Mexican Designer Maria Vogel: Hitting the World Stage

Rowan Anderson

Maria Vogel is on track to become the most important Latin American designer of her generation. With several critically acclaimed collections and attention from international fashion magazines, this Mexican designer is one to watch.

Courtesy of Shaped in Mexico

Maria Vogel graduated with a degree in Fashion and Clothing Design and Production from CEDIM, Mexico’s foremost design school, in 2009. After a collection in 2013, Vogel came back with a bang in 2015 with an exposition of her spring/summer 2015 collection at ‘Shaped in Mexico’— a contemporary art platform for Mexican designers, artists and musicians to display their work in London. The initiative is a collaboration between contemporary pop-up gallery Platform-C in London and its sister gallery in Mexico, Distrito 14, and was created to challenge the perception of Mexican art and design worldwide.
Vogel seized the opportunity to show that Mexican talent could compete at an international level and the positive public reaction to her collection has sparked hopes of commercial success. The collection combines powerful masculine and feminine elements, such as lace-up boots, garters and razor sharp collars, accentuated by the pairing of masculine and feminine beauty looks, such as slick side-partings and dark-red lips. The work takes highbrow inspiration: Vogel states that her collection was inspired by the state of war that is inflicted upon a person through fear in the economic climate. The clean lines and sharp silhouettes are therefore designed to reflect austerity. Her collection caught the eye of the event organizers, who saw the potential of her work’s practical but thoughtful approach.

Courtesy of Shaped in Mexico

This kind of publicity adds to Vogel’s already burgeoning career. She was shortlisted for Vogue Italia’s fashion talent prize and has exhibited numerous times at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Mexico. Her work has also graced the pages of the Mexican editions of Vogue, Elle, Harper’s Bazaar and Nylon. Her first collection was immediately selected for the cover of Elle Mexico and this early success has made her Latin America’s foremost up and coming fashion designer. She is also a truly modern designer for the digital age: she seldom sells work in a showroom and instead coordinates the majority of her growth from her online boutique.

Crucially, Vogel’s career has taken an alternative route. She has taken two breaks from her career in order to rethink and strengthen her brand identity and career plan. In 2013 she took time off to learn more about fashion, both worldwide and in Mexico, and to learn how to create a successful brand with sustainable success. Her time out proved profitable, and could be a key factor of her current success. While this practice may be unheard of in the breakneck speed world of fashion, this approach could also be beneficial in the current economic climate when young, promising designers such as Luella Bartley have seen their careers fold because of disappointing sales and unsustainable business plans. What’s more, Mexico doesn’t have the same funds for fostering young design talent that some other countries do.

Courtesy of Shaped in Mexico

Vogel’s thoughtful career plan is mirrored in her collection: every detail, and every complementary contributes to her statement and vision. Vogel cites Phoebe Philo, Alexander Wang and Martin Margiela as inspirations, and this admiration of a clean aesthetic is apparent in her work. Like her role models, Vogel is clear about working on her own terms and following her shrewd style instinct. Dissatisfied with footwear available to style with her runway collections, Vogel set about creating shoes for her looks herself: her shoe collection has proved so popular that shoes are now available to buy on her website.
She’s also questioned the necessity of putting out two collections a year due to Mexico’s continuously hot weather. Vogel has noted how hard it is to succeed in a country that is still developing as a fashion capital and expressed frustration with the availability of skilled personnel quality materials. But Vogel has not let this hold her back. With covetable designs and stylishly-clad feet set firmly on the ground, this designer is ready to take the world by storm.

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