Your Guide to Sustainable and Ethical Shopping in Medellin and Bogota, Colombia by Alden Wicker
Colombia has a rich history of indigenous artisanship; this is where the famous woven Wayuu mochila bags hail from, after all.
But there’s so much more to shopping in Medellin and Bogota than handicrafts. Colombian women, and their fashion, are fun, worldly, and sexy. They combine a care for their country’s people and wild places, with investment in their appearance, and a penchant for pops of color.
I’ve gathered up for you (with some help of my knowledgeable friends from the artisan Colombian website NOA Trade) the best authentic Colombian fashion shopping in Bogota and Medellin.
Note that in Colombia, many boutiques are in private studios, where you have to buzz yourself in. But that’s where the good stuff is! I’ll note down for you when to expect that so you’re not left standing around awkwardly wondering what to do next.
Ethical & Sustainable Shopping in Medellin
Cra. 35 # 8A – 81
You’ll have to walk through a bar/coffee shop to get inside this place, which has only Colombian designers of fashion, art, home, and natural beauty products, including goodies from eco-friendly favorite Animaterra. Don’t miss the upstairs, with modern furniture and lighting, plus a custom men’s suit shop.
Cra. 35 # 8a -16
This beautiful brand works with the indigenous Kuna and Embera tribes’ combined talents to make stunning gold-plated jewelry and accessories based on traditional motifs. The shop is also their studio, so you’ll have to buzz for entry. The day we stopped by, an indigenous man who designs some of the patterns was visiting. After settling on a design, he was going back to the indigenous people to teach them out to make it. The results are utterly unique.
Cra. 37 #8a 12
This socially conscious swimwear company incorporates artisan techniques such as macrame and hand dyeing to create what they call “wearable” (and very sexy) art. Their brick-and-mortar store had just opened when I visited in February, but they’re also sold in Makeno, below.
This large store features Indie Colombian designers, who aren’t afraid to be experimental and add color to upscale clothing and streetwear. You have to pick through the offerings and ask some questions to find the ethical and sustainable items, but they are there.