Culture, Migrants, Multiculture, Visual Arts

Design and inspiration from the Andes

From now until the 16th January, London is showcasing modern fashion trends based on traditional Bolivian dress.

The traditional dress of Andean women has many characteristic elements: iconography, symbolism, and the use of contrasting colour combinations, for example.

These garments have served as a form of cultural expression in countries such as Peru and Bolivia throughout history.

Only recently has Andean fashion become popular and widespread. It is now not uncommon to see the types of clothes only seen before on the residents of the Andes:  full skirts, pompom hats and bright colours have now become common trends in cities.

Traditional Andean dress originally came from the combination of Spanish colonial dress, and the tradition and materials found in the Andean region.  Traditional women’s clothing in particular has become (in spite of some geographical differentiation) an emblem of Bolivia across the world.

Popular garments such as shawls and ponchos (worn not only by women) are adorned with geometric patterns, stripes, and depictions of animals and humans. In addition, men wear clothes such as tunics and trousers decorated using local dyes typical of the Andes.

Taking inspiration from the region, Bolivian designer Vivian Hidalgo, based in London, is showing her work in the coming weeks. Since 2010 Hidalgo has been working on her own range called “Contemporary Andean Design”, with a clear Andean influence.

Amongst other work, the exhibition will show her most recent designs: a collection entitled “The deconstructed floral forms scarves Collection which she has created by hand using traditional textile methods.

The exhibition will take place at The Christmas Arcade, Somerset House, until the 16th January 2013. Somerset House Trust – Strand London WC2R 1LA

For more information see:

(Translated by Claudia Rennie  – Email: Email:

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