By Wafai Dias and Francisco J. Ovalle

Al Día: Colombian Designer with Roots in Philadelphia

Al Día: Colombian Designer with Roots in Philadelphia
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In 2005, Lili Daliessio officially started her business, Lili Daliessio Designs LLC, when a customer asked her to design jewelry for a wedding anniversary.

Daliessio is a native Colombian designer who now resides in the Delaware County area. She has a unique story which sets her apart from other designers in the area.

“I’m a professor and Psychologist, which is what I studied in Colombia. I worked over there for years, and when I came to the U.S. I decided to bring some stuff I had designed on the side to sell them among friends and local boutiques,” said Daliessio.

Luz Mancebo, a friend of Lili Daliessio's, picked out her favorite dress from the collection.

Luz Mancebo, a friend of Lili Daliessio’s, picked out her favorite dress from the collection.

En Español

The Colombian mother of two considers herself a social entrepreneur and designer. In 2004, she resold handmade jewelry from Colombia. She knew then that she wanted to design some, herself, one day.

“One of my clients asked me to design jewelry for her wedding anniversary and I told her I had never really made it myself, I’d always design something and give it to someone to make. She told me I was good enough to do it, and the rest is history. I started making jewelry!”

The designer’s collections are inspired by both her native country, and by the women there who have multiple roles in their lives. These women wear dresses, jewelry and accessories that highlight their personalities as moms, wives, friends, politicians, lawyers and entrepreneurs.

Kimberly Henderson, who is a lawyer and a customer, shared her view on the designer. “Lili Daliessio is a very humble and gracious designer who seeks to accommodate each and every customer. I have watched her painstakingly search through her entire inventory for the perfect piece to compliment a customer’s ensemble or offer to create a custom masterpiece.”

A model walked down the runway wearing a clothing item from Lili Daliessio's fashion collection.

A model walked down the runway wearing a clothing item from Lili Daliessio’s fashion collection.

The history of culture and the exquisite art from her native Colombia are big influences in both her clothing and jewelry collections. All of these things, according to the designer, allow her to bring a new and refreshing view to modern day fashion.

“The city of Philadelphia is also one of my inspirations. I compare it to the other major cities I’ve been able to live in Mompós and Cartagena. All the history that these have it’s something beautiful,” said Daliessio.

Daliessio’s first complete collection, with everything from clothing to accessories, was recently launched during Philadelphia Fashion Week. The “Emerald Collection,” was a fusion of spring and summer pieces that ranged from long and short dresses, to jumpsuits in colorful and vivid shades.

The designer also has an eco-friendly jewelry and accessories line that consists of Colombian seeds. Her collection includes purses made from original designs by Artisans and Indians in Colombia.

In addition, there is a high-end jewelry line that uses materials such as Swarovski crystals, silver, emerald stones and other gems.

Lili Daliessio organized her clothing items that were featured in Philadelphia's Fashion Week.

Lili Daliessio organized her clothing items that were featured in Philadelphia’s Fashion Week.

She designs all of the jewelry from her collections, and the majority she crafts herself. Approximately 90 percent of
these clothing pieces are made in Philadelphia by a group of tailors that work for Daliessio. The other 10 percent of the fabric is imported from Colombia.

Daliessio’s vision is that “Lili Daliessio Designs,” becomes an established brand in the tri-state area and throughout the nation. She wants to extend her collection to other locations throughout the city in order to expand into the menswear and children’s markets.

The designer wants to do “fashion with a purpose,” and wants to have her brand connected into causes that she feels passionate about. Daliessio said she believes in “social responsibility,” and tries to use as many eco-friendly materials to support the local economy, while promoting causes and organizations that benefit the community.

The question of opening up her own store was brought up, but the designer mostly wants to sell her collection in department stores. Daliessio said she believes it brings her more opportunities, as an independent designer, to expand and reach more people.

Daliessio remembers her days as a kid when she saw her mom work as a tailor in Colombia, and how that influenced her to do designs that she never thought of until she came to the U.S.

A model walked down the runway wearing an item from Lili Daliessio's Emerald collection.

A model walked down the runway wearing an item from Lili Daliessio’s Emerald collection.

“I have a lot of people who support me, my immediate family in the U.S. and my family in Colombia, as well as friends, the media and those who I call “Amigas de Corazon,” who I consider my sisters. The Hispanic community has also been very supportive. Whenever I knock on a door, there’s someone helping and I am very blessed,” said Daliessio.The Colombian designer also thinks she’s helping Philadelphia by growing her company into a business. She employs tailors, models and photographers in order to successfully market her brand.

She wants to add even more diversity to the city of Philadelphia by bringing her “Sabor Latino,” into the daily lives of the women who embrace their personality everyday.

Glendalee Gomez, Account Executive at WWSI Telemundo Philadelphia, shares her opinion on Daliessio’s designs. “I have seen her grow and it’s been a pleasure to see and share so many accomplishments with her. It‘s very empowering to see a local Latina woman succeed and evolved.”

Daliessio believes as an entrepreneur that her biggest challenge coming to the U.S. was learning English. With the support from her family, she hopes to take her brand as far as time lets her.

Daliessio worked in Colombia for 13 years as a professor and moved to the U.S. in 2003 when she found love and got married. Daliessio’s collections are available online www.lilidaliessiodesigns.com, on their Facebook website, and available for private viewing parties where the designer herself showcases her clothing, accessories and jewelry samples.

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