My Three Month Residency with Carla Fernández
It's a dream come true - I am taking a sabbatical to do a 3-month residency with my favorite fashion designer Carla Fernández in Mexico City.
After following Carla's work and career for several years I eventually got to meet her at Heath Ceramics' Boiler Room in San Francisco earlier this year where she showed her work in an exhibition called "Carla Fernández: Design Culture Mexico".
There was no question I would participate in the 3-day workshop she offered to teach to a small group of enthusiasts during the exhibit. I was mesmerized by Carla's sustainable approach to fashion. She collaborates with indigenous communities all over Mexico to create her most contemporary line of high-quality clothing, which is mostly handmade with the use of traditional techniques.
During the last day of the workshop, it was clear to me that I needed to learn more so I basically invited myself to a residency with her and her team in Mexico City. And here I am! 3 weeks into it I am getting more and more curious with every day at the studio.
But before sharing a few news from Mexico City I have some photos from the setup of Carla's new show "The Future is Handmade" in Downtown LA that I helped to install before moving on to Mexico.
Mexico is filled with traditions and century-old crafts and techniques. The team at Carla Fernández always finds a way to make use of them in the production of the next season's line so it is no wonder that bracelets made of molinillos [a Mexican wood turned whisk to stir hot chocolate] or entire garments made of rebozos [a Mexican hand-dyed and hand-woven shawl] can be found amongst the collection.
The collaborations with the artisans make sure that these old skills stay alive and get passed down to younger generations who in return see a reason to learn from their ancestors and keep their family or even community business going. This sustainable approach is a real counter to the current fast fashion movement of global brands.
Part of Carla Fernández' first appearance in LA was the signing of her book "The Barefoot Designer: A Handbook" at Decades. For the entire month of September selected pieces from her own vintage collection of indigenous clothes are for sale at this legendary vintage couture and designer consignment shop.
Obviously, we all had a lot to do before the show opening but it was a wonderful week getting to know the team and learning about the making of the collection - a pure treat to be able to help getting everything ready. I had a great time and even the breaks in-between were a pure delight - especially when my husband came to visit.
After a busy but creative and satisfying time in LA I went on with my fashion adventure and took an early-bird flight out of LAX to Mexico City.
Nicole W. Kelly - Designer. Maker. Traveler. Owner of YOLOTLI.