MODERN TAKE ON TRADITIONAL MEXICAN TEXTILES RECAPTURES ITS BEAUTY
It is common for designers to draw inspiration from different cultures, moments in history, and everyday styles. Oftentimes, the beautiful tailoring done by Mexican fashion designers is not highlighted enough. Mexican designers are able to translate their heritage onto the runway, creating beautiful, colorful garments that pay homage to their roots. Mexican textiles have been around for more than 7000 years and include intricate embroidery work hand-woven by generations of indigenous Mexican women.
Malinali and Paulina Fosado, Mexican fashion designers based out of Mexico City, have designed and created fashion clothing for more than 15 years. Inspired by their father, who worked to protect the traditional values of indigenous Mexican villages, the twin sisters design stunning huipiles (pronounced wee-PEE-lays), long and loose tunics with vivid patterns of birds, flowers and geometrical shapes. These dresses represent the marital statuses of indigenous women in Mexico and Central America.
The Fosados’ take on traditional clothing has proven itself on the runway. By replacing cotton and wool with silk, they give the classic dresses a modern twist. The sisters’ designs also include woven and embroidered textiles made by women all around Mexico.
Mexican fashion is considered a slow fashion market, meaning the same designs are meant to be worn over and over, thereby making them more sustainable. Modern designers that appreciate Mexican heritage focus on craftsmanship and traditional textile practices.
Recently, Mexico’s Culture Secretary Alejandra Frausto has become frustrated with American designers’ appropriation of traditional Mexican designs in high fashion runways. Carolina Herrera and her brand’s creative director, Wes Gordon, included Mexican motifs in many of their designs in the 2020 Resort line, these actions upset much of the Mexican indigenous population. Mexican embroidery designs are frequently plagiarized in luxury fashion lines, and there are currently no legal rules to prevent third-party plagiarism of indigenous designs.
The beautiful designs of the Mexican indigenous people should be recognized and celebrated as a rich part of their culture. Mexican designers have brought their families’ heritages to life in the dresses and textiles they have created.
However, the passing-on of traditional embroidery practices has not been without abuse. Mexican fashion is just a small insight into the rich culture of Central America and should be appreciated with respect for those who carry it on.