1. Lia, tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from? What do you do? Who was Lia before the development of Lia Cohen?

My name is Lilia Cohen, I was born and raised in Guatemala City. I’ve always been one to let my imagination roam free and I sometimes feel like I drift off into a parallel universe. I’ve always felt the need of expressing myself creatively and fashion’s been a great outlet for that. On the other hand, I’ve always considered myself a hard working individual (somewhat of a workaholic). I love to work towards improving every aspect of my life. I’m constantly remaining in a learning phase. Take it, I’m not a big fan of monotony. But, once again, I believe designing has been a great fit for me in that way. It has allowed me to constantly change, evolve and improve.
Before LIA COHEN as we know it today, I took some time off for myself, pouring all of my energy into becoming a new mom. However, I feel like I never stopped being here and there trying to figure out the fashion industry. Trying to understand where I would fit in and what I wanted my voice to be like. Today, I’m grateful that I’m able to work in the industry and I’m extremely proud of how far we’ve come (although we still have a long way to go). I think if you were to ask me 4 years ago about the magnitude of this project I would’ve never imagined having an incredibly talented “Lady Team” (as we like to call it) and everything that lies at the core values of our brand. In the end, I think it’s very gratifying to have returned to Guatemala with the drive and passion to build something for myself. And that this has ultimately resulted in building a community that brings together a lot of creative women.
  1. What is your biggest achievement with Lia Cohen? What differentiates your brand from the rest?

I want to start off by saying that I am extremely grateful for having Maria Cristina by my side. Since the very first time she got a glimpse of my work she was passionate about all the things we could do. She pushed me into putting this dream to work and right from the start our business took off for the best. I say this because I think it’s important to realize that this is not a one-person job. It takes collaboration and an incredible team to create what we have now.

I’m truly convinced that what sets us apart from the rest is that we believe in what we do, how we do it and the people behind it. We decided, with Maria Cristina, that it was important to have the whole supply chain and fashion cycle of our brand under the same roof. This way we ensure everyone is treated well, working under optimal conditions. We want to have total control of where our fabrics and everything else comes from. Most importantly, we always want to remain enthusiastic about what we do. That way, we can transfer that onto our clients. At the end of the day, for me, it’s more about a sentiment than it is about the material product.

  1. What is the thing you enjoy the most about your work? Where do you see yourself in the future?

I love the creative part the most. It’s also what I consider I can do best out of all the little aspects of growing a fashion business. Transcribing my thoughts and sentiments into imagery and presenting mood boards to my lady team is what I like. This way, they share my vision for each collection and get inspired to work towards creating and making it come to life.

I do have to say though, building a brand from the ground up has given me a whole new perspective. It has taught me a lot about finances and business as it it. It’s something I never thought I’d have to take on, but it has definitely inspired me to grow in that area and be aware of how much more there is to learn still. In the future (and since the very beginning) we just want to keep on working towards building a global brand that represents Guatemala in a big way. We want to make LIA COHEN a life-long established brand that transcends through art and time.

  1. What is your dream for the world? What message would you like to share to our audience?

I’ve been blessed with a lot of very nourishing and incredible experiences and opportunities. I think I owe it all to education. I wish for an educated world, a world with access to it! Where every child is able to create a dignified life through education. I truly believe in building a better world. I believe in humanity and our capability to inspire and use our power wisely to make a difference and to have a better future. It’s good to recognize that for this to happen, you must start within yourself. So, I encourage you to pave a road where there is room for self- improvement, growth and good decision making to live an extraordinary life.
“…And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance.” -Oprah Winfrey
So, I hope you dance in an extraordinary dance. Or a funny one… doesn’t matter, just as long as you choose to do something great about every decision you have to take.
  1. How did you begin with Lia Cohen? What was the spark that inspired you?

LIA COHEN began in the teeny tiny comfort of my living room and apartment space, believe it or not. It sure has evolved. My dream is to lead a successful business to create jobs and bring the right opportunities to every individual involved in our brand. The spark that started it all is the legacy that lives in my heart for what my family and the people around me has done. It is that same legacy that I want to leave behind for my son, Noah, to follow.

And why fashion? fashion is what I went to school for and it’s all I’ve ever known. Maria Cristina Acquaroni is my current partner. She and I, just wanted for this vision to challenge the fashion industry in Guatemala to become a reality. This is exactly why I took the risk of building LIA COHEN. When it really comes down to it we truly believe in providing our country with new and fresh opportunities and we want to create this by doing what we know best.

  1. What are the biggest challenges when it comes to working in the fashion industry, developing a new brand and at the same time, becoming a fashion icon?

I think the biggest challenge is to get the chance to talk about your brand, the right kind of exposure. It’s hard to get buyers and potential retailers to open up their to doors to upcoming brands because it’s a very competitive industry. But I think there’s still room for everyone… It might just be about finding people with an open mind, who knows. However, you’ve got to understand how the industry works and acknowledge the fact that fashion is ever changing. Nowadays wholesalers are finding it harder and harder to invest in new designers. It’s always easier to fund those who’ve “already made it” -a safer bet, in a way.
About becoming a fashion Icon.. I don’t intend to be one nor do I think about it. I just want to be me, express myself and grow alongside my team. All I can say is “A leader is that, that inspired people”. And with this saying I hope to inspire and do a marvelous job at it. Sure, I am not perfect but I am not afraid of letting people see that. It’s from a vulnerability standing point that inspiration for all my collections is born.
  1. What is your dream? What’s the source of motivation that continues pushing you on pursuing that dream?

As I mentioned before, my dream is to create a global brand that transcends through time. That way, we can create more job opportunities and help our country grow. We’d be building into it’s very low-rated, but incredibly talented, fashion industry. Ultimately, leave a legacy to my son, Noah -my heart and soul-, who I hope to inspire and teach about hard work and earning a living everyday.
My motivation is the 24 women that depend on the welfare of the company and to create opportunities for them and their families. I want to stand up for them. Also, our beloved clients that make our dreams come true. I believe fashion and garments are a confidence tool that allows you to conquer your life, day by day. I hope we are making them feel magnificent!

*images provided by Lia

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