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Mexico City’s New Design Fair: Caravana Americana

DESIGN

Mexico City’s New Design Fair: Caravana Americana

The debut event showcases Latin America’s best design talent

by Karen Day
on 15 March 2016

Caravana Americana (which launched this weekend in Mexico City) is a small but highly selective showcase of Latin America’s best emerging talent. Founded by Regina Barrios and Alessandro Cerutti, owners of local boutique Lago DF, their culling brings together a well-rounded sample of the region’s creative way forward—for many, that’s an approach which builds upon traditional craftsmanship from the past. This was evident within the fair itself: located in an old tram repair shop-turned-cultural event space, Caravana Americana was kitted out with Mexican string lights, vintage Aztec rugs and Pedro Ramírez Vázquez furniture (reissued by Mexican firm Luteca).

Below are four standouts that caught our eye during the three-day event (not included is 1050 Grados, a non-profit pottery collective that “turns mud into beauty” and the focus of an upcoming CH story).

Colorindio

Colorindio is a shining example of how to infuse time-honored, indigenous handicrafts with modern taste. On a mission to “weave stories of ancient cultures through fabric,” the two women behind Colorindio track down preeminent artisans from Chiapas and Oaxaca to bring their biannual collections to life. The blankets are soft and simple, with colorful hand-stitched accents, while the thick rugs—which can take nine days to produce—are flawless but reflect a pedal-looming process.

Utilitario Mexicano

Admittedly very few people need a Mexican fruit puller these days (unless you’re fortunate enough to live among bountiful lemon or mango trees), but the extremely basic contraption exemplifies why we fell for everything we came across at Utilitario Mexicano. The stand was brimming with beautiful household goods that you can’t help but covet, no matter if you cook or order delivery every night. Handmade ceramic electric teapots, plastic salsa bottles, aluminum jars, enamel dishes, handmade hen feather dusters and more make up their collection, and are equal parts form and function.

Robin Archives

We’ve seen our share of leather goods over the years, but every now and then there’s a newcomer who exudes a distinct style and an impeccable knack for working with the ubiquitous material. Such is Robin Archives, a collection of seriously classy messenger bags, wallets, portfolios and luggage inspired by travel from a bygone era but designed and handmade in Mexico for globetrotters of today. The leather is supple yet the aesthetic is austere—more Stockholm than Mexico City—and the designers, model Paola Viloria and cult magazine editor Laura Olavarri, utilize their sophisticated palates to create custom goods upon request.

Zii Ropa

Launched in Baja California Sur by Vancouverite Bridget Tidey, Zii Ropa is “born out of this philosophy of living your life as a work of art.” Now Mexico City-based, Tidey uses imported fabrics and a muted palette to achieve a nomadic vibe that fits in just as easily among the bright colors of Mexico as it would against the minimalism of Denmark. Cotton jersey onesies, linen shift dresses and wideleg denim are at once effortless and elegant. Read more about Tidey’s textile-focused approach in our 2015 interview.

Images courtesy of respective brands, hero image by Karen Day

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