MENU
BAG
SHOP
FREE SHIPPING WORLDWIDE

DANCASSAB
VOICES

COROMOTO
ATENCIO

Words: Coromoto Atencio, Interview: Kristom Parson

The process of weaving and crafting stories sits at the core of my creative journey: it drives my curiosity and informs my ideas, shapes my notions, and transforms my emotions. I am the founder of Studio Futuro Consulting, a New York-based creative and strategic fashion consultancy at the intersection of visual communications, voice, people, and purpose. Specialized in brand building, development, and rebranding for start-ups, emerging, and established brands—an independent advisory where the assemblage of ideas flows alongside the strategic criteria. Studio Futuro came to life out of a personal and genuine desire to create, discover and reignite concepts with the long-lasting strategy of the human touch: through intuition and substance, processes, people, gestures, and meaningful collaborations. My philosophy lays on a 360º approach that taps into the core of intention setting up the groundwork for a clear and sustained path forward.

These transformative times have crystallized a new approach to examination defined by both an individual and collective industry responsibility to reassess the way we consume and produce, share and connect; the way we deepen the conversation across racism and representation, structural inequalities, our impact on nature, and the value of the creative expression. To elevate this ‘Alone Together’ notion into an ‘Individual Collective’ purpose based on trust, respect, education, empathy, and thoughtful exchange. As long as we believe in the authenticity of the stories we tell, we will always have a role to play.

With these photographs, I wanted to shed light to the city I love, the place I call home, New York. To all of those who continue to work tirelessly to keep the city’s heart beating. from small businesses to cultural, iconic and ecological assets. New York City’s reopening feels almost like a rebirth.

I have lived in Greenwich Village’s 9th Street for the past 9 years. I have found a family around my neighborhood, I feel I belong. Bigelow Chemist is one of America’s oldest apothecary’s, nested at the heart of the village.
‘I have always been fond of storytelling, spoken and unspoken, it has always interested me how words and image collide and spark a certain kind of feeling, emotion.’ — Coromoto Atencio

DC:We are so honored to have you share a window into your imagination and creative process. Could you share a bit about your background and how your education, interests and journey have led you to where you are present day? 

CA: From an early age my parents instilled in us a sense of appreciation and sensibility towards the arts and all things creative—they encouraged us to be curious, to seek deeper. I was born in Venezuela in the late 70’s during the country’s economic and cultural bonanza. The country where I grew up welcomed people from all walks of life. It built itself out of the beauty of contrast.

I have always been fond of storytelling, spoken and unspoken, it has always interested me how words and image collide and spark a certain kind of feeling, emotion. I also grew up with this love for fashion magazines; since I can remember I’d dive into every single page. My mother had these wonderful clothes, and I use to spend hours distilling a garment to the smallest details, from the color of the stitch to the woven label; my father has this innate appreciation for quality, for the long lasting.

Looking back, moving to New York enlarged my inner creative dialogue, and it also deepened my nostalgia. When I became independent, I felt I wanted to say and do things in a certain way, not knowing exactly how. Today I can say that my imagination flows catching up with the memories to birth something new, and in the process, I get to find a new piece of myself by discovering someone else’s.

DC:Growing up in Venezuela, what are some values and traditions that you always carry with you?

CA: I grew up harvesting this deep love for my country—and this sense of identity intensified when I left home. The smells, people, landscapes, flavors, the endless summers; the understanding that quality lays in the processes, that respect starts with each one of us. I carry with me that the truly extraordinary lays in the ordinary.

DC:Does your Latin American heritage have a significant influence on you creatively?

CA: Immensely. It keeps me grounded and it reminds me of my worth. Having appreciation for our roots is directly linked with our sense of humanity. But I am also a New Yorker heart and soul. New York has this mesmerizing capacity to love you back.

The Guggenheim Museum reopened its doors on September 9th after an unprecedented 7 months of closure. I visited the museum with my dear friend Michel Heredia, who also helped me tour the Dixie around the city.
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir at Central Park. A gift to so many New Yorkers during these extraordinary times. A window to the unbreakable spirit of nature.

DC:With more Latin American brands emerging onto a global scale in recent years, what significant attributes do you feel they best exemplify?

CA: As Latin Americans we are bind by our region’s abundant wealth of natural resources and the rich and diverse history of our culture—a bond that also comes with a sense of duty. The Latin American brands raising the bar today share a common interest anchored in the creation and manufacture of products that are socially and environmentally committed—brands who have an intention towards being better by doing better are those who best exemplify the uniqueness and beauty of our region.

DC:You have an unparalleled ability to personify and actualize the vision and voice of brands in such an authentic way. Which career milestones or life experiences have prepared you most for immersive projects such as these?

CA: I grew up in a family of artistry and intellect, my parents prioritized hard work and substance. After graduating from Parsons, I had the opportunity to work at Style.com (former Online Home for Vogue and W) under the extraordinary mentorship of Candy Pratts Price. Her immeasurable talent, decisiveness and vision, together with her constant quest for the exceptional, sharpened and challenged my perspective. Working with Candy meant that there was no half nor easy way, nothing relied on the surface. If you were there you had to believe, and you had to be ready to dive deep. My time at Inditex was also quite a unique experience. I was there when Zara was particularly small in scale and awareness in the U.S. The size and structure of the subsidiary allowed me to move fluidly across disciplines, gaining robust insight and a holistic vision. I credit these two opposite yet strongly intertwined experiences, and my own values, to my immersive, methodical and personalized approach.

DC:How do you draw boundaries between your own space, growth, and purpose while taking on deeply personal work?

CA: It is not an easy process and I am constantly learning. Consulting is as complex as it is rewarding. You get to tap on someone else’s universe aiming to stimulate their potential. There is undoubtedly a strong bond that shapes as the project takes form, the objectives and client evolve, hopefully feeling empowered. It’s like whispering. There will always be a piece of me in my work, but with every new experience comes a new sense of freedom, of learning to let go.

‘Looking back, moving to New York enlarged my inner creative dialogue, and it also deepened my nostalgia. When I became independent, I felt I wanted to say and do things in a certain way, not knowing exactly how.’ – Coromoto Atencio
There is certain uniqueness about New York that can only be found around traditional small neighborhood spots. The familiarity, the sense of community, the magic of its people. They are part of the identity of the city. O CAFE is the beloved Brazilian-inspired coffee shop of my neighborhood, and a second family to me. Like so many other small businesses, O CAFE has been hit hard by the pandemic. After great efforts to stay opened, the shop remains one of the most beloved spots of the village.
One of New York’s most iconic institutions, The Metropolitan Museum, reopened its doors on August 28 after six-month coronavirus lockdown. Beyond its status, what it houses and its collections, the museum is part of people’s lives, of the community.

DC:We were lucky to work with you on our rebranding several years ago and wouldn’t be where we are today without the result of that exercise. Looking back, what do you consider the most poignant aspect of the discovery?

CA: Openness, trust and honesty. I met Daniela at a time where she was ready to expand her vision, to look beyond her creative expression and into her soul. I came in to collect the pieces that made her story, her own. By diving deep into her world, the opportunities arose as if they were waiting to be unlocked—she was ready to see what was already there. The mastery of the craftsmen meticulously stamped on every jacket, bringing their artistry front and center through Ana Georgina’s portraits. The moment we started to remove the noise and let the garments speak. The exercise revealed underserved attributes across purpose, visual expression, narrative…It gave Daniela the space to recognize the overpowering and seize the opportunity to reconcile with her own voice. Distilling and reassembling the values behind Dan Cassab was fundamental to set up the paths for evolution.

DC:The work you do touches each facet of a brand’s business – from your writing and visual narratives to its branding and positioning – which part of the process do you feel most connected to and/or proud of? Or does it vary for each project?

CA:My eye tends to gravitate to the cinematic narrative of the visual process—perhaps that’s where it all starts to unfold. After all I do have a strong appreciation for fashion and for the process of image making. Through the intelligence phase I immerse myself into the client, brand or idea to carve a discovery process that births the concept. I vividly recall referring to this fundamental creative phase of my work as a ‘discovery’, I felt very close to me. Each brand and story is unique in attributes and in needs. This tailored perspective allows for each project to be approached with a blank canvas, unbound of template and preconceived notions; to dive into a brand with an outsider perspective with an internal sensibility is the path to something long lasting and honest.

DC:You mention a collective responsibility across our industry to become more aware of our impact. What actions should brands and people be taking to examine their own influence on issues such as climate change and social justice?

CA:As I said before each brand is unique in story, structure and priorities, yet the capacity to evolve and examine our actions is something we all share as individuals, in business and in life. I can only speak from experience having worked in both small- and large-scale companies: the work starts from within, there is no formula and it starts with people. We, as in brands, live in this perpetual urge to share and to communicate, and although having a platform does expand our perspectives, it is about aligning what we communicate to what we internally cultivate. Having the intention to reduce our footprint starts from within, we reevaluate our processes, reset our priorities and educate ourselves on how to incorporate sustainable practices. The work that we do as individuals to move the needle forward across social, environmental and cultural spectrums will impact our collective perspective and sense of accountability. We live in a world of open access, there is little to no reason not to be in tune with times, to evolve, grow and transform.

With gratitude to all the public transportation workers that kept the city moving forward.

DC: To what extent does this form of consciousness play a role in areas of your own life? 

CA:I am focused on working with projects with a sense of purpose that resonate with my values, prioritizing quality over quantity. I need to love what I do in order to create honest work. I am constantly learning, and I remain open to my most vulnerable self.

DC: Who or what would you say has impacted you the most?

CA: My family. I discover the language of love from them, over and over.

DC:When do you feel most yourself and at peace? 

CA:Lately by the sea. I have been in New York throughout the pandemic, and I have seen the city transform. I have been going to a beach called Fort Tilden since I moved to New York fifteen years ago. It’s beautiful and free. The sound of the sea rocks me to a deep restorative sleep. It fills me with hope

DC:How do you navigate the unknown, anxieties and fear? 

CA:Dancing the waves, through highs and lows.

‘There will always be a piece of me in my work, but with every new experience comes a new sense of freedom, of learning to let go.’ — Coromoto Atencio
Coromoto Atencio wears the Dixie jacket in New York City.

COROMOTO’S NEW YORK

Favorite shop in the city:
‘MADAME MATOVU VINTAGE’ in the West Village

Best conversation with a stranger:
A strange conversation…

Favorite restaurant:
KUBEH, Middle Eastern restaurant in Greenwich Village

Favorite cafe:
O CAFE in Greenwich Village

In your free time you:
we are born free. It is the notion of time that constraints us from being free.

You find the most inspiration from:
the mere feeling of being inspired. When I am passionate about something…I forget everything else.

One secret to living in NYC:
Living in NYC

Dancassab Jacket of choice:
Dixie

DIXIE

CHAT