I am very happy to introduce my first guest at my blog. Please meet Daniela Castellano – a young entrepreneur who is the founder of Castellano Ethnic Origins, a new fashion brand that combine handcrafted ethnic products with a touch of luxury. CASTELLANO enhance the techniques of some of the most highly skilled artisans in Colombia and work with social programmes that seek to empower women and their communities. With donations from every CASTELLANO sale CASTELLANO support social projects in the communities, and bring employment to the highly skilled weavers in the north of Colombia, enabling them to preserve their way of life and tell their story through the patterns and colours they weave, each bag or bracelet unique in its own right.
Tell us about your style
I am a women who likes classic and unique items. I also love to be simple and elegant.
My style motto is less is always more! Therefore I don’t like loud clothes and carry a lot of things with me. This is why I only carry a small ”Mochila” bag with only the main essentials – oyster card (you can’t go anywhere without it in London!), credit card, lip balm and my phone.
What items you can not live without?
I can’t live without a good book related to spiritual subjects. I am vegan so I always have nuts and fruits in my bag. This is something I can’t live without.
How did you come up with CASTELLANO ETHNIC ORIGINS idea?
I always wanted to have my own fashion business. When I was 19 I came up with idea to sell evening wear and use my last name Castellano as a brand name. However I got distracted and I never made it happen.
In 2013 I reached the point in my life when I was actively seeking for something that could make me happy and I could be passionate about. I didn’t want to work for someone else and I knew there should be so much more I could do. I felt really lost so I decided to look for inspiration so I went backpacking in the north of Colombia where Wayuu and Arhuaca tribes live. I knew already that they weave amazing “Mochilas” cross body bags. I was so inspired that I decided to live with them in order to learn their culture and craftsmanship. And this is how I created CASTELLANO ETHNIC ORIGINS, which was born from a desire to empower indigenous women through their craftsmanship and bring meaningful products to the world of fashion. Also I found a passion in my life that drove to fall in love with the stories hidden in the bags and the people who made them.
How did you come up with the idea to combine indigenous craft and luxury?
I have seen brands and people who use to sell indigenous craft with any care of the quality and details and I wanted to do in a very different way. Therefore I decided that I would like to have the best quality and at the same time transform this handmade pieces into luxury which could also represent tribes around the world. This is how I came up with a concept to have something ethnic, handmade but also luxury, different and unique. This is why I put so much effort in creating one of a kind piece (all bags and bracelets are one of a kind).
What inspired you to look for fashion inspiration in crafts of traditional indigenous tribes? Tell me about the message you want to pass
My main inspiration in life is to do something that makes me happy and what I am passionate about. Honestly these were the only things I was searching for. I am not thinking about making millions I just want to be happy and have a purpose in life.
Living with tribes inspired me to show a face behind a fashion item as there are so many items in fashion that no one knows who made them and what their story is. This is why CASTELLANO ETHNIC ORIGINS tells people where the items are coming from, who made them and the meaning of each pattern. This is how I create awareness of the tribes and their craftsmanship.
Tell us more how the items are being made and where we can buy them
The bags and bracelets are first woven in northern Colombia. Regions of the Guajira and the Sierra Nevada where tribes live in a completely ethnic lifestyle – no heating or electricity. Then the bags come to Bogotá. In my workshop (at my house) I worked with women who helped me to attach the Swarovski crystals one by one by hand. So the final product is 100% hand made.
The bags and bracelet can be bought at CastellanoEthnicOrigins.com
Tell us what you would like CASTELLANO ETHNIC ORIGINS to achieve
I would like the brand to be known as an international luxury brand that represent tribes and ethnic communities around the world. My first products and collection is from Colombia but later I am planning to look for inspiration in other countries in South America and Africa.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
I have receive many, my favourites are: Don’t think too much, just act and go for it. Don’t be so perfectionist, it will delay you to achieve what you want.
And my best advice for everybody in this planet: “Treat others as you would like them to treat you” and “life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage”.
What are your passionate about?
I love this question. I am passionate about living, about discovering myself every day. I am passionate about fashion, innovation and vegan lifestyle.
Thank you very much for reading! Don’t forget to check out CastellanoEthnicOrigins.com