Americae was founded by Gabriela Guaracao because she believes women should always feel empowered to dress as extraordinarily as they are. It is why our ethos is “reality is extraordinary.”
Born in Colombia and raised between Colombia and the U.S., Gabriela defines herself as a ‘Latin Americanist.’ Having spent the first part of her career supporting storytelling through news media, as the Director of Strategy and Operations for a multi-platform news media entity, her experience paved the way and fostered her desire to tell a new story through the lens of e-commerce and experiential retail. She received her Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance and International Business from Villanova University and completed her Master of Arts in Security Policy Studies from The George Washington University, where she focused on counterterrorism strategies and the importance of community building to that end.
Gabriela believes all women are modern-day renaissance women, in the emboldening power of impeccably constructed womenswear, democratized luxury, and experiences that highlight the color, energy, and joy of life.
At Americae, we challenge the way apparel and accessories are marketed to women. While brands tell women they are smart, strong, and beautiful, Americae believes women already are those things. Americae is sartorial armor that represents the multi-faceted, modern woman.
We work with the finest artisans in South America, democratizing luxury without compromising on quality or design. The result? Redefined luxury womenswear and accessories we encourage women to wear everyday for a daily dose of magic.
Role at Americae?
Chief Obsessive Compulsive AKA Founder.
Where are you from?
Philadelphia by way of Colombia, South America.
What is Americae?
Americae is a luxury womenswear brand that is inspired by the colors, elegance, and vibrancy of Latin America and is committed to immersive retail experiences that transport the consumer to our region of inspiration. Our ethos is “reality is extraordinary” because we believe women should always feel empowered to dress as extraordinary as they are. It is why we believe in the emboldening power of impeccably constructed womenswear, democratized luxury, and retail experiences that highlight the color, energy, and joy of life. It is a journey full of texture, rhythm, and magic that always celebrates her.
What does the name Americae mean?
Americae is the Latin word for the Americas––the landmass formed by North and South America. It hints at what we are doing––a little bit of South of this hemisphere for the Northerners of the hemisphere.
Why did you decide to get involved in retail?
I believe in the power of creating genuine and compelling customer experiences and wanted to be part of a grander community that is redefining what the future of fashion, e-commerce, and brick-and-mortar retail will become and how it will impact urban corridors and the way consumers shop.
Since the first Americae business plan, I understood fashion was not just about clothing or shoes. It was also about creativity, art, music, and food––a sensorial celebration of life and culture. To that end, I understand retail to be the same. Space is not strictly defined by a category––eating, shopping, or art––but is an opportunity for those things to intersect.
Today’s retail must embrace this experiential definition of fashion and provide customers with that kind experience. Consumers are craving it, and it allows a brand to fully express their message, purpose, and perspective. It also provides multiple, different experiences for the customer–– including clothing, drink, art, and music–– and allows a brand to convey the most authentic expression of their identity. Most importantly, it creates an environment conducive to best serve customers.
What do you love about what you do?
Everything. I love being able to inspire others; I love learning from others; I love serving our customers and engaging in digital or in-person conversations with them; and I love encouraging women to dress however they want, whenever they want.
Villanova University, BBA, Finance. George Washington University, MA, Security Policy. My favorite time in academia was my masters program. I love to explore and engage with others on topics like Russia, a one or two-state solution, U.S. policy in Venezuela, or why we need government supported holistic programs to prevent radicalization. I nerd out to these subjects and it was awesome to meet fellow awkward people who loved to talk about the same thing. I miss it a lot.
Jay-Z before Beyoncé. Gabriel García Márquez. His literature permeates everything Americae does, from our tagline to our splash page before we launched. Did you see it and thought it looked blurry or off-kilter? It was meant to challenge your perception of reality. It was art. That image actually inspired our ethos, “reality is extraordinary.” It is almost as if that image finally helped me understand what he was really saying in his books about human existence.
For example, he writes that humans are forced to give birth to ourselves over and over again. How weird, right? Or how we grow old because of our perspective. It can be some really intense, cerebral stuff that makes you need a drink. However, when you finally understand it you realize the message behind his art was fairly simple.
Life can seem ordinary, frustrating, or even perplexing. But it is actually our approach to it that makes it extraordinary; it is that perspective which really makes life exciting to live.
One of our customers recently put it beautifully. She said the concept of “reality is extraordinary” reminded her that even though life is sometimes full of painful challenges, the opportunity to face them and actually work through them is a wonderful luxury. It also reminded her that when you focus on all the little, beautiful, and near magical things that happen to us everyday, you see what makes life extraordinary. When that clicks, you begin to approach every day as such.
On our splash page we were challenging the concept of reality by having this woman, covered in flowers as clothing, wearing glasses that were off-kilter, constantly moving throughout a scene of gorgeous mountains, a church, and water beneath it. Here she was, this beautiful woman––beautiful because she was a woman––symbolizing human imperfection, floating through a gorgeous, odd, and slightly flawed scene the mimicked life. Yet somehow, even though it was a little surreal, it all looked real and also really thrilling. That is the concept of “reality is extraordinary.”
Who do you think embodies the Americae woman? Living or dead and why?
Queen Elizabeth II, Manuela Sáenz, Rei Kawakubo, Gal Gadot, Miuccia Prada, Margerethe Vestager, (just to name a few) and any female who has unabashedly stood for what she believed in, done things her own way, and was unafraid to be feminine––however she chose to interpret that word.
Where do you like to shop?
CB2, the shoe floor at Bergdorf Goodman, and Violet Grey.
Dream travel destination?
I would start by going to Barcelona, my favorite city, and take in its eclectic art and architecture, uniquely Catalan temperament, and the smell of the Mediterranean Sea. I would then fly to the South of France and spend a couple days in Provence walking through vineyards and seas of lavender and sunflowers. Lastly, I would travel to Croatia, Serbia, and the Dalmatian Coast. My fiancé’s maternal family is from there and I have been interested in exploring it since. It is always extra fun to travel to places where you have a personal connection. Additionally, it's a region of the world with so much history and unique beauty; I cannot wait to go.
Favorite Americae piece and how to style it?
- Olivewood Clutch with Gold and Raw Emerald Closure,
- Tuxedo Blazer and Pants,
- Sol Gold Earrings,
- and the Raw Emerald Ring.
My favorite way to wear these items is together, in one awesomely eye-catching outfit. I also love to wear each of them separately, with jeans and on weekends. I recently wore the clutch to brunch and people got really excited about it. Perhaps because it looked different than your average weekend messenger bag.
Drink of choice?
Martini. Dry. Twist. A proper martini is made with gin, y'all!
Describe your style?
Some people say my style is “classic with a twist.” I say my style is defined by whatever shoes and handbags I am obsessed with at that moment. Also, my emerald Americae ring is essentially an extra appendage at this point. Everyone always asks about it or swoons over it, regardless of age, style, or profession. It's how I know the ring is extra special. Or dare I say it? Extraordinary.
What’s on your bookshelf?
I like to keep a mix of fiction, non-fiction, an international affairs book for good measure, and that month’s Vanity Fair in rotation. Vanity Fair––because it’s the best mix of fashion, politics, and elitist hogwash that makes you laugh, Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup––because OMG the Theranos saga, Salafi-Jihadism: The History of an Idea––because the psychology of terrorists is so fascinating, and I’m about to start George R. R. Martin books––because I CAN’T WAIT UNTIL 2019 TO FIND OUT WHAT HAPPENS IN GAME OF THRONES!
The story of Americae is just unfolding and I am excited to live and write it.