Young Black Designer Dresses The First Afro-Colombian Woman Vice President

Photo:  JUAN BARRETO/AFP (Getty Images)
Photo: JUAN BARRETO/AFP (Getty Images)

A highly important political figure has got a new fashion attitude thanks to a young, Black designer with fresh taste and a penchant for what he calls, “resistance fashion.” 23 year old Esteban Sinisterra has earned the privilege of dressing Colombia’s first Afro-Colombian woman Vice President, Francia Marquéz.

Sinisterra, who grew up in Colombia’s largely poor Pacific region, says that he has a connection with the VP, as Marquéz also came from humble beginnings. His shared connection with the former lawyer include the fact that she also grew up poor in the impoverished municipality of Suárez, in Cauca province. She worked as a housekeeper and activist before taking her current role.

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Marquéz, a human rights and environmental lawyer has been an activist since the age of 13 when she spoke up in regards to the construction of a dam in her childhood neighborhood. She has most recently received death threats for her opposition to gold mining. And while that may seem grim, Marquéz can carry an air of resistance and celebration wherever she goes thanks to her new dressmaker.

Sinisterra’s bold dress patterns beautifully worn by Marquéz have gained national attention, and the commonalities between the two have inspired the work itself.

“In one way or another her history and my history are similar, so I think there was a very lovely spark there,” the young designer shared.

“First we accept and recognize that we have roots that connect us — which is Africa — but taking into account those roots we also express the territory where we’re from, the Colombian Pacific.

Each and every one of Francia’s outfits evokes that, Sinisterra said. “It is being able to show that this is who we are...so for me fashion, my fashion, is resistance.”

The 40-year-old Márquez, who mentioned her ancestors in her oath of office, is slated to lead a new equality ministry if the government can win congressional approval for its creation.