No, Cinco de Mayo is not Mexico's Independence Day (which is actually September 16); rather it commemorates a Mexican victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. Nonetheless, we enjoy any excuse to celebrate with fashion, of course.
Carla Fernandez founded Taller Flora, a mobile fashion lab that travels around Mexico visiting remote indigenous communities with cooperatives - typically made up of women - that create handmade textiles. As opposed to the kitschy sartorial stereotype, Fernandez puts a modern spin on old-school patterning with elaborate folds, plates, seaming and construction using only squares and rectangles. "Only radical contemporary design will prevent the extinction of craftsmanship," explains the winner of the 2008 International Young Fashion Entrepreneur Award about her work which connects rural artisans from different ethnic groups throughout Mexico in a fair trade network. "Together we create new designs based on indigenous techniques and practices. I like fashion, folk and future."
Marvin y Quetzal A self-described pair of enfants terribles, they enjoy shaking up the Latin American fashion establishment with designs influenced by everything from op-art chessboards, to pinatas, Harajuku sky-high platforms, Hello Kitty, and melancholy dragonflies. "The results are as baroque one season as they are minimal the next," note the duo who met at a party in 2004, mutally fashion-crushed on each other, and launched their label.
Young Mexican designers Cristina Pineda and Ricardo Covalin founded Pineda Covalin, with the goal of spreading Mexican culture globally through chic accessories. Cultural and historic design themes dominate their work, including Prehispanic culture, local traditions, mysticism, and the work of Mexican painters Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera.
Located in Yucatan, less than 1000 people live in Dzitnup, traditionally known for the distinctive huipil which are worn by women at weddings and when they are buried. Girls are typically taught to embroider during adolescence by their mothers, passing on this cultural inheritance from one generation to the next. The Dzitnup design project applies this tradition to small production runs of one-of-a-kind Western fashions, helping them to meet their goal of creative, economic and social liberation of the local female artisans.
A native of Mexico City, Paola Hernandez studied at London's Central Saint Martins College and launched her eponymous label last year. "Far from covering up, Paola Hernandez clothes discover," she says, "discover consciousness, discover a life style, discover a way to be, discover your sexy, daring, and elegant side. Discover yourself with her clothes, show your inner beauty on the outside."
- Lesley Scott
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