A fashion designer and cultural historian who is documenting, preserving, revitalizing and bringing to contemporary relevance the rich textile heritage of Mexico’s indigenous communities. Combining her passion for beautiful clothing and a deep respect for the artisans and communities who produce traditional textiles, she founded an ethical and sustainable business that includes a fashion label and a unique mobile design studio.Travelling throughout the country, Fernández works closely with hand spinners, weavers, embroiderers and garment makers to document their age-old techniques and processes. Then, working collaboratively, they adapt and transform these concepts to make striking contemporary clothing. Fernández promotes environmentally responsible production processes and the economic development of indigenous artisans and their communities by ensuring that her coworkers are recognized and paid for their intellectual property.
Q: WHAT WAS YOUR ROUTE TO YOUR CURRENT ARTISTIC PRACTICE?
My world has always been surrounded by historians, anthropologists, museum makers, writers and artists. I combine all this fields and express them through fashion. For me clothes are an open book, in them you can read the vocabulary humans have created to express their culture, politics and aesthetics.
Q: CAN YOU IDENTIFY ANY ELEMENTS OF YOUR COMMUNITY OR COLLABORATORS THAT HAVE HAD A STRONG INFLUENCE?
A Fashion Brand is made by many people working for the same goal. The most important influence I have, and will always be, is the team that works with us; the artisans that cocreate and co produced with us! Also my business partner Cristina Rangel that makes the company a successful business, designer Erin Lewis who has taught me everything I know about fashion and my partner Pedro Reyes who as sculptor has been by our side designing our stores.
Q: HOW IS YOUR PROJECT TIED TO THE CIRCA X DAZED CLASS OF 20:21 THEME OF ‘COMMUNION’?
The film is inspired by the burning of effigies or “Judas”, a tradition during the Easter celebrations in Mexico. The ritual has a symbolic and a pagan axis: burning the figure that causes all evil in order to be reborn, compensate for the mistakes and damages of the past and regain strength from its ashes.
This collection and film were created in the midst of a highly complex landscape; the most complex humanity has faced in decades. Although our brand has been working for more than twenty years to demonstrate that another system for the fashion environment is possible, activating a practice in which the human sphere predominates, balance with the planet, ethics in production work and creation. We never imagined that the unemployment caused by the pandemic would be so drastic and forceful. This teaching made us stronger, more creative and more alive. It has shown us that our path, which is slow, difficult and has to jump many obstacles every day, is the correct one. The inspiration of the prints, embroidery and handmade painting of the Judas on the garments are inspired by the colossal paper effigies Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera collected, made by Juderos Pedro Linares and Carmen Caballero. For our garments we asked Pedro’s grandson Leonardo Linares, to reinterpret his grandfather’s designs. The garments of Leonardo’s authorship bear his signature.
Our work is only complete when we collaborate with other disciplines. In this case with Nobords dance company, Ricardo Ramos and Héctor del Mal Film photographers. Filmed at the amazing Anahuacalli Museum made by Diego Rivera to host his prehispanic collection and political murals.
Q: HOW WOULD THE CIRCA PRIZE OF £30,000 IMPACT YOUR FUTURE PRACTICE?
We have kept our same level of operations throughout the pandemic keeping our stores and the work with our collaborators have not dismissed anyone or reduced salaries. This has been the biggest challenge of our brand. All our savings were designated to keep our team together but we have run out of them. From the outside it seems we are doing fine but the truth is that we have depleted all our savings and sales haven’t picked up yet. Now it is only us trying to surf the tsunami for so long.
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