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Yliana Yepez: “Venezuela is full of passion and color”

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Yliana Yepez: “Venezuela is full of passion and color”

Meet Yliana Yepez, the Paris-born, Venezuela-raised accessories designer. Now based in New York, she crafts exquisite clutches in the dreamiest of materials. And is not afraid of a bit of bold color! We chat to her about her inspirations, her origins, and what you need to know if you’re thinking of starting your own brand (spoiler: never give up!).

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Where do you find inspiration?

My inspiration comes from anywhere at any time. But there is that particular time when I am immersed in my studio and everything makes sense. When I see the first prototype, a lot of new ideas come up and sometimes the first idea never makes it to the end. I love going to art galleries and fairs. Seeing people on the streets is one of my biggest inspirations. 

You were born in Paris, raised in Venezuela and now live in New York. How have these 3 very different cities influenced your style? 

More than anything is the diversity I’ve found in them. I am blessed to have had the opportunity to live in those cities and see a lot of different people, it has greatly influenced my vision. 

The Layla Tortoiseshell, Gaia Mother of Pearl and Gaia Python clutch bags from Yliana Yepez's Evening collection.

The Layla Tortoiseshell, Gaia Mother of Pearl and Gaia Python clutch bags from Yliana Yepez’s Evening collection.

What’s the fashion scene like in Venezuela?

Venezuela is full of passion and color. There are so many emerging designers with great ideas and talented people with the desire to work. The social, economic and political problems that the country is facing right now are a shame. There was a time when Venezuela was considered the epitome of fashion in the Latin American scene. Dior was actually one of the brands that used to be made there. 

How do you source the materials for your designs?

I love to work with experienced artisans who specialize in leather, and I am always searching for appealing materials that make sense with my collection. 

Instagram @ylianayepez

Instagram @ylianayepez

You founded your first accessories label at only 23 years old. Any advice for the young accessories designers out there?

Yes of course, I love more than anything to inspire the new generation. It is very important to always be true to yourself and never let anyone stop you from pursuing your dreams. It is better to try and have failed then to never have tried. You will have to work hard, persevere and commit yourself to it. You will always have to give it your all and never stop learning from others.