Draped in colorful haute couture pieces, indigenous artisans and designers packed a fashion event in Mexico City as they try to carve out a stable future with their industry threatened by plagiarism, instability and lack of funds.
In original, one fashion Week Promoted by the Government and dedicated to traditional textiles, artists exhibited their designs and faced the challenges of the industry under the motto: “No to haggling, no to plagiarism and no to cultural appropriation.”
World renowned brands like Ralph Lauren or the Chinese fashion company Shein have faced accusations of plagiarism of indigenous Mexican designs in recent months, threatening the country’s ancestral textile tradition.
“Beyond a competition is for people to see that this is not a massive process,” he told reporters. “What we do takes time and that time must be valued both economically and in value product“.
“It is a job that is inherited,” he added. “Not only is it something that helps us maintain our day-to-day lives, but it represents our town, our community, our space, our way of seeing life.” Cruz noted that Original sought to prevent plagiarism by raising awareness of the quality and detail found in artisanal fashion.
But the financial difficulties and the problems to be able to compete with the fashion industry on a large scale have caused the children of artisans, who historically would have been apprentices in the trade, more stable jobs.
The Peruvian artisan Rosa Choque is the only one in the South American country who makes designs based on her Chiribaya ancestors, some are up to 500 years old, but she does not have a successor.
His two daughters moved away and found other jobs, as craft work did not sell well enough and was often not appreciated. Even Clash has a second job.
Instead, the craftswoman Mexican Rosa González works hand in hand with her son: “He is the one who gives the ideas, I give them shape and put them together,” she said, pointing out that they find inspiration in the flora of their region.
Traditionally his family used to do canvas prints artisans but decided to make clothes because it was easier to sell.
“All people can wear a dress haute couture for their gala parties, for their graduations and we have even done it for the brides”, said González.
But a lack of funding has been stifling innovation and preventing designers from investing in ways to production more efficient.
Imitation of indigenous designs has provoked the anger of the Mexican president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador: “They plagiarize the designs of artisans and indigenous people from Hidalgo, ChiapasGuerrero (…) and they don’t even give them credit,” he said at a press conference last week.
Brands can use prehispanic designs or current native peoples, he said, but stressed the need for “their intellectual work and creativity to be recognized (…) and for there to be no plagiarism.”