martes, 21 de agosto de 2012

Fashion in Mexico: Maura Ireri

Maura Ireri is a recent fashion graduate from ‘Centro de Diseño, Cine y Televisión’. For her final collection she used patterns based on golden proportion that concluded in very simple, meticulous and eye-catching white garments. With this collection, Maura proved that the young crowd might be the boost that fashion in Mexico needs.

Maura by Homero Ramírez
Picture courtesy of Maura Ireri
As a Mexican, we are often likely to have been asked at least once about the Mexican burritos and whether we wear sombreros charros or ride donkeys. So with this vision of Mexico, I bet it might not seem as a top destination for fashion lovers. However, just like in any other country, Mexico has fashion students like Maura Ireri, struggling to launch their own brands.

Dressed in dark colours and with her recognisable fringe covering her forehead, Maura opened the door and let me in her flat. With a sweet smile and dark eyes, she guided me through the place. It wasn’t the first time I was there, but I took a peek in her room again, just to confirm how polished and neat she is with her room as with her designs. White walls, orchids in a table corner, and a bit of an angelical light coming in from the windows. We sat down on the main table, where she had been painting her nails with a green-gold lacquer.  She got back to what she was doing and I asked, how did you get interested in fashion design?

She stopped painting her nails and very calmly and with a smooth accent between her words, said, “everything started with drawing”. After learning how to draw with her father who’s an architect, Maura drew outfits for her friends just for fun. Then, she decided to take things a bit more seriously and went on pattern-making and sewing courses when she was in high school. She also chose to move away from her hometown, Uruapan, Michoacán, to come and study to Mexico’s capital. “Because fashion was here”, justified Maura.

In Mexico City, there are three well–known fashion schools, one of which is Centro de Diseño, Cine y Televisión (Center of Design, Film and Television) where Maura studied. After the first year of studying photography, drawing and art history; while mixing with students from film, industrial and interior design, you focus on fashion and textiles. Classes vary from knitting, screen-printing to fashion history. 

She also had the chance to study one semester in Barcelona, so I asked what was the biggest difference that she noticed. “In BAU (School of Design, Barcelona), there was much more freedom for design, they weren’t very responsible, but they were more experimental.” In Mexico, as she observed, teachers tend to restrict your way into a certain type of design, “and without realizing it, you are built in a more commercial, conservative path.”

Perhaps within reason, because as Maura explained, “Mexico is very conservative, people in Mexico City dare more, especially those in the artistic scene, but the population in general prefer the jeans and the t-shirt.” The lack of fashion culture, and the high amount of foreign cheap shops like Zara, make it hard for someone to buy Mexican fashion. Then again, in such a populated country and with a constant economical crisis, people worry more about their basic needs. So, how can someone even bother to think about fashion?

Garments from Maura's final collection
Picture Courtesy of Maura Ireri
Compared to India or Japan, in Mexico the traditional costume is mainly used by indigenous people. Also, because of the high foreign influence, the traditional costume is slowly getting lost. However, there are a few traditional garments that remain part of the contemporary wardrobe. One is a shirt called ‘guayabera’ mostly used by men at special events, and the ‘rebozo’, very similar to the pashmina used by women. Nevertheless, Mexico remains popular for its beautiful textiles. “I like the diversity of materials here, that many designers do take advantage of”, said Maura.

Being in the fashion industry is not the best-paid job in Mexico, but how can it be when being a fashion designer is not a very respected
profession? “In Mexico most people don’t understand the difference between a seamstress and a designer”, said Maura. What’s the biggest limitation you’ve had? She was quiet for a moment, then said, “the lack of support to show yourself as a new designer.” The process that it takes for a young designer to appear in a runway is rather slow. As a lot of you might know, little shops in trendy zones that sell Mexican fashion garments are the way to start as a designer. Then big platforms like Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week or IDM (International Designers Mexico) are the next step if you’ve made it in a big way.

How would you deal with the lack of economical support towards designers? “I think until it happens to me, I’ll know,” she said giggling. So while she figures this out, and gains more experience in fashion design, Maura is showing with her collection that it’s possible to bring Mexican traditions into a contemporary design. “I took the ‘bejuco’ technique that chairs are sometimes made of, it is very Mexican, and I applied it on a dress,” she said referring to the black dress she wore the day she presented her final collection.

Despite the lack of costumers, fashion design is getting increasingly popular as a career in Mexico, as more designers emerge into the scene. Giving Mexican fashion students hope that it is a growing industry and it might be very different in the near future. “In a few years, I hope that it’s easier, so I can start my brand properly,” concluded Maura.

Check out Maura's work:

Leer este artículo en Español

Licencia de Creative Commons
Fashion in Mexico: Maura Ireri is licensed under a Creative Commons Reconocimiento-NoComercial-SinObraDerivada 3.0 Unported License.
Creado a partir de la obra en

3 comentarios: