Vanessa Barrantes Talks Shumaq, the Eco-friendly Peruvian Fashion Line

Vanessa Barrantes
Vanessa Barrantes

Sister duo Vanessa and Jacqueline Barrantes are the Miami/NY masterminds behind Shumaq, a four-year-old successful fashion line inspired by the sisters' native Peru. While Vanessa works on the creative design aspect of Shumaq, Jacqueline applies her background in economics and international relations to build the brand and assume the role of Shumaq's businesswoman. Although Vanessa and Jacqueline took different paths in life, the sisters' love for fashion and Peruvian heritage allowed them to create a line of eco-friendly, feminine pieces manufactured completely in their home country.

Shumaq, which means beautiful in Quechua, the native language of

Peru, incorporates distinct Peruvian elements such a handcrafted

sterling silver buttons by working with artisans from the country.

Upcoming Events

Overall, the line exudes a romantic theme of femininity with vintage

inspired pieces aimed for women to feel beautiful in. Shumaq's chic

designs range from 1970s-influenced wrap dresses to striped alpaca

sweaters. Not only is the socially conscious line praised for its

detail-oriented clothing, but also for giving underprivileged women

artisans the opportunity to work in Peru.

This

past Fall, the Shumaq collection unveiled 1950s- and 1960s-inspired

cocktails dresses, blouses, and skirts. The Spring collection was

introduced at a private fashion show during Spring Fashion Week in New

York.

Jacqueline Barrantes

Although

a young line, Shumaq has been featured in Elle, Lucky, Teen Vogue, and

Nylon, and clothing from their line can be purchased in boutiques and

retailers such as Barneys New York, Anthropologie, Selfridges, and the Shumaq online store. We spoke with Vanessa about working with her sister, the fashion world, and future Miami collaborations.

New Times: How did you get into creating Shumaq? What is your background and education like?

Vanessa

Barrantes: Jacky is an economics and international relations major. She

has the finance background and is very business savvy. I, on the other

hand, went to design school at FIT in New York City so when we decided

to start Shumaq, our partnership made sense. We are the perfect

combination. Jacky is very good at what she does, which is running the

business side of Shumaq and I focus on the creative. 


What's it like working in a team with your sister? Do things often run smoothly?

Jacky

is my best friend; we have always been very close. We are very

comfortable telling each other the truth, no sugar coating necessary. We

trust each other, and we have each other's back and that's why working

with family (even though it can be hard at times) is awesome. 


Shumaq holiday dress
What would you like Shumaq to portray? Is there an overall theme to your designs?

Our

themes change and evolve over time. Each season is different but the

essence of Shumaq is always there. We want to create clothing that is

comfortable and doesn't go out of style. I think good design is

timeless, especially in fashion because technology doesn't play a part

in it. 


Why is it important for your clothes to be manufactured in Peru?

We

met amazing people there; we cherish our employees. They make Shumaq

with love. I think that sets us apart from everything that is made in

huge factories in China. Shumaq means beautiful in Quechua, and that's

not only for the way it looks but also for the way it's made.  


Do you think the fashion world is difficult to break into? 

Fashion

in tough because it's always changing; people are always looking for

something new, for new talent. You just have to be very persistent, know

you customer, and stay true to your brand. 


What are your plans for Shumaq in the future?

We have a million plans for this year. One of them is to concentrate on giving Shumaq a stronger identity. Another is to do more collaborations with out

talented friends from Miami such as Peruvian jewelry designers Citrine

by The Stones, knits designer Karelle from Krelwear, and eco-furniture

designer Kaelsie Saravia from Surface Workshop. 


What advice would you offer to aspiring designers? 

My

advice is to work very hard and don't give up on your dream. To do what

you love. As Bruno, Jacky's husband, would say: the harder you work the

luckier you get. Jacky is very ardent about this one, her advice is to

intern, intern, intern!

Follow Cultist on Facebook and Twitter @CultistMiami.


Sponsor Content

Newsletters

All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories
    Send:

Newsletters

All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >