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Afrocentric Fashion Takes Over Columbia and its Presidential Palace

By: Kathy Wu

At a fashion show in Cali, Columbia, two models strut down the catwalk. One is curtained in a red gown with a seashell top and the other, a blue-and-gold dress with fancy glitter, both the impression of Cinderella clones. But most importantly, this fashion adorns Columbia’s future first Black vice president, Francia Marquez. Fashioned in an auric robe with a geometric design of scarlet and cobalt triangles, you would have thought her designer were a fashionable couturier. But the real question is exactly who is responsible for this stunning fashion? A 23-year-old university student.

With no formal design training, Esteban Paz Sinisterra’s art has shown much surprise. Simply put, “decolonization of the human being” and “the elegance of identity.” He is the creator behind the eccentric wardrobe of Francia Marquez, an environmental activist and lawyer who will become Colombia’s first Black vice president on Sunday.

So who is the future vice president who walked in this show? IN her impressive career, Marquez, 40, has made many remarkable accomplishments.

About 40 percent of the country’s increasing households have been living on less than $100 a month, which Marquez has easily resolved.

In addition, Marquez became the voice for Black Colombians that make up only 6 to 9 percent of the population. An example for this her famous speeches and sayings on demanding greater respect for millions of Black Colombians. Sinisterra emphasizes these details by designing clothes with bold patterns including starched shirts as a form of rebellion.

Today, Sinisterra’s art has spread across the internet worldwide, displaying a mix of Afro-Colombian culture, Black celebrities, politicians and activists and using clothing as a political tool. Lia Samantha Lozano, a skilled hip-hop designer, said, “...wear this [clothing] every day, not as ‘fashion,’ not to dress up for a special occasion, but as a way of life, as something you want to communicate every day — yes, it is political. And, yes, it is a symbol of resistance.”


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