New Designer to Know: Mercedes Salazar

Jewelry-designer Mercedes Salazar has been making major waves in the fashion world with her ornate chanderlier-esque and fringed accessories. She’s already managed to eye of several A-listers, and we understand why: her work is exceptional. Each piece is carefully handmade and incorporates time-honored Colombian techniques. Here’s what Mercedes has to say about her latest inspiration and the one woman she would want to dress (you might be surprised about who it is!).

Hi Mercedes! Let’s get started. How would you sum up your collection in five words?
“I’d say: Latin, fiesta, unique, divine and confidence.”

Your designs are so bold. Can you describe the kind of woman you envision wearing your designs?
“I design for a woman who believes in herself, a woman who sees a beautiful person every time she looks in the mirror. A woman who is admired and unique, and who uses fashion as a means to empower herself every day.”

We love the playfulness of your work. What and where do you look to for inspiration?
“I get so much valuable inspiration from stories and dreams. Beautiful and colorful countries like Mexico, Bolivia, Ecuador and Colombia are huge sources of inspiration for me. Most recently, I’ve looked to cities like New York, Paris and New Delhi.”

We’ve heard that you’ve been working with local Colombian artisans...
“This is something that’s very close to my heart. One of our brand tenets is to continue using ancestral Colombian jewelry-making techniques because all too often these techniques get lost in a country’s history. We want to keep them alive. So we decided to partner with local artisans in El Putumayo and La Guajira on some of the different pieces that go into the jewelry. I have to say that the work the artisans create is truly beautiful and full of passion. I believe our jewelry is better for it.”

We love that about your line–it’s really inspiring. You mentioned the use of traditional Colombian jewelry-making techniques. What are some of your favorites?
“I love the Wayuu weaving technique that the women in La Guajira use—it involves weaving colorful threads using a single crochet needle. And the Mochila technique from the Arawac people. In this method, the woman actually imparts her spiritual thoughts into the weaving using natural wool from La Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta.”

Switching gears–what’s the one accessory you think every woman should own?
“A pair of Mercedes Salazar Fiesta earrings, of course.”

We know that you travel a lot for work. What are your go-to places to visit when you’re back in Colombia?
“As far as shopping goes, the popular downtown markets of Bogota, such as Paloqueao, are an absolute must! For dining, Salinas, Ganberro and El Techo are all incredible–you really can’t go wrong here. And the vast green mountains that become red at sunset are a must-see.”

And finally, who’s the one woman in history you would choose to dress?
“Frida Kahlo! Or Ursula Iguaran from One Hundred Years of Solitude.”