HBB Industria Argentina is one of my favorite new brands that I discovered during the Winter 2014 trade show season. At Playtime New York I had the pleasure of meeting designer Jimena Bruguera who shared with me how she was inspired to start her children’s hand knit collection after visiting the place she was born in Northwest Argentina.
What I love about HBB Industria Argentina is how Jimena strives by mixing different styles – both folk and contemporary – to communicate internationally how Argentina is really a melting pot. You’ll find both indigenous traditions in the Northwest and European influence in Buenos Aires.
Watch Interview with Jimena Bruguera on HBB Industria Argentina
“After I had my daughter I took some time off, and during that time I went with my daughter and mother to the place that I was born, in the mountains in the Northwest of Argentina. Over there I saw the work that the indigenous women were doing, and I thought of starting a brand of knits for children.
So I started working with indigenous women, and then it developed into doing other projects in Buenos Aires. Pieces that I design from New York and they are produced in Argentina. I look for the wool there and the knitters in Buenos Aires or in the Northwest produce them. We get together and work on the designs.
I like a lot the fact that I can mix the different collections within my brand. For example, some of it is produced in Buenos Aires, some in the Northwest. Some are Folk and others are more contemporary. It shows how Argentina is – sort of a melting pot of different things. The North is very indigenous, the traditions are very strong and Buenos Aires is very European. So I think mixing that and trying to show how Argentina is, it’s important to me. And trying to translate it into the modern world to be international, it’s a challenge sometimes but it’s very interesting to do.
This is the collection that is produced in Buenos Aires. Usually, the way I work is I choose the wool first. Something that I fall in love with. A color or because it’s chunky, or has an uneven texture to it. So then with that, I start working on which pieces I can do with each type of wool.
For example this one, where the wool is very thin and then it becomes very thick. So this is a sleeveless sweater that looks like a raspberry when you put it on.
And with this sweater, this is within the yarn itself, it’s not attached after. So you knit it and this is how it turns out, it’s very chunky.
Then in Buenos Aires, I do collaborations. This is made in a special woold that is very soft. I also do a collaboration with young designers where I choose the colors and we work together on the patterns that they are going to have.
Then for the indigenous collection, what I try to do is for them to do their work but I try to sometimes tone it down a little by using the natural colors.”