Born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico, a city in a small island where style reigns as an ultimate form of expression, I always embraced fashion as an integral way of defining my identity, self-confidence, and womanhood. Through childhood, both my grandmother and mother would sew and teach me that recognizing good quality and high craftsmanship was more important than following trends. But it wasn’t until I was able to buy my own things that I fully understood the importance of identifying well-made items – treasured pieces of jewelry and clothes that I had invested in – or as I like to say: wearable art.
In my early 20s, I started to travel around the world and noticed that other Latin American countries had similar fashion tendencies to the ones I had been exposed to while growing up in Puerto Rico. Although they had access to different materials, all Latin American countries I visited had a common design inspiration: the Latin woman. To my surprise, however, many of these artists were unknown in the U.S. mainland. It was then, that I decided, to make it my mission to find creative ways to expose these wonderful Latin creations. A few years later, BOCA CIEGA was born: a style market inspired by the beautiful creations of talented Latin American designers and artists. The concept is already evolving to include up-and-coming international designers and artists.
This project is dedicated to my father, Gonzalo Durán Pino, who passed away in September of 2014. He was born in Havana, Cuba and spent most of childhood in Boca Ciega, a beach to the east of Havana. Although a simple man devoted to the ocean and his family, my father embraced his Latin American culture like no other, and was always fond of adding color, meaning, and depth to our lives. He was and continues to be my world.
Thank you for being here. I hope this space inspires you to embrace your style while you have fun adding color and spark to your own persona.