I couldn’t believe my eyes when I caught Eva Hughes perched beneath a VOGUE cut-out dangling from the ceiling. Everyone had been trying to get an interview with her at Colombiamoda and here was my chance. But Spanish is not my language.
Where better to star than ‘Ola!!’ – with my hand accidentally on Hughes’ PA’s bottom. “es possibl-ay a interview-ay Eva Hughes?”
Would this erroneous babble see me through?
“Si Si!” nodded the PA, perhaps charmed by the initial hand to bum contact. She looked at her watch and booted me through to VOGUE’s private area. Nobody could interrupt us up here, I think she said, as we entered the cool pop up construction. Exhibitions, I thought, they’re lashings of cool these days!
KB: So, Eva are you enjoying Colombiamoda 2010 [cos’ it’s way beyond me]?
EH: Yes very much, I just arrived but I’m very excited to see what the designers want to propose this year
KB: What’s so exciting about this year?
EH: Well, the designs have evolved and Colombia is having a very good moment in terms of fashion. We saw Esteban Cortazar’s fashion show last night and today, look at this place that VOGUE has created for designers. I hope with VOGUE’s support they’ll get the opportunity to export their designs to other countries
KB: For example, the United Kingdom?
EH: For example, yes, but I think a lot of other steps need to be taken before that occurs. Hopefully there will come a day when ‘made in Colombia’ will have the same ring to it as ‘made in Italy’ and ‘made in Paris’ – it won’t be so out of the ordinary.
KB: So you’ve got high hopes for Colombia’s fashion industry?
EH: We’re very lucky to have the support of the government and once the government identifies that fashion is also business then that’ll bring a lot of opportunities for designers and brands to export and create a lot of momentum for fashion. Colombia is a country that really believes in fashion and lives it. People are very enthusiastic and well travelled, they inform themselves. So it’s not an easy market but it’s an interesting one and one in which there’s a lot of potential.
KB: Do you think the cultural transformation of Medellin [Colombia’s second largest City] is slightly linked to the success of the fashion industry?
EH: Of course. We have to remember that Medellin is a city that suffered a lot many years ago and it’s incredible to come now and visit a fair like this that’s so well organised, so vibrant and it’s so wonderful to see how the people have evolved. It’s not been easy. That gives Medellin more credit than other cities you can visit, it’s exciting I have to say. I love Medellin and there are a lot of business opportunities here especially for the fashion industry.
KB: Do you think we should expect to see Esteban Cortazar and his fashion lines in Britain at some point?
EH: There has to be a lot of support by the government. Colombia has made major steps to improving that but there are other countries like the US where that’s something that needs to be worked on. If Exito decided to open a branch in the UK and if his clothes are able to be sold there, I think there are a lot of details that would go into the opportunity. We need to improve the taxes among other factors.
KB: What’s it like being the editor of a massive fashion magazine?
EH: It’s a lot of responsibility, it’s a complex territory there are a lot of countries we need to be involved with and sometimes it can be overwhelming. If you go to Argentina and see the potential there and then go on to Peru and see the same thing, that’s when I feel the overwhelming pressure of what needs to be done and how much more there is to do.
KB: How do you behave when under that kind of pressure?
EH: It’s overwhelming and a wonderful feeling because you see that latin america has the opportunity create something that’s never been done before. What’s more exciting than that? To create platforms and situations for designers that have never had that before. This is the future.
KB: Have you always been into fashion?
EH: I’ve always been into magazines but regardless fashion has been part of my life forever. Growing up I tried on shoes that my mother, who was really involved with fashion, really loved. I think inherited that sense of being able to buy quality items that would stay in your wardrobe for years. Now I’m the grown up and my little niece is the one trying on my shoes.
KB: Does she want to be in magazines?
EH: I don’t think so, she just loves trying on my heels. It’s fun to see the instinct in us to like fashion.
KB: Does the need to know what’s going on in the fashion industry ever overwhelm you at all?
EH: It’s a mixed feeling but there’s talent and that’s what gives you food, spirit what enriches your life personally. We need to be up to date about what’s going on in the world and it’s moving so fast and everyone’s so well informed. Stepping it up makes you a better person, it makes you a better professional and it gets you a better job. That’s very rewarding.
KB: Talk me through your day…
EH: I wake up really early and tend to go to sleep at a reasonable time depending on whether I’ve been at an event or not. I travel quite a bit and that has changed my life completely – airports, planes – it takes up a lot of my personal time.
KB: Do you manage to even have breakfast?
EH: In the week l’ll have a cappuccino and a yoghurt or fruit. The weekends I splurge with a bigger breakfast but then I have a light lunch. Sometimes I eat at the office. It’s so exciting at the office that sometimes I forget I need to eat a reasonable meal!
KB: What’s your favourite meal?
EH: You know what, I have to confess, I love sushi. I haven’t got a particular favourite Spanish food. Sometimes I need to get out the office and walk, it’s important to find a space. the older I get the more I realise I need to slow down – by running you don’t accomplish everything. You need to take firm steps.
If Hughes is happy with how the fashion world is evolving in Latin America, then so am I. It makes you think, though, that one day us brits with low-hung bottoms may too evolve, into pert bottomed nymphs. Fingers crossed.