27 Aug, 2010 | Olivia Alter and Katie Lark
Forget bowler hats, long skirts, shawls and plaits - there’s more to Bolivian fashion than the cholita uniform. We headed to the city centre, around San Francisco, to see what other styles we could find. From schoolgirls to professionals, Cruceños and extranjeros, La Paz is buzzing with diversity. Here’s a small sample of what we found...
Isabel and Lley Flores (Aunt and niece)
Profession Both these ladies are lawyers from La Paz, but Lley lives and works in Santa Cruz.
Do you think living in Santa Cruz has changed the way you dress? The climate is much warmer there so people aren’t so covered up. Women also wear more clingy clothes which show off their figure.
And Isabel, do you have any particular influences? No I don’t think so. I like to be unique and I don’t copy anyone else’s style.
Names Adiel and Lucas
Ages 28 and 29
Where are you from? We’re Argentinian, we’re currently working on a documentary here in La Paz.
Is there a big difference between Argentinian and Bolivian style? Style is determined by social status. Back home the middle classes get their inspiration from America and Europe, from music and TV, whereas here there is more of a colonial, hispanic feel which you can clearly see in the cholitas’ ‘uniform’.
So what would you say influences your style? Mainly MTV, reggaeton and cumbia. It’s more chilled out...wanna try some Argentinian tobacco?!
Names Ronan y Rolando
Ages 28 y 21
What do you do? Ronan is a doctor and lives up by the cemetery while I study anthropology and business and I live in San Antonio.
How would you define your style? We try and dress as modern as possible, very casual. Our group of friends tend to dress in a similar way. We generally shop in the galerías around here.
What do you think most influences how younger people dress? Music is very important to us. We love Lady Gaga! Ricky Martin and Justin Timberlake are our fashion inspiration (see the gay article for more on Ricky Martin).
Names Isela Lloscoso and Nicola Palenque
What do you do? Schoolgirls at San Francisco
Tell us about what you’re wearing... This is our school uniform, everyone wears it in La Paz Tuesdays to Fridays, we’re just wearing it today (it’s a Monday) because there is a competition happening at school.
What do you wear outside school? We normally just wear jeans or a skirt and top.
Where do you get your clothes from? We don’t have a favourite brand or place to shop, we just go to the shopping malls in the centre of town.
Do you have a particular influence or role model? Definitely Shakira!
Name Cynthia Rojas
Profession Tourist management
Tell us about what you’re wearing...I like to dress smartly. My favourite designer is Lilliana Castellanos. She makes suits for younger professionals out of alpaca wool or the more expensive vicuña.
Where do you tend to get your clothes? Zona Sur definitely has the best shops; this is where Lilliana Castellanos has hers.
Names Mark Trevail (middle back) and Charlotte Abrahams (front left)
Ages 22 and 20
What are you doing in La Paz? Travelling, mate. Already been Rio and Buenos Aires, staying at Loki innit.
Where did you get your clothes from and what do you think influences you? Mark: Everything I’m wearing is from back home; Abercrombie tshirt and Jack Wills trackies. Don’t have no influences, I’m my own person.
Charlotte: I normally wear stuff from Topshop and H&M, but while I’m out here I try and fit in, like this llama fleece that I just got up the road. No one’ll have it back home, they’ll think it’s well vintage.