Frida by Design

Latina designer Adriana Pavon has worked in the fashion industry for years, and was responsible for overseeing the design and manufacturing processes of many popular clothing brands. However, two years ago, Pavon realized that the industry she was working for was doing more harm than good. Many mass production clothing factories that are located in third world countries have been known to provide unsafe work spaces for employees and pollute the air and water in the surrounding regions. Pavon decided she did not want to contribute to this industry anymore, and she went on to create a fashion line that supports fair trade between countries.

“My goal was to create contemporary collections in collaboration with indigenous people of my native Mexico,” states Pavon. She realized that there is a more fulfilling approach to the way we look at fashion and clothing production, as an art and a representation of culture. Pavon has also found that European and American mainstream fashion industries have been know to mimic the styles of many indigenous groups from around the world, including those in Mexico, and create inauthentic designs based on the originals. These are the reasons why Pavon decided to name her new collection Mexico: Cultura y Orgullo, or in English, Mexico: Culture and Pride. She has been working with the indigenous people of Oaxaca, Mexico, who artfully hand-make all of the collection’s products.

“Frida on White Bench,” photograph by Nickolas Muray, 1939. Submitted image“I was inspired by Frida Kahlo…her colorful wardrobe, the designs, the richness within her personality and within her life,” says Pavon. She did research on Frida Kahlo’s wardrobe and the way her clothes were made so that she and her team could come up with designs that represented Frida’s style. Pavon and her team at Mexico: Cultura y Orgullo also decided to launch a collaborative exhibit called “Through Frida’s Eyes.”  Pavon explains that the exhibit will travel around the U.S. and that the experience will be like visitors are virtually traveling through Oaxaca, getting a close-up look at what life is like in this community. Money to pay for the exhibit’s tour is currently being fundraised through an organization called Kickstarter. Pavon is hoping that people will be inspired by the finely crafted works of the indigenous people of Oaxaca and motivated by the use of ethical labor and production (rephrase?) so that they will want to contribute.

It must not have been easy for Adriana Pavon to leave the industry she had been dedicated to for 20 years, but she took the chance anyway is clearly glad that she did. “I wanted to make a positive impact on people’s lives,” expresses Pavon. Looking at the way Mexico: Cultura y Orgullo is making efforts to preserve and respect the culture of an indigenous group as well as the environment, it seems like Pavon and her team are definitely making a positive difference in the world.

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