Juan Carlos Obando

Juan Carlos Obando

The Designer Bringing the Art of Fashion to All Body Types

Trends are fun, but timeless, beautiful and thoughtfully designed clothes are, well, just that. This method of creating timeless clothing is something Los Angeles-based designer Juan Carlos Obando has mastered during his decade long career, imbuing subtly romantic details into his collections so that the vibe is poetic and the silhouettes are beautifully fluid.

His process is more like a painter than a traditional designer and it’s part of what has sent his career soaring. Women love his goddess-like shapes, understated color palette and artist like approach to creating.

Consider his best-selling draped silk gowns and bias-cut skirts which have garnered their own cult following. The former art director and runner up for the Vogue/CFDA Fashion Fund award, has approached fashion in its own way and it resonates with women who want to own their look and hold onto beautifully made clothing forever.

Here the designer shares the details of his design process and being inspired by everything from dance halls to global cultures.

"I have an unassuming approach to design, period, that on top of living in California, my output tends to be more about fluidity, essence and an attitude vs a silhouette that defines which body and what height or size is needed. I think more about how the movement reacts with the body and how to play with seducing the eye."
JC OBANDO
Juan Carlos Obando, courtesy of the designer.

Q & A With Juan Carlos

Where do you get most of your inspiration?

Cadence is a word I constantly remind myself of. It embodies those feelings that truly inspire me. I have always seen fashion with the eyes of a young kid who went with his dad to South American dance hall parties and watch so many incredible people move to the rhythm of music who had just arrived from El Congo and Senegal , its these night of freedom and lush emotions that enabled me to built the vocabulary I draw upon every time I approach design.

Your clothing has been worn by so many notable names, but a common thread is that the women are confident and strong, is this what you envision when designing?

Absolutely. I believe clothing should serve a practical, utilitarian purpose and each person can adapt it to their own lives, at the same time, “Presence” is a word grew up with, its a key element of my design ethos. It can be manifested in so many ways, cultures, aesthetics or sizes, but it also transcends the context of beauty, which bends our conditioned perceptions of it.

Your sense of color is so magical, is color something that often guides where you're going with a collection?

Happy you mentioned that and thank you!, Color is the first conversation we have at the studio and one we actually discuss daily, it’s the beginning of it all, It sets the mood and the story, it also tells me a lot about which silhouette would work best, yield, length and above all the level of sensuality.

Do you feel as though fashion is becoming more inclusive and diverse in the way people are designing and presenting their clothing?

One hundred percent. It’s an open conversation in which so much is there to be said! For me, maybe is my background or my personal taste in music, but I have always been extremely aware of a curve and how much can be done with it.

How do your clothes work for all types of bodies?

I have an unassuming approach to design, period, that on top of living in California, my output tends to be more about fluidity, essence and an attitude vs a silhouette that defines which body and what height or size is needed. I think more about how the movement reacts with the body and how to play with seducing the eye.

How do you think fashion can further the conversation for diversity?

Yes and it must. Every day, every hour, fashion has always been diverse in its core, just look how much designers have drawn upon so many global cultures for inspiration, from Africa to the Arctic. But how it has been showcased and communicated has not always being aligned; But I do believe that’s changing and I am a strong voice for that.

As a young and super successful designer, what do you consider the next big goal for your company and brand?

Beauty, it has been my goal from the very beginning. It’s part of that childhood memory at the dance halls I mentioned earlier. The aroma of Jasmine and cayennes in a balmy summer evening as well as the red of the lipsticks and the shimmer in women shoulders as they danced to a song from Orchestra Baobab, specifically Sibam, which I encourage you to listen to as well, and dance wearing one of my Santos Gowns.

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