Leonora Jimenez: “I See Guanacaste as a Place Conducive to Producing and Creating”

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The December holidays are upon us. Christmas and New Year’s draw close, but in addition to these two classic dates, beginning last year, one of the most important fashion events in Costa Rica has been held in Guanacaste: the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Guanacaste (MBFWG).


The fashion show will take place on December 28th at 7 p.m. at Hotel Hacienda Pinilla. The Voice of Guanacaste spoke with model and director of MBFWG, Leonora Jimenez, who affirmed that the province has everything needed to take advantage of the fashion industry.

What is your assessment of the first MBFWG?


A first project always has a lot of things to improve for the second year… However, it is the first project that I have been involved in where everything came together so well. Everything! The set up, announcement, press, space and place. Everything lent itself to being a world-class, top-quality event. It was definitely a very good experience that we had as an organization. The Guanacaste Fashion Week was born as a solid project.


Who attended more, Costa Ricans from the central valley, from Guanacaste or foreigners?


I think that 80% were people from the central valley who were on vacation. There were people from Guanacaste and there were foreigners.

Were auditions held to hire models from Guanacaste?


We did an open casting and girls came from all over the country, from Puntarenas, Guanacaste and Limon. Forty-eight models are going to participate and 150 showed up for the casting. Thirty-two are women and 17 are men.


I read that the event will feature three Costa Rican designers. Why wasn’t anyone chosen from Guanacaste?


Everything we do is open. No one handpicks [based on friendships or contacts]. For designers, we do an open call where all designers across the country can send their proposals by email, which facilitates the process, and these proposals are evaluated by a jury. That jury chooses three designers that will be sponsored by the event.


This year, we have a designer who has never participated in any Fashion Week, a designer who recently graduated (Carolina Rojas), Fabrizzio Berrocal who has been in the one in San Jose and not in the one in Guanacaste, and Marcel Desanti who is a repeat.


But since it is being held in Guanacaste, shouldn’t the local industry be given more support?

There is an interest in making the industry grow in the country across the board. Obviously if one of the Fashion Weeks is held in Guanacaste, it would be consistent and interesting to have more presence in the region. However, all of our platforms, be it for models, designers or photographers who want to be accredited, are completely open. Everyone can participate, but all that’s necessary is to be the best.

The first year, the event was held in Hacienda Pinilla on December 28, 2014.

What makes Fashion Week Guanacaste different from the one in San Jose?

Costa Rica is the only country in the region that has two Fashion Weeks. Guanacaste is ideal because it is a paradisaic place; the climate is ideal. If we want the country’s industry to grow, for the Costa Rican consumer to start to play more with fashion, we need it to reach all corners of the country, for fashion to start to permeate the daily life of Costa Ricans, because fashion is an industry that can create jobs, new economies and that can inject flow into the country and therefore I believe that we should take advantage of it.

What potential do you see in Guanacaste to develop fashion as an industry?

I think it’s huge. The fact that you can produce designs, they can be sown, even everything that comes after that, assembly, a whole perfect space to be able to produce. I see Guanacaste as a place that is conducive to being able to produce and create, and to be a breeding ground for designers that highlight all of the culture, colors and textures belonging to the region in their designs. It is something that is really missing, and this breeding ground for creativity is present there.