Oaxaca City is becoming a center for innovative fashion that combines modern styles and materials with ancient techniques and craftsmanship. Many of the designers and shops listed here work with local artisans and not only sell the work of these creative masters but also work to safeguard disappearing traditions. Here are eight stores that will give you a feel for the effervescent fashion movement of Oaxaca.
Tutü & Co
Modern-day handbags with a touch of the traditional makes Tutu&Co stand out among Oaxaca’s designers. They riff off some of the region’s indigenous techniques of weaving and embroidery to add individuality to their shoulderbags, purses and handbags.
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Lilliana del Toro Diseños
Lilliana del Toro is a Oaxacan clothing designer who combines the traditional embroidery often found on Oaxacan huipil, which is a sleeveless smock worn with a white skirt underneath it. She takes inspiration from these colorful designs to create pieces with that same lively style but in modern, feminine cuts.
Mariana Grapain works with 30 women in the Oaxacan zone of Ayahuatla de la cuenca y cañada to create technicolor blouses, dresses, skirts and pants in traditional cuts, but with high-end cloth and high-quality thread. Mariana sees her work as more than simply a business, but a project to safeguard the artisanal clothes-making processes that are being lost and she is dedicated to creating records of some of the most ancient designs used in this region of the world.
Fabiola Calvo’s unique designs have been seen on the runways more than once. She has taken a love for Oaxacan art and textiles and transformed it into pieces that a supermodel can strut through town in. Modern and chic but with an ancient art to them, her pieces scream sophistication and authenticity.
Miku Meko has a little bit of everything – jewerly, ceramics, clothing, home decorative items and art pieces. The shop was started by Alelí Hernández as a collective of female artisans working independently and selling in a common space in the Mercado Sánchez Pascuas in the center of Oaxaca, and now members of the collective have set up this store-workshop under the direction of Hernandez.
The Hilo de Nube store in Oaxaca City creates traditional huipil shirts with the help of artisans in the community of San Juan Guichicovi, Oaxaca. Their shirts are made in the typical campesino style using traditional techniques but marketed to a younger, more urban shopper in Oaxaca and online through their web catalogue.
Silvia Suarez makes flowing and feminine couture fashion incorporating traditional embroidery and other sewing techniques. Originally from Argentina, Silvia grew up in Oaxaca and has been working as a designer for the last 15 years. Her work is dedicated to fair trade opportunities for the artisans she works with and sustainability in her products and their process of creation.