Students from MA Fashion Entrepreneurship and Innovation curated an exhibition dedicated to traditional Mexican fashion as part of their International Collaborative Unit. 'A la Mexicana' is a celebration of the artisan techniques that have been used in the country for centuries, bringing together Mexican brands and designers to raise conversations around social innovation, social sustainability, cultural sustainability and cultural appropriation. Student Violeta Vasquez López originally came up with the idea to develop 'A la Mexicana' as a very personal project for her:
As a Mexican designer, I have always wanted to improve the working conditions of the creative industries in my country. I came up with the idea for this project because I wanted to do something that supported Mexican design, and combined my passion for culture with great networking opportunities.
After presenting the project idea in front of her MA cohort, Violeta's passion for her country's craftsmanship spread across her class: "To me, one of the most rewarding moments of the International Collaborative Unit was finding out the great response from my classmates towards the project. Since the first day, many fellow students asked me to join the team and that was very encouraging."
Violeta worked alongside 8 postgraduate students and collaborated with designer Estela Ivonnè, the charity NGO Impacto and the Mexican Embassy in the UK for the realisation of the exhibition, held at the J/M Gallery. "Since the beginning, we had a clear vision to get real working experience, so we knew we wanted to make a real exhibition. It was not easy, there were many pieces in the puzzle," Violeta explains.
Even though bringing the idea to life was challenging and required a lot of work and dedication, Violeta highlights that participating in the International Collaborative Unit ended up being a very valuable experience for all of them: "Through this project development, I’ve come to the conclusion that commitment, persistence, passion and hard work are key to achieving your goals. The journey will never be easy, but the rewarding feeling of materialising an idea is priceless."
A la Mexicana: an encounter of Mexican fashion and artisan techniques. Project by Violeta Vasquez López (director), Nick Dehadray (curation and communications), Alyza Bachmid (research and graphic design), Yolanda Yong (legal aspects), Harold Hardy Reed (sponsorship), Ploynita Chokpaiboon, Dong Dong Qiao and Wan-Jung Chen (project contributors).