Revolutionary Fashion with “Content” Based in Mexico
She is a fashion designer who grew up in an artistic and creative environment. Her mather is a painter and father an architect. She has always believed in fashion as a branch of art and a platform for the dissemination of ideas. In Latin America, particularly in Mexico, fashion is strongly linked to a social or economic issues; it is a rather superficial world, as she said to JL Interviews in an on-line chat. The aim of Ximena Corcuera Brand is to change this conception of fashion and create fashion with content.
Her company works on projects related to art and research. Through various collaborations with different disciplines (art, theater, history, dance, music etc.) these projects are carried out to be enriched and to be translated into fashion pieces. They seek ways to modify the “buying” awareness of the consumers so that they may understand what can be done with cloth. “I am trying make people understand that fashion is more than dressing well or having beautiful clothes, it is a powerful channel to express ideas and to connect with others”.
Last year Vogue Mexico published her collection dedicated to Mickey Mouse. It was a homage to this legendary animated animal on its 90th birthday. “As a person and designer, Ximena has learned to express and enjoy the creating processes to the fullest, working very hard to build what she wants and never take her eyes off that goal, because for her the world belongs to the stubborns”, said Fleshmag about her. Ximena is a young revolutionary and extremely talented woman. She is still changing, experimenting with materials and colors, looking for new solutions. It is following her work: on Instagram at ximena.corcuera_official.
According to you, what is the current situation of fashion business in Mexico? Is it difficult to be a designer in your country?
Mine is a totally personal opinion. I think the issue of fashion in Mexico is extremely complex as there is more than one factor to analye. Mexico could perfectly portray the word diversity with its pros and cons. As part of the duality of the Mexican, we live in a country where cultural, social and economic circumstances are often very different among the different citizens themselves. The lowest social class in the country does not have enough resources. Their life is not comfortable; they prioritize functional and cheap working clothes. While the upper class of the country usually lives more conservatively under social norms, in some cases, in a strong religious sense, generating symbols of belonging among their social circles. We must add to these social circumstances the lack of government support (small businesses can’t grow because they are buried under taxes and documentation) and lack of vision on expand the fashion sector. All these complications (the lack of exhibitions with valuable content that adds the poor perspective that the country offers on fashion) influence new designers that do not yet have large production capacities or sufficient information. This leads people to consider the fashion world as frivolous and superficial and think it is governed by brands and bloggers. However, not everything is bad. We have the possibility to continue generating disruptive proposals that help generate, step by step, the vision of fashion that we want in our country. We have a cultural heritage full of experts in craftsmanship processes and millennial textile techniques that we have not commissioned to study to bring new perspectives beyond those already proposed by our communities. I think we are a country full of lively, creative and open-minded people. We just have to dare to fight to build everything we imagine and dare to be the first to go against the current although it is not easy. I think it is difficult to be a designer in Mexico, just as it is difficult to achieve your dreams anywhere in the world. I do not think that being part of a country or having been born in certain circumstances is what should determine how far you can go. I believe that nowadays we can no longer think of our countries as our area of action. There is so much ground to explore and so many possibilities to do it, social networks, fairs, networking, internet … today whoever wants to, can achieve it if they are willing to fight to get it.
What is your fashion proposal? How is your fashion different?
The brand or the project, as I call it, seeks to generate a change in the perspective of the Mexican consumer with their concept of fashion and open their eyes to new fields of exploration. I want people to understand that fashion is more than dressing well or having beautiful clothes, it is a powerful channel to express ideas and to connect with others. There are items that carry stories with which we connect and which we carry as our own image for the empathy we feel with them. For this reason, the brand is not limited to the usual models to exhibit, sell, create or communicate fashion. We seek to spread the idea of a fashion with content through the generation of projects with different stories that we enrich through multidisciplinary collaborations (depending on the theme of each project) and from which we generate items that people can wear, as if they acquired a piece of each story or project. The important thing is to modify the purchase argument, so that over time consumer interest is generated so that they know what the story of the project behind your clothing is.
You say that you grew up in several countries and cultures. Do you consider your fashion international? In your collections can an European or Asian customer reflect herself comfortably?
Yes, I grew up in Guatemala a part of my childhood, I lived in Mexico almost all my life, sometimes in Spain, several months in Chile and France. The truth is that I have never thought of my work as something that belongs to any particular country, although I imagine that my education and my learning, my culture and my experiences have a strong impact on my vision and my designs. It’s funny because a lot of my teachers and friends have always told me that my work seems more within an Asian perspective. I think something right by the the way the proportions that I usually use are utilized and by experimenting on some parts, however I think there’s always going to be a mix of references. I think that my collections could be easily accepted in the European or Asian market due to the background and the objective of the project as well as the handling of the pieces. It is not really a project that seeks to be identified with any country nor that seeks to be linked to the Mexican market in particular. The idea is the interesting proposal, the generation of multidisciplinary dialogue that lead us to explore other perspectives of fashion and the generation of experiences through fashion. I think that it could be something quite universal.
What are the materials you use? Why that choice?
The materials and techniques vary, depending on the DNA of each project, depending on the concept and the theme of the pieces, colors, materials and other processes. In Latin America the processes were varied, I made the design of graphics based on the project for families in the city of Guanajuato, I also elaborated pieces with Digital Stamping, embroidery, hand unraveling, etc. The choice of materials was selected depending on the needs of each piece to achieve the desired results.
You love colors, you grew up in a very creative family. I suppose you are inspired by the art world, some particular artist? Who or what else inspires you?
My love for colors is really something very recent. I had many stages of development where I almost always designed in dark colors. I think that the more I have been able to develop my knowledge about materials I have dared to make more use of color and it fascinates me. I think I really had not used it since there is more complexity to obtain what you want if color and techniques are not handled correctly. Yes, I grew up with two creative, crazy and spontaneous parents. My dad is an architect by profession and inventor by hobby. My mom, a painter and a person with incredible knowledge about art. My house has always been in motion with their inventions and follies. I think that aside from my parents, which I believe are the basis of my inspiration, there are artists of all kinds who inspire me in many different ways such as Ernesto Neto with the experiences of his installations, Cruz Diez with the spectacular handling of color and light, Remedios Varo with the surreal world, Alexander Mcqueen with the stories behind his garments (he took fashion to new horizons) and Iris Van Herpen with her expertise and exploration of materials to create incredible forms. The truth is that I am always looking for new references and artists, not always classics or acquaintances, but that generate proposals that inspire.
Since when have you been drawing and projecting? In which direction would you like to go with your work as a next step?
I have always been drawing, it was something that I grew up with. Over the years I have been exploring different techniques with drawing and as I have been growing I have been incorporating digital illustration and some more experimental techniques into my processes and my work. As a next step, I am working on the plans for the year with the brand to find the best selection of projects and collaborations and I am currently working on my next collection It is going to be a project with a lot of energy and movement, I think the result is going to work out.
What kind of clothes sell more? How do you like to dress Mexican women?
Complex dresses with graphics. I think that this way people often risk more when they dress. The truth is that the consumption is very diverse, but I think that as Latin Americans we are always more receptive to color and textures.
Last year Vogue Mexico published your collection dedicated to Mickey Mouse (90 years old!). Why would you want to pay homage to that famous animated being?
I think it’s its character. Mickey Mouse is an icon that lives in the memory of many people and has managed to maintain a unique identity over the years. I think that today everything that promotes optimism, happiness, family, dreams and magic is something worth celebrating.
How would you describe the character of a woman who wears your creations? Are these women like you?
I never liked to delimit much the person who dresses my clothes, although if I had to describe the person who normally wears my clothes I think it is a passionate, funny, social, intelligent, strong and extroverted woman with a strong interest in culture and art, unafraid of pursuing their dreams. I do not know if they are women like me (laughs) but I would definitely like to fit that description!
What is the motto / philosophy / message of your fashion? Do you have a large team of collaborators?
I think the most important message of the brand is that fashion is much more than clothing, it is a language, a way of connecting, communicating and generating experiences. Mostly I do everything by myself, I am a little hyperactive, so for the moment I do almost everything alone: design, research, communication and planning of each project. It is 100% my process, just like the first steps of processes, pattern designing, drawing graphics, dealing with suppliers, etc. For the manufacturing aspect, I usually collaborate with local suppliers with different expertise, depending on the project, or with collaborators for specific processes or to enrich some parts of the projects.
You have lived not only in Mexico, but also in Spain and France. How did other countries influence you? What is the place where you return most often?
Everywhere! They were all wonderful, each in its own way and with its learning. I carry a little bit of each one in my heart. I believe that each has influenced me in a different manner, contributing to the vision that I have today. I currently live in Mexico so I spent most of my time here, but I think that, because of the proximity, I have most often gone back to Guatemala. It has a special weight because it was part of my childhood. I think if I could go to all and many more countries, I would probably live traveling [laughing].
Where can we see you soon? Will you participate in a fashion show or an event? Will you come back to Europe?
Well, I am in the planning processes of the actions and events for 2019 and 2020, so we will select the key events or opportunities for the objectives of the brand that we have this year. For now, I’m looking to participate in some the fashion shows to propose other styles, performances, art exhibitions, etc. But I am open to new proposals and excited if I can open the doors in other countries including European countries. Although for now we are still exploring with some art curators for possible collaborations. So if there is something or someone interested in doing something together I am happy to receive proposals.
You have collaborated with Swarovski. Can you tell us about that collaboration? With which other famous brands did you collaborate?
Yes! It was a pleasure to work with them, they were very efficient and they were very kind to me. We worked on an article together, I made the base and the construction of the piece, as well as the graphics that was going to crystallize on the piece. It was a graphic that was derived from the reinterpretation of the patterns that are often used by the Kayapó tribe in Brazil. This pattern was reinterpreted in a two-tone design, red and black, which the Swarovski team subsequently captured on the piece. They were made with thousands of Swarovski crystals brought from their bases in Austria and assembled in the final piece with the help of experts to obtain a perfect finish. The result was really beautiful.
How do you dress personally? What style do you prefer? Are you more for the elegant, ethnic or casual?
The truth is that I like to play a lot with my style but I always look for clothes that have something that allows me to have fun with them, some nice sleeve, a crazy print, a curious texture, or pieces with unusual proportions. Something that I love it is oversized clothes. I have a lot of really great clothes and I love it.
Traveling around the world has surely allowed you to meet other great designers, stylists. Who do you esteem more and why?
I have met very interesting people along the way and people with outstanding talents in my opinion, photographer Ivan Aguirre, stylist Annie Lask, designers of experimental proposals such as Shingo Sato or persevering entrepreneurs such as Gisela Fortuna. However, I believe that people I most esteem are the people who have taught me something on the road, sometimes they are characters of some anecdote, travel or that at the time were great teachers in my personal or professional life. Nowadays, beyond the great talents of design, I believe that those I most value are those who I consider complete and admire as people: people who are intellectually, persevering, creative but at the same time are balanced in their life and incredible social skills. .
Has the death of great creator Karl Lagerfeld touched you? He had his cat, do you have an animal, person or object that mobilizes you or brings you luck?
I think it was a great loss for the fashion world. He was a great creator and someone who will always be part of the history of these great brands. Of course I was saddened by the fact that no more proposals are coming from a person who had so much to say and was an inspiration and generator of innovative proposals for so long. I have never really liked forming an attachment to an object.
Photo: Ximena Corcuera’s Archivum
Written by Joanna Longawa
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