Fashion trends are constantly changing, but where do they come from? We can trace many of today’s trends back to historic garments and accessories from across the globe. Latin America has influenced quite a few commonplace fashion items. Colombian coffee farmers, Argentinian cowboys, and farmers from the Andes mountains have all played a role in popularizing fashion staples that you may have in your closet right now! Below, we’ll explore just a few of the trends that have roots in Latin America.
Ruffled blouses with an off-the-shoulder silhouette are not just a modern, trendy style–they were also part of the traditional attire worn by mestizos, Latin American women who have both Spanish and indigenous heritage. Though contemporary versions may use different fabrics or come in different styles, we can still trace the roots back to these communities.
Another example of a popular trend with roots in Latin culture is gaucho pants. These wide-leg cropped pants are a timeless, comfortable fashion choice popularized by Argentinian cowboys. They were initially made of leather and designed to be worn as a protective layer over another pair of pants while sitting on horseback, which is part of why they have such a loose design. While they are made in various fabrics today and are no longer designed for horseback riding, they still closely resemble the traditional Latin American Gaucho style. Latin cowboys likely influenced modern cowboy boots as well!
In the high altitude of the Andes mountains, farmers relied on heavy wool ponchos to keep warm while outdoors. Today, ponchos are a cool-weather staple across the world. They’re easy to pop over a basic top and offer a cozy, blanket-like alternative to a jacket. Trendy ponchos can come in a variety of materials and patterns, but the traditional wool variety is still regularly used by Latin farmers today.
If you are familiar with the term “carriel,” you may recognize them as saddlebags: an over-the-shoulder bag with a top flap, often including an accordion design to maximize capacity. Coffee farmers in Colombia developed this design as a way to carry their personal belongings with them while staying hands-free. Like ponchos, this practical design has been adopted and adapted by many fashion brands and is commonplace in closets across the world.
It is easy to follow trends without knowing their origins, but it is so valuable to look into these items you use every day and recognize their rich cultural heritage. As you can see here, many fashion trends were originally developed as practical solutions for occupational challenges! These are just a few examples of how Latin culture has contributed to modern fashion. I encourage you to explore the cultural origins of some of your favorite fashion trends!