Photo: Ana Lorenzana
ABOUT PAULA MENDOZA
Paula Mendoza is a Colombian designer, the founder and creator of brand Paula Mendoza Jewelry, the former first creative director of Cano Jewelry as well as the Co-Founder and Creative Director of Looking for the Masters.
Her recognizable circular designs are not only a trend in her jewelry but also in the way she has ran her business for more than 17 years. In terms of aesthetics, Paula utilizes the circle as a prominent component in each of her collections. For her the circle is representative of the balance between cause and effect as well as the shape of femininity – two prominent themes that resonate in all of her ventures.
From the beginning, Paula has worked with Colombian artisans to bring her designs to life. It is these artisans that she first started working with that continue to be part of the Paula Mendoza circle – creating an intimate family whose handcrafted work, not only established this brand but has created an ethos of social responsibility for the country of Colombia and added to its richness. Despite her inherent creative drive to design, Paula studied social communications. Realizing this was not the platform she wanted to utilize to express herself, she opens her first Atelier in Bogota, Colombia in 2003. A year later she moves to Washington, DC and establishes private clients where her circular designs quickly gained popularity. With a desire to take her designs to new heights, she studies Jewelry as Sculpture at the Corcoran Art Institute. Because of this course, Paula’s designs become ergonomic and form functioning to the body.
From the beginning, Paula consciously decided to have her country not only as source of inspiration but also as the source of production. Every material found in her pieces are locally sourced in Colombia as well as conflict free. This ranges from the gold that is used to plate the pieces to the raw Emeralds that symbolize Colombia’s richness. Paula’s jewelry is recognized as not only physically sustainable but economically sustainable since the brand provides jobs to local artisans.
Under her job as Cano creative director for 2018 and part of 2019, she launched 5 jewelry collections between the brand archives revival and her unmistakable style, along with the first fashion film and runway of the iconic brand; boosting the business vitality supported by the engagement of millennial and centennial markets.
With the strong enthusiasm Paula proves from working with new creators and talents of Colombian design, between different projects she is member of a select consulting board, which is mentoring a group of upcoming fashion pioneers for the Bogotá Chamber of Commerce.
She is also Co-Founder and director for the organization, Looking for the Masters -- a project that looks to work with artisans and indigenous communities in order to preserve Pre-Columbian history. These new enterprises for Paula continue her passionate dedication to Colombia and to the country’s talented artisans.
The DNA of Paula’s namesake brand as well as her new ventures are not only symbol for social responsibility but it is also Paula’s outlet to demonstrate that kindness and success are not mutually exclusive. For every endeavor she has undertaken has proven that an entrepreneurial spirit and respect for others can still create art with meaning.
In 2014 Paula Received the award from the president of Colombia Juan Manual Santos as one of the top 100 influential people outside the country and she receive in 2019 the award of “colombianos estrella” for been an influential Colombian outside Colombia.
During 2017 Paula was invited as a speaker to the ONU Latino Impact Summit, where she shared her personal experience working along artisans and indigenous communities; as well to a 2018 TED TALK session in San Francisco, to discuss her approach to this field she is being blending her know how with.
Invited as a speaker of social transformation at the ONU head quarters.