Colombian Jeans Are Back, But With Less Rhinestones

If you lived through the early aughts, best colombian fajas are you’ve worn a pair of Colombian jeans that were drenched in glitter and rhinestones. These jeans, known as levanta cola, were low-rise or bootcut and often adorned with intricate embroidery and appliques. Mariah Carey wore a pair in her “Heartbreaker” music video, Shakira loved them, and Christina Aguilera couldn’t get enough of the Colombian-designed denim staple that became a cultural icon of South America.

Today, jeans are still popular in Colombia, the third largest jeans exporter in Latin America. But there is less glitter, and more subtle decoration. “There’s no more rhinestones than before,” says Gregorio Jose Rivera Quiroz, owner of Gran San Jeans, a large jeans wholesale spot in Colombia’s capital. Rivera sells 12-15 different embroidered models of levanta cola jeans in his store. Many have bright stones, mostly in the back pockets, and he says his factory produces about 60 different pairs a day.

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At the recent Colombiamoda trade show in Medellin (July 26-28), the country’s design chops took center stage, with women’s and dual-gender denim brands introducing new skinny fits and high-contrast fades. Several styles were embellished with tonal patchwork and desert-hued embroidery. Other designers pushed the 2010s blogger aesthetic, adding fringe and textile paneling to jeans jackets.

At Colombiamoda, the country’s most prominent apparel fair, jeans were paired with woven blouses and linen pants or a typical black and white hat called the vueltiao, a Colombian national symbol that is also worn in other parts of South America. A few Colombian brands even rolled out jeans shorts.

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