Mexican designer vindicates indigenous artisans

Carla Fernández will open a textile center in Mexico City to support artisan knowledge, fair economy, sustainability, and respect for creation

Mexican designer Carla Fernández vindicates indigenous artisans
On October 19, she will present a runway at the Victoria & Albert museum in London - Photo: Taken from Carla Fernández's Facebook page
English 28/06/2018 14:38 Sonia Sierra Mexico City Actualizada 15:07
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The textile center that Mexican designer Carla Fernández will open in three months time at the Zona Rosa district in Mexico City encompasses the ideas that support her creative work: Artisan knowledge, fair economy, sustainability, and respect for creation.

The center will be located between Havre St. and Marsella St. at the Zona Rosa district. Although the center doesn’t have an official name yet, it does have a purpose: To promote “the knowledge expressed through the hands of the artisan.”

Carla Fernández is an art historian who grew up among museums and art centers. She studied high fashion and her company has hired 600 artisans in the country -in addition to the 35 people operating her workshop in Mexico City- to disseminate ancestral techniques, promote the use of natural and local fabrics, and offer skills training and field production.

Carla Fernández - Photo: Hermes Quetzalcoatl/EL UNIVERSAL

On October 19, she will present a runway at the Victoria & Albert museum in London (where famous fashion designers such as Alexander McQueen and Giorgio Yamamoto have been invited). Her designs will be displayed alongside the exhibition of Frida Kahlo’s wardrobe: “We’re very excited that a sustainable brand like ours has gotten so much attention, even though our fashion system is completely different from that of western designers,” she claimed.

Carla Fernández is working with communities from eight different states and, due to her knowledge of these communities and the hardships of men and women migrating to the United States and large cities, leaving their children behind and forgetting their tradition, she considers that the only way to restore balance is to recover rural areas: “Rural areas in Mexico have been cast away and forgotten. If one is to recover the balance between the rural parts of the country and the cities, one has to bring opportunities to rural populations.”

Fernández considers that “the best designers in the country are living in rural communities and the fact that they have been under-served and marginalized is outrageous. They are the country’s greatest artists and they have little to no opportunities to put their work on display and keep upholding their craft.”

The Carla Fernández company has just received an invitation to become part of Ashoka, the most important network of social entrepreneurs in the world.

Her calling to work in a sustainable way comes from her perspective of the fashion world: “The fast fashion industry has become one of the most harmful business sectors in the world. Companies like Zara and H&M have flooded the planet with rubbish clothes. There is a voracious consumption of these products, and people want to be buying these things all the time just to throw them away in a few months time. I believe that the way you dress is a cultural and political statement. Your clothes are a kind of traveling home through which people may see you, and read you in different ways. You become an open book. However, we are being led to a vacuous consumption.”


#pride Maya Goded Modelos: @samuel_guerrero___ @h.4vi

Una publicación compartida de Carla Fernández (@carlafernandezmx) el

The textile center is born from a need to create a space for sustainable fashion in Mexico. This space will be for artisans and amateurs to share as a sort of workshop residence. “We are interested in the unique manual know-how of our communities. We may live in a techno-optimist world in which people say that technology is the future. I agree, we have changed; however, in a country like Mexico, it is very important to maintain a balance between technology and craftsmanship.”

When asked for her opinion about Mexico, she stated: “I have great hopes for the future. I have two small children and I have witnessed a country in decay, where people are murdered every single day. But now we have a candidate, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who is at least able to point out several indigenous communities on a map (such as the Tzotziles and the Lacandones), and has an accurate idea of how people truly live in Mexico and what we are better at. All the other candidates are talking about building more prisons and punish criminals more severely, but there is no use in punishing. I would be truly excited to see López Obrador winning the presidency. I hope he wins, so that we may have a peaceful and hopeful country. But there is a lot of work to do because a lot of harm has been done to the Mexican people.”

When asked about Mexico’s current administration, she stated: “In my opinion, Peña Nieto’s government has been a cancer in Mexico. I don’t see anything positive in this government. I don’t think that it has fulfilled expectations in terms of economy, social welfare, or environmental care. If Mexico is still standing, it is because of the Mexican people’s will to move forward while taking care of our families and our country.”


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