The San Juan Daily Star
From Barranquitas with style
By Iris Edén Santiago
Special to The Star
There is that saying, “Never forget where you came from.” Some people never forget, some never remember. And there are others who not only remember, but who make it their mission to celebrate and honor their roots and background.
Enter fashion designer Edd Aponte. His recent fashion collection, “00794,” is a tribute to his hometown of Barranquitas. “00794” is the zip code he grew up in, until he turned 18 and left to pursue a career in architecture in San Juan. That’s right, Aponte completed a career in architecture and currently makes a living designing and planning environmentally friendly spaces for housing and buildings.
But fashion design has always been a passion for the 35-year-old, who has presented colorful collections for the past six years. His daytime job is with a firm of architects, while his nights are devoted to sketches and fashion.
“It’s very easy and I enjoy it very much,” said the Caguas resident. “My mind is always creating, imagining. … Both careers involve art and history and I try to intertwine them in order to seek inspiration to design. The design and development process is the same for both. You begin with a concept and work on it until the end result is the idea you visualized at the beginning … a building or a garment.”
Through silhouettes, colors, and textures, the couturier has captured not only the colors of Barranquitas, a town known for its vibrant flowers and landscapes, but the essence of the Puerto Rican jíbaro. Jíbaro is the name given to islanders living in the countryside who farm the land. Jíbaros dress in a particular way. Men wear comfortable trousers with tie-front shirts in neutral colors, while women wear floral patterns, mostly skirts with contrasting tops.
“I wanted to honor our heritage, celebrate our culture,” Aponte said. “My inspiration was nature, the mountains, the flower beds, the fantastic gardens and different flowers that grow in Barranquitas … the red poppy, the Amapola, the rose apple, the hibiscus.”
With a palette of colors that includes fuchsia, nude, white, tones of green and multiple shades of red, Aponte’s proposal is a fresh look at the colors of our island mixed in new ways and matched to contemporary silhouettes. White, a color he never leaves out of a collection, is very much front and center and is especially successful when used in two-piece sets in textured fabrics like lace, linen, cotton and eyelet. The garments are embellished with the use of ruffles, floral embroideries, fringes and sequins.