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Sunday, June 29, 2014

A Modern Twist On Mexican Tradition Hits The Runway

Mayan Clothing 

Hundreds of miles away from the rebozo workshop, in the mountains of northern Oaxaca, Fernández has been invited to the city of Tuxtepec to see if local weavers want to become her suppliers.

The weavers here are women with long braids, wearing bright red huipiles. Some of them speak only a tonal dialect called Chinantec as they demonstrate a backstrap loom, which ties around the waist to a pole.

Their huipiles are woven with symbols, like trees of life or creation myths of light and darkness. Traditionally, indigenous weaving tells a story.
"The embroidery is so fine that it looks painted," Fernández says. "If you see it from far away, you don't know if it's a print. And then you come very close and then you see that it's amazingly embroidered."

"They know how to do backstrap loom. Who in the world, like young people, know[s] how to do backstrap loom? Very few," Fernández says. "But it's something that makes you very unique, like those things that your grandparents taught you. I think the new generations are pretty into it."

Milagros Ortega, 27, is part of the next generation, and a full-time weaver. A backstrap loom of red thread is strung across the patio at her home in San Lucas Ojitlán. She and her fellow weavers won't hesitate to try new things for Fernández, she says, but she won't stop weaving huipiles for herself.

"We would never let anything change this," she says, "because these are our roots." Their roots, their history and their heritage.

"When I weave, I think how each person represents, to me, a human in the universe," Diaz says. "There are as many humans as threads — there is no end."