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  • Writer's pictureTyzza Macias

Ron Zacapa and Latin American Fashion Summit Unite: Crafting a Legacy of Excellence

Photo: Courtesy of Zacapa Rum, Zacapa Rum Master Blender Lorena Vásquez and LAFS Co-Founders Samantha Tams and Estefanía Lacayo.

In a thrilling announcement that's set to reverberate throughout the world of fashion and design, Ron Zacapa, the esteemed premium aged rum celebrated for its exceptional artisanship and deep Guatemalan heritage, has embarked on an exciting journey of collaboration with the prestigious Latin American Fashion Summit (LAFS). This partnership marks a significant milestone for both entities, emphasizing their shared commitment to empowering communities and fostering creativity. But what makes this partnership truly remarkable is Zacapa's dedication to elevating Latin American fashion designers and celebrating the indomitable spirit of Raul Lopez, the inaugural recipient of the 'Visionary of the Year' award.

The Latin American Fashion Summit has long been a beacon of recognition for those shaping the fashion industry in Latin America. Each year, the summit bestows coveted awards in three key categories: Ready to Wear Designer of the Year, Accessories Designer of the Year, and Social Impact Project of the Year. This year, Zacapa is stepping up to the plate with an inspiring move—doubling the prize value for the winners of these categories. The aim is to provide these talented creatives with the support and resources they need to catapult their platforms and projects into the global spotlight.

At the core of Ron Zacapa's ethos is a profound commitment to community empowerment. Since 1999, the brand has actively engaged in uplifting Guatemalan communities through Petate weaving. This traditional craft has brought together over 700 women, who are not just employees but the heartbeat of Zacapa's operation. Their exceptional weaving skills result in exquisite bands that infuse Zacapa bottles with an authentic Guatemalan identity. For these women, this work is not merely a job; it can be a lifeline and a profound source of empowerment. Zacapa's dedication to supporting these women exemplifies the transformative power of conscious business practices and the profound impact brands can make when they genuinely invest in the communities they serve.

Sam Salameh, Vice President of Zacapa at Diageo North America, highlights the brand's commitment to supporting diverse communities and celebrating Latin American creativity: "Organizations like LAFS not only celebrate the Latin American community that touches our roots but also can recognize creatives within and do work that drives meaning to their purposeful visions. Through our partnership with LAFS, we're excited to play a part in the discovery and advancement of Latin American creatives who are changing the face of an industry."

The visionary force behind the fashion brand Luar, Raul Lopez, is set to become the first-ever recipient of the LAFS 'Visionary of the Year' honor. Lopez, a Dominican designer, draws inspiration from his family and roots, infusing his designs with his grandmother's style and community heirlooms. Through his luxury label, Luar, Lopez has created a brand with a mission that goes beyond exclusivity, focusing on inclusivity and celebrating culture in every intricate detail.

Zacapa's recognition of Lopez extends beyond his achievements in the world of high fashion; it honors his unwavering dedication to empowerment through heritage. This exciting collaboration between Lopez and Zacapa, set to launch in Spring 2024, promises to be a harmonious blend of heritage, craftsmanship, and excellence.

Samantha Tams and Estefania Lacayo, co-founders of LAFS, express their enthusiasm for this multi-faceted partnership, emphasizing the shared mission to empower the Latin American community: "Our community comes to us because we are the first inclusive platform in the world that provides access to Latin American speakers, mentors, buyers, and investors that can help them thrive in their businesses. As a result of our platform, many of these entrepreneurs have already achieved sustainable business models and fulfilled their dreams with unparalleled international opportunities. We strongly believe that LAFS and Zacapa share the same mission to empower the Latin American community and with our partnership, we will deliver a bigger and more positive impact in the world."

The partnership forged at LAFS 2023 is just the beginning for these visionaries. Heritage, community, craftsmanship, excellence, and philanthropy will continue to drive their collaborative endeavors. Zacapa Rum, crafted in Guatemala, is a masterpiece of patience, richness, quality, and master blending, overseen by Zacapa's Master Blender, Lorena Vásquez, one of the few female leaders in a traditionally male-dominated industry. Zacapa's premium rums, including Zacapa No. 23, Zacapa Edición Negra, and Zacapa XO, are available at fine liquor stores, bars, and restaurants around the world.

As we embark on this thrilling journey alongside Ron Zacapa and the Latin American Fashion Summit, we are reminded of the profound impact that partnerships can have when they honor heritage, uplift communities, and champion creativity. This fusion of excellence holds the promise of leaving an enduring imprint on the world of fashion and design, a source of inspiration for generations to come.

Ron Zacapa and LAFS aren't just shaping the future; they are in the process of crafting a legacy that will forever be etched in our collective memory, defined by their unwavering commitment to innovation, inclusivity, and the celebration of Latin American creativity. So, let's raise our glasses to this dynamic partnership, ushering in a new era where heritage, craftsmanship, and philanthropy take center stage in the world of innovation. Cheers to a future where these values continue to shape and transform the landscape of fashion and design!


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