversation with whoever is behind the counter, because the owners of the brands (most ethical and some sustainable) rotate through running the shop. Find lingerie, apparel, jewelry, and beauty, all of which is very modern and international in style.
Cra. 35 # 8a -16
This beautiful brand works with the indigenous Kuna and Embera tribes’ combined talents to make stunning gold-plated jewelry and accessories based on traditional motifs. The shop is also their studio, so you’ll have to buzz for entry. The day we stopped by, an indigenous man who designs some of the patterns was visiting. After settling on a design, he was going back to the indigenous people to teach them out to make it. The results are utterly unique.
Cra. 37 #8a 12
This socially conscious swimwear company incorporates artisan techniques such as macrame and hand dyeing to create what they call “wearable” (and very sexy) art. Their brick-and-mortar store had just opened when I visited in February, but they’re also sold in Makeno, below.
Cra. 35 # 8A – 81
You’ll have to walk through a bar/coffee shop to get inside this place, which has only Colombian designers of fashion, art, home, and natural beauty products, including goodies from eco-friendly favorite Animaterra. Don’t miss the upstairs, with modern furniture and lighting, plus a custom men’s suit shop.
This large store features Indie Colombian designers, who aren’t afraid to be experimental and add color to upscale clothing and streetwear. You have to pick through the offerings and ask some questions to find the ethical and sustainable items, but they are there.
Ethical & Sustainable Shopping in Bogota
Cl. 64 ##7-72
This Colombian brand offers organic beauty products containing Colombian flowers and organic essential oils in gorgeous packaging. Plus, if you bring back your old container, you get a 10% discount on your next purchase.
Cra. 14a #82-16
Find some ethical and sustainable brands in this small boutique, including Peligare, Mue shoes from the Andes, vintage and upcycled fashion, and natural beauty.
You have to buzz to visit this studio and offices of local, independent designers. Keep an eye out for Papel knitwear, made with recycled cotton, and Little Ramona’s denim, made with 50% less water. Message them on Facebook or Instagram to get the address.
This government-supported and beautifully-curated store has several locations in Bogota, featuring nothing but Colombian traditional artisan work, from hammocks and mochila bags, to carved homewares and beaded jewelry.