NEW YORK, NY -- High fashion from a printer? Though it sounds crazy, the results are stunning.
Eleven designers from all over the Americas recently showcased collections before the official start of New York Fashion Week 2016. As part of Epson's 'Digital Couture Project' and under the theme of "Harmony and Peace Through Fashion,"" designers were able to create their pieces using direct-to-garment and digital dye-sublimation printing.
"The Americas is a rich continent with a wide variety of cultures. We want to make sure to show it's unified," said Alejandro Ordoñez, Epson's Latin America marketing and communications manager. "Even though we are different, there's something interesting when you put everything together. When you put a show like this, you can see there's a social context."
The up-and-coming and acclaimed designers were Agostina Orlandi and Ludmila Osikovsky from Argentina, Fabio Yukio from Brazil, Cristina Ruales from Brooklyn, NY, Matías Hernán from Chile, Felipe Santamaría Luque from Colombia, Fabrizzio Berrocal from Costa Rica, Gustavo Moscoso from Ecuador, Chloe Trujillo from Los Angeles, CA, María de Lourdes Ramírez and Isabel Navarro Landa from Mexico, Danny Santiago from Miami, FL, and Janet Ríos and Carmen Artica from Peru.
Each of the locations hosted a contest using the printers or their local fashion shows to select the representative for this presentation. The designers used printers to alter textile designs and create colorful patterns
NBC Latino spoke to the designers throughout the event, and here are some of the highlights:
Fabrizzio Berrocal has been a designer for six years and normally presents his collections in Mercedes-Benz Fashion Show in San José, Costa Rica.
His collection for Epson is called 'Biodiversidad', and he said "it basically shows a little bit of all the biodiversity that Costa Rica has. There's actually influences of animals, plants, you will see a jaguar on the prints, you'll see a lot of prints with leaves."
"It's inspired very much by all the richness that Costa Rica offers, specially in tourism," he added, "I do believe its important to show New Yorkers all the possibilities and the capacities that Costa Rican designers can offer."
Felipe Santamaría Luque has been designing independently for 3 years on his own brand, LENERD. Santamaría Luque embraced the sublimation because he feels it is the most important technology for designers because they are the artists every step of the way.
He found inspiration for his collection in Colombia's national symbols and flag, as well as the ongoing conflict.
"My collection is called 'Cautiva' [Captive in English] and it's inspired by and it's a tribute to Colombia. I had in mind all the conflict and its about how beauty can blossom despite adversity," he said, "We Latin Americans have so much energy, so much beauty and conflicts, like the captivity in Colombia, are sad and holds us back."
Chloe Trujillo is an artist that got into designing by transferring her artwork into scarves, handbags, and, after this event, clothes.
"It's my first time presenting clothes tonight. After doing this, I am actually so inspired and now I have so many ideas in my head of what I want to do," she said, "For me, this printing really makes the connection between my artwork and designing."
Gustavo Moscoso said he's been a designer from birth because he was born into a family in the business of commercializing textiles. He says his parents have always been extremely well-dressed, making his eventual rise in fashion inevitable.
He launched his brand, GM, in Ecuador in 2001 and found inspiration for his collection in colonial glass houses.
"As a designer, New York is our dream," he said, "I am very proud to represent Ecuador and Latin America, the Latin community. I think there's a lot of talent down there so hopefully we'll bring it up here."
Janet Ríos has been in the fashion industry for over 10 years with the brand Pionier. Ríos said that her experience with Epson had been amazing since the "sublimation technique is really impressive, you can do the designs that you like," she said, "Tonight we were inspired with the theme of nature."
Matías Hernán was the winner from the third season of 'Project Runway Latin America' in 2013 and has since been working with the process of sublimation. The Chilean designer, who mentioned the record-breaking cold in New York, said he had been wanting to come to New York City for a while.
Speaking about his colorful collection, he said: "The concept that they asked for, the theme 'Harmony and Peace Through Fashion' is very much linked to color. There's the theme of the gay flag and of inclusion; my collection speaks of love in general."
María de Lourdes Ramírez and Isabel Navarro Landa have been working together and their collection for Epson is their first collection. Navarro Landa makes the prints while Ramírez makes the clothing design.
"Our inspiration comes from nature where everything is in equlibrium and that translates into our patterns, with techniques like painting and watercolor," said Navarro Landa.
Ramírez said that their families in Mexico are proud of them and that "they wish they were here but they have been following us from home."
Cristina Ruales is originally from Ecuador but has been in New York since she was sixteen and has been a designer for 25 years. This will be her second season with the CFDA Fashion Week calendar and had her own show on February 10th.
"What was exciting about this is that I don't think that people really realize that I am Latina and that I am from Ecuador," she said about her experience with Epson, "I'm often in my own little world so it's really nice to be exposed to other designers, especially other Spanish-speaking designers, something that I don't get to do very often."
Agostina Orlandi was representing Ossira, an Argentinan label that has been in the fashion industry for 20 years. "I'm the graphic designer for the label so I am very happy to be representing Argentina here for them," she said.
Danny Santiago worked off of pictures he had taken and manipulated them into patterns to create his collection.
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"I'm from Miami and I'm very inspired by my surroundings, the architecture, the weather, and everything that is there," he said, "I basically took prints from flamingos, which are very Miami, and an orchid because we have a lot of orchids."
Also in attendance was Constanza Báez, Miss Ecuador 2013 and spokeswoman for Epson in Ecuador, wearing a design using Epson's SureColor F-Series printers.
"With this technique, you can play with your imagination, you can draw whatever you want, and the transfer those ideas to any fabric you want. This is a tool we did not have before," said Baez.
Epson's Fernando Urteaga said printers allow designers to start their businesses faster and at a lower cost. "That is a dream for most designers."