Updated 11:13 am EDT, April 17, 2024

Published 11:00 am EDT, April 17, 2024

Barequero: Mateo Velásquez’s Tribute to Resilience

By Kiki Khairy

Exploring identity, heritage, and strength, through Mateo Velásquez’s ‘Barequero’ collection.

By Kiki Khairy

Updated 11:13 am EDT, April 17, 2024

Published 11:00 am EDT, April 17, 2024

Colombian fashion designer Mateo Velásquez made his debut on the catwalk of the 080 Fashion Week Barcelona on Thursday, presenting ‘Barequero’, the latest collection from his fashion house, for the Autumn/Winter 2024 season.

Inspired by his hometown of Marmato, Colombia, ‘Barequero’ honors the hard work of everyday people and challenges stereotypes. Marmato, located in Colombia’s northwest, has a long history of gold mining. Velásquez’s designs celebrate this heritage, reflecting the diverse community of Marmato, including indigenous groups, farmers, miners, and others.

The Hunt for the Shiny Stones

The ‘Barequero’ collection, highlights the barequeros, the brave miners who extract gold using traditional methods. These miners face tough conditions, but their dedication shines through. Velásquez has crafted more than just a fashion line; it’s a narrative of resilience and cultural pride.

Gold symbolises all that is superior and divine, a treasure that is hard to find and which gives meaning to long, exhausting days of work in a mine, coexisting with mercury, the lack of air, darkness and heat. Here, the body is a mere tool that is used to fulfil the dreams of settlers from other continents. But just like every dream, objects disappear in an instant, gold and money vanish into thin air, and only dust remains,” emphasizes the brand.

The runway transformed into a vibrant stage, setting the scene for the narrative of the new collection. Models confidently walked amidst a backdrop of lively music, capturing the essence of Marmato’s dynamic spirit.

Velásquez "Barequero" collection, during 080 Barcelona Fashion Week

Gold is a key theme in Velásquez’s designs, symbolizing both wealth and the dreams of those who seek it. Furthermore, the incorporation of gold as a central theme pays homage to Marmato’s mining legacy while also serving as a symbol of aspiration and perseverance. It’s a poignant reflection on the dreams and aspirations of individuals striving for a better future.

By showcasing his latest collection at the 080 Fashion Week Barcelona, Mateo Velásquez has not only celebrated his roots but also challenged stereotypes and brought attention to the strength found within marginalized communities. Fashion has the incredible power to transcend mere aesthetics and become a medium for storytelling and empowerment, and Velásquez’s ‘Barequero’ collection exemplifies this beautifully.

The Collection

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