In 2002, Carolina Lim and Humberto Leon launched Opening Ceremony, a retailer and brand that sought to spotlight the talent of independent designers and brands from around the world. Each year since then, the retailer has selected a “country of focus,” highlighting creatives from a specific location at both their brick & mortar and online stores – and last week they announced that 2019 will be the Year of Mexico.
Among the many Mexican designers who will be featured in this campaign – which includes some who have never been stocked in the US before – are Turbo, Roberto Sanchez, Zii Ropa, Carla Fernandez, and Contorno México. In addition to giving these creatives a platform, Opening Ceremony will also partner with Fondo Semillas, a Mexican non-profit focused on improving women’s lives.
We caught up with Mexican-American creative Cynthia Cervantes and her husband Travis Gumbs, the founders of Maroon World and the creatives behind Opening Ceremony’s launch campaign, to learn more about their perspective on this new collaboration.
How and why did you get involved in this project?
Travis: We have a long history with Opening Ceremony – I worked there ten years ago, and Cynthia has known Humberto ever since she moved to New York in 2008. We also know Suea Cho, who has been directing this project since the beginning. The creative community in New York is very small! When they found out that we’d moved to Mexico City, they began talking to us about the Year of Mexico that they were going to launch. That’s how it all started.
What does it mean to you to be part of this collaboration between Opening Ceremony and Mexico?
Cynthia: I’m proud, it’s an honor to be included in a project that is so important for Mexican creatives – especially considering the political climate in the United States, and the ignorance that exists among many North Americans about Mexican culture. This is an opportunity to show the world the talented Mexicans who are innovating in many categories: in fashion, design, art, and in creativity in general.
In your opinion, how will this collaboration help the Latino and Mexican creative industries?
Cynthia: Opening Ceremony has a reputation for launching the careers of many designers who are new, young, o simply still unknown in the fashion world. The whole world goes to Opening Ceremony to see what is happening in fashion, and I think it will make a big impact for so many Mexican designers and artists to have that visibility. I don’t think the fashion community in the US is aware of how many interesting things are happening in Mexico, and this collaboration will help to open minds and doors.
How else can we support and lend visibility to Mexican and Latino creative communities?
Cynthia: First of all, we have to support our community with our money. If you love fashion, consider buying [emerging] Latinx brands instead of well-known brands that already have millions of dollars. If you like art, go to the pop-up events thrown by Latinx artists in your community. Even if it seems small, support them in whatever way you can. You don’t have to spend an extravagant amount, it’s the support that counts. The other thing we can do is to use our personal platforms to share what we like. It doesn’t matter if you have ten followers or 1 million – we all have a voice and we can use it to support brands or artists who deserve our attention.