Surrounded by multicolored haute couture, artisans and indigenous designers make Mexico City shine with a fashion event.
Moreover, they were trying to carve out a future in an industry riddled with plagiarism, instability and underfunded.
Government-organized fashion week Original showed artists’ designs and called out industry issues with the slogan: “No bargaining, no plagiarism, no cultural appropriation.”
Recently, famous labels such as Ralph Lauren and the fast fashion company Shein have been accused of plagiarizing the designs of native Mexicans. The move threatens the country’s traditional textile market.
“We need people to understand this is not a mass process,” Hilan Cruz, an Original board member, said in an interview with Reuters. “What we do takes time, and that time should be valued both economically and in terms of product value.”
The Puebla state artisan continued: “This work is inherited.”
“It not only helps pay for our day-to-day life, it represents our people, our community, our space, our life vision.”
According to Cruz, Original seeks to avoid plagiarism by spreading awareness of the details and quality of artisanal fashion.
However, economic problems in competing with the wider fashion industry meant that the descendants of artisans sought more stable jobs. As a result, children would traditionally become apprentices in the trade.
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What Original Wants
Peruvian Rosa Choque is the only craftswoman in her South American country to create patterns inspired by her Chiribaya ancestors. These drawings are 500 years old. Unfortunately, she has no successor.
Her two daughters moved out and got into other work. This is because artisan work didn’t provide enough financial stability for those who work in the field. Furthermore, the artwork is often underappreciated, if not unappreciated.
Choque also works a second job.
Elsewhere, Rosa Gonzales, a Mexican artisan, takes on the job with her son.
“He is the one who comes up with the ideas. I shape them and put them together,” she said. This is regarding the inspiration from regional wildlife.
Previously, the family made art canvasses. However, they jumped into clothing due to more accessible sales work.
“With our designs, anyone can wear an haute couture dress for gala parties, [and] graduations. We have even made them for brides,” Gonzales stated.
However, insufficient funds bring down innovation and stagnate growth. Moreover, it prevents designers from putting their money into finer manufacturing.
“I wanted to be modern while still maintaining my culture,” Licet Alvarez, a Peruvian designer, said in an interview with Reuters. She wore face paint and a Kitsarenchy, a traditional clothing of the Anaro people of Peru’s central highlands, with beads.
“But sometimes, we don’t have access to the necessary materials.”
Ancient indigenous designs plagiarism expressed outrage from Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, Mexico’s president.
“They plagiarize designs from artisans and indigenous people from Hidalgo, Chiapas, Guerrero,” he said in a news conference the previous week.
They allow labels to use pre-Hispanic or native designs. However, “there has to be recognition of their intellectual work, creativity and no plagiarism,” the president said.
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