Ana Maria Sarmiento was born in Colombia, and splits her time between Europe, Asia and Latin America. She is also the founder and head designer of Flor Amazona, a new jewellery brand that takes its inspiration from traditional Colombian styles and patterns, and gives them a contemporary twist. She travelled to Colombia with well-known photographer Facehunter in order to document her search for inspiration and ideas. See Colombia interviewed her about her inspiration, goals for Flor Amazona and her love of Colombia.
See Colombia: The style of your jewellery is both contemporary and traditionally Colombian at the same time. What is it about Colombia and it’s people that most inspires your work?
Ana Maria: Colombia is a laboratory of life and there is inspiration everywhere! I am inspired by the landscapes, the desert, the ocean, the smells of the foods, nature, animals and the freshness of Colombia. In terms of people I just love their constant happiness! People are always so happy and willing to help you, it’s such a great attitude to have.
SC: How would you describe style and fashion in Colombia? And how has it changed over the years?
AM: Fashion and style can be defined by cities in Colombia, for example, the style in Bogota is very elegant and simple, whereas at the coast it’s full of summer colours and florals whilst keeping sophistication. Colombia manages to nail the summer-chic. Nowadays, with the increasing influx of foreign brands, Colombia is more open to international trends – there is more of an exchange of information in regards to fashion and style.
SC: What places in Colombia did you visit which most influenced the collection and your designs?
AM: We started in Medellin and then travelled on to the Pacific and Caribbean coasts, which included Tayrona, Nuqui, Sierra Nevada and we ended the journey in Bogota. The collections are influenced from everywhere in Colombia, but most of all, the Pacific. We work closely with the indigenous community of the Kamcha Tribe to produce part of the collection so these pieces are heavily influenced by them and their dreams; they propose age old patterns that depict the nature of the rainforest and the world around them, their shamanic visions and symbols of their gods to create pieces that bring peace and fortune to the creator as well as the FLOR AMAZONA wearer.
SC: What are some of the misconceptions about Colombia that you would like to dispel? And how are you working to dispel them?
AM: There is so much natural beauty in Colombia that often gets forgotten in the face of bad press that depicts Colombia as a dangerous and drug-fuelled country. During our journey through Colombia with world-renowned photographer and blogger Yvan Rodic, aka Facehunter, we released a series of photos showing the natural beauty and fashion of Colombia, which received thousands of viewers and countless positive comments. This is just one project that FLOR AMAZONA is running to make sure the world sees the real Colombia – through our brand image and jewellery design we are constantly working to dispel this clichés everyday.
SC: What about Flor Amazona are you the most proud of?
AM: That it is Colombian!
SC: Finally: favourite Colombian…food? Travel destination? Music?
AM: Colombian food – My favourite foods are Arepa santandereana, Jugo de Nispero y Salpicon!
Travel destination: Apart from Colombia, it has to be Florence.
Music – The sound of nature (laughs)!
See Colombia Travel is always trying to find new ways of showing the world the diversity and beauty of Colombia, and Flor Amazona’s designs and their inspiration is another brilliant way to promote Colombia to the world. The fact that they took the time to visit Colombia with a renowned photographer and document their search for inspiration is particularly impressive. Whilst I’m not much of a connoisseur of jewellery myself, Jess has been singing their praises all week!
If you’re interested in learning more about Flor Amazona or purchasing any of their (“fabulous” – Jess, See Colombia Intern) jewellery then you can visit their website here. All photos used here are courtesy of facehunterfajourney.tumblr.com.