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Zaida Adriana Goveo Balmaseda

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One of the first things I remember about Zaida Adriana Goveo Balmaseda before meeting her was the quandary with her registration for FIT’s study abroad program in Florence, Italy, which I Direct; was her last name Balmaseda, Goveo or Adriana?  After meeting her, I remember only her smile, her joie de vivre and what a pleasure it was to be around her, that and the story she told me about how she refused to shorten her rather long multi barreled last name because it was simply convention to do so when immigrating to the US, and I’ve liked her ever since.  All compounded by the fact that she is a real talent, and its always a pleasure to be around talent and determination, they are a combination that will always endure.  From that first meeting, she has proven her talent and her determination not just to me, but now to a watching and interested audience.

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Born in Bayamón, Puerto Rico, to Cuban and Puerto Rican parents, Goveo Balmaseda studied in New York, Florence, and Milan, through the Fashion Institute of Technology. From simple but enchanting beginnings in the Puerto Rican countryside, Goveo Balmaseda has always been surrounded by master craftswomen, such as her mother and grandmother, women for whom, no creative task was too great, driving Goveo Balmaseda’s incredible appetite for art, and leading her to a Bachelor in Fashion Design at the Fashion Institute of Technology, with a specialization in knitwear, and a minor in Italian studies. Goveo Balmaseda is committed to ethical and sustainable practices in her design and production process.  Interning at STUDY New York, Goveo Balmaseda honed her commitment to quality versus quantity, and meaningful production using alternative methods to create unconventional clothing that is as beautiful as it is ethical.

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Goveo Balmaseda’s graduate knitwear collection for the Fashion Institute of Technology, entitled Manifesto, was a craft led exploration of the concept of transition and hybrid evolutions reflected in moss and critical weathering.  The knitwear collection was produced using only recycled, and ethically responsible methods and materials, and explores her personal journey into biomorphic design in knitwear.  The inspiration behind the collection, stems from Hunertwasser’s Mouldiness Manifesto, as well as Goveo Balmaseda’s respect and tolerance for irregularity, with nature taking over, dictating the form and appearance to some degree.  Goveo Balmaseda worked with organically grown cotton, recycled cotton; made in the USA from T-shirt production waste, mulesing-free merino wool, and some dead-stock yarns, hand dyed with non toxic, low impact dyes. The organic shapes and silhouettes are embellishment with hand embroidery and felting. Each piece is entirely produced by hand, mixing machine knitting techniques, on a mechanical brother machine, and combined with crochet, to emphasize the incredible results obtained from alternative methods to create unconventional, ethically responsible clothing.

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Goveo Balmaseda describes herself as an artist, designer and concoctionist, in reference to her elaborate and intricate knitwear designs, part art, part craft, and often hand dyed or painted from a concoction of intriguing natural, most often edible, ingredients, including berries, curry powder and coffee. Her work has been exhibited at the MMXIproject at the Tribeca Grand Hotel, NYC, at the Mittelmoda Design Competition in Gorizia Italy, the Ethical Fashion Show in Paris, and most recently she was a finalist at the Amsterdam Green Fashion Competition.

Website: http://www.zagb.net

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