One to Watch: Cala de la Cruz

Cala de la Cruz is a young Colombian brand designing dynamic, graphic and playful swim and resortwear.

Here, WWD showcases the up-and-coming brand.

Designer: Carolina López Cruz is the founder and creative director of Cala de la Cruz, originally from Cali, Colombia, her passion for textile and fashion design led her to found Cala de la Cruz, a resortwear brand that combines daring designs with a conscious mentality.

Background: Cruz studied Textile Design at the Savannah College of Art and Design, in Savannah, Ga. Her focus on textile printing brought her closer to having a more direct contact with fashion, which is how her professional career began. In addition, she studied fashion design from the Istituto Marangoni in Milan. Upon graduating in 2015, Cruz started working for Urban Outfitters in the U.S. in the men’s textile department, and continued in the women’s and home departments. This work experience challenged her professionally, to highlight her skills as a designer, while providing the tools, knowledge and drive to create her own brand.

Cruz’s interest in creating a fun and conscious brand prompted her to develop her own project with a Colombian sensibility. In 2018, the designer founded the resortwear brand, Cala de la Cruz, in Cali along with her mother Liliana Cruz.

Years in business: Two

Price point: $135 to $400

Stockists: Online: Matches Fashion, Beach Flamingo, Hotel Weekend, Eme-te, Casa Precis and Moda Lab. In-store: Goldbug, Sullivan’s Island, S.C.; P de Palma, Miami; Prestige, Puerto Rico; Ave Maria, El Salvador; Verde Limon, The Beach Store in Honduras; Estee and Paul, Koe in the Dominican Republic; Hotel Le Toiny, Saint Barthélemy; Kloset, St. Dom, Makeno, Blima Borah, Yoo in Colombia; Something Nude, Kuwait; Villa Yasmine, Dubai.

Describe your aesthetic: Although Cala de la Cruz is a Latin brand, its aesthetic wants to go one step further and create something different from what is seen in Latin American design. Founded in Cali, Colombia, Cala de la Cruz is a dynamic resortwear brand fusing bold yet simple designs with a conscious mind-set. Inspired by the beauty of everyday, the brand comes to life when combining timeless, often retro silhouettes, with its enduring elevated graphic botanicals, geometrics and iconic prints that capture a spirited notion.

The label’s homeland is also a focus during production, with all styles made by small local businesses to support a responsible lifecycle. Expect clean lines, sophisticated prints and a unique mix-and-match approach for an eclectic yet cohesive finish.

How heritage informs and influences that aesthetic: Since the beginning, we have tried to explore another side of Latin America. We bring our cheerful and loud personality by creating big, bold, colorful, yet simple designs. We have stepped away from the Latin aesthetic as we know it, but have brought our own high-spirited identity in a way that sets us apart in Latin design.

Influences for the latest collection: For resort 2021, we created a bright and high-spirited collection. Our idea was to bring the best out of the worst. We created this collection to bring joy to our costumers. To give them a message that good and positive things are coming. We used lots of bright colors and big and bold floral and geometric motifs. We asked several people to tell us the first word that came to mind after seeing the collection. All words were positive. Words such as cheerful, energetic, joyful came up, and we decided to name our resort 21 collection, The Happy Collection.

Key fabrics: Cala de la Cruz works with the highest-quality fabrics in the market. We only work with natural fibers for our resortwear, such as linen and cotton. Every day we strive to help the environment as much as we can, working with recycled and organic fabrics for our swimwear and resortwear.

How the last seven months — amid a global pandemic — has been for a business owner and creative: The lasts months have brought all kinds of feelings to all of our team. It has brought a lot of uncertainty of what is going to happen, but we have stayed calm and have dealt with one day at a time. We have been seeing how things progress, and how we can work differently along with what is happening to bring the best outcomes.

For our creative director, it has been a time for a creative rebirth in a way. Being home has given her more time to focus on design and exploring new techniques in the textile industry, new fabrics and new ways of designing.

For the sales department it has been a time to explore ways of talking to our business partners without meeting them in person. There has been a lot of exploration regarding new technologies on how to connect. We have explored ways of showing our collections, which we had never used before. We have been making lots of short clips, not only to highlight our silhouettes and designs, but also to allow our costumers to submerge even more in each of our collections.

Regarding our community in Cali, Colombia. During the pandemic we have supported the ones who need help the most. The ones who during the current situation, cannot carry on with their daily tasks to guarantee basic needs for their families. That is why for a great part of this pandemic with each purchase made in Cala de la Cruz, someone in need received a grocery donation.

What’s next: We work hard every day to bring our customers and business partners the best swim and resortwear. Not only with our designs, but also we work hard to make our company a better more sustainable place and a more conscious community.

We are working on expanding Cala de la Cruz to new markets, trying to reach as many countries as we can and position Cala de la Cruz in the world, not only as a brand, but as a lifestyle. We hope to continue to bring happiness and joy though our designs.

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