Frida Kahlo, one of the most iconic and easily recognizable artists of all time, was also a strong champion of indigenous Mexico’s culture and people. From her clothes—vibrant folk wear inspired by her home country’s history—to her paintings featuring local imagery and color, Mexico was as much a part of Frida Kahlo as her iconic unibrow and braids. Recently, Latin American fashion businesswoman Adriana Pavon sought to honor that influence with the first project in her just-launched initiative Mexico Culture & Pride. The organization manufactures sustainable fashion accessories, while also creating jobs for several indigenous cultures throughout Mexico—starting with the people of Oaxaca.
Mexico Culture & Pride aims to conserve the cultural textile traditions that have made the region’s colorful rugs, dresses, and jewelry world-renowned, and provide education, fair trade commerce, and traveling exhibitions. The first stage in her three-pronged attack is a Kickstarter fundraiser to develop a “multi-city collaborative exhibition tour” and will be unveiling a line of Frida Kahlo-inspired wears. Currently Pavon is working with Nahuatl weavers from Teotitlan, and sewers and embroiderers from Tehuantepec. Tehuantepec, a matriarchal society, is considered to be the center of Zapotec culture, and is known for its traditional women’s dresses—the same kind worn by Kahlo.
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From now until August 20, supporters of Pavon’s Kickstarter campaign can purchase tickets to the upcoming exhibit “Through Frida’s Eyes,” sponsored by the group, and Frida-themed products designed by the women.
This project has been the brainchild of consultant and industry influencer Pavon for the last two years—part of a broader personal mission to downsize and upcycle. “I shifted my life and my career. I don’t have a car. I live on a budget. All my energy has gone into this project,” she says. “My team and I went to Mexico to meet and work with the people and we documented the whole process to be transparent and share the beauty and importance of the culture.”
Pavon was first inspired to start Mexico Culture & Pride through her own personal work in the fashion industry. According to a press release, Pavon was shocked when she learned that the “techniques and the environmentally friendly materials utilized by the locals are on the verge of extinction at an alarming rate; this is due to the globalization of textiles that are toxic for the environment and European designers plagiarizing the culture.” Pavon sprung to action and began recruiting colleagues she’d met through media outlets like Project Runway Latin Americaand Mexico’s Next Top Model to mastermind Mexico Culture & Pride—which she hopes will draw global interest to the unique charms of Mexican design, rather than negative global headlines.