A couple of weeks ago, during the insanity of fashion month, my family and I had a chance to spend some days in Montevideo, Uruguay. My husband was doing a shoot there and it timed perfectly with a condensed Winter Break at my kids’ school in Brooklyn.
I quickly did a Google search on what’s happening with fashion in Uruguay, and specifically Montevideo. Turns out that “Slow Fashion” is a trend there, and that the city holds their own fashion week. I was in! There had to be something to buy.
Montevideo’s an interesting city: Coastal, with a river that runs along the lands’ edge that meets the ocean much further in the distance. It’s got history and culture, but also feels slightly left behind and forgotten.
While my husband worked during the day, my kids and I explored the city, visiting various outdoor markets, eating leisurely lunches, swimming in the river/ocean and enjoying yummy dulce de leche gelato. Insane graffiti cloaked the countless vacant buildings we came across, so visually arresting against the dull grey concrete. I loved it.
Since I’d squeezed into a swimsuit several times during our stay for the kids, it was definitely payback time. I dragged them to the store in Montevideo—Ana Livni.
Walking up the street, I almost died when I came across this great piece of art. Wishing I could bring it home, I turned around and saw a really cool door that turned out to be exactly where I wanted to be—Ana Livni.
Inside, I met Ana. She is one of the creative forces behind Moda Lenta (along with Fernando Escuder) and happened to be running the store for the day. Inside you could be anywhere: Paris, London, New York. There are so many ideas floating around and being displayed, it made my heart race.
What’s beautiful about Ana Livni and Moda Lenta is the process and craft. Slow fashion is a direct response to fast fashion like Zara, H&M and Topshop. While these massive global brands quickly churn-out runway-copied looks at the speed of light for a fraction of what designer’s charge, Ana Livni/Moda Lenta is about taking time with fashion. Sourcing locally, all garments are made with gorgeous wool and delicious cottons. Many pieces are hand dyed or meticulously silk screened. And each collection is a descendent of the previous collection.
It’s all here at Ana Livni and they’re definitely onto something. Like the city, some of the details on the silhouettes do feel two steps behind. I wish they’d design with the same abandon and contemporary eye they exercise with the art they create for their store—gigantic, amorphous pieces made out of $1 Chinese pajamas, stitched together without any waste. I loved how these sculptural masses took the ugliness of mass-production and re-purposes their disposability into true art, and the depth of meaning they conveyed with no words.
I did walk away with a few cool pieces (I’m wearing a pair of their leggings in the photo below) and it was absolutely worth the trip to Montevideo. Next time I’m there, I’m hoping that this charming city and awesome brand has caught up to and is running with its potential.