Female entrepreneurs who are elevating sustainable luxury fashion
Daniela Bustos Maya
Celebrating its 10th anniversary, this socially responsible luxury brand works with vintage Mexican coins minted during the 20th century and uses Artiseda threads and recycled cotton threads to weave handmade jewelry and fashion pieces. “In my family, the knitting is really important; my grandma taught my mom and she taught me as a way to say ‘I love you,’ so I create all my pieces with that in mind, because it is the best gift they could ever give me,” says Founder Daniela Bustos Maya.
Her eponymous brand blends influences from her life in Argentina and Latin America with her love of Mexico, her adopted home. Designs showcase traditional weaving techniques and hammock threads that are made in Yucatán, where the pieces are created. “When I arrived to Mexico I was impressed by the hammock threads in all the marketplaces, how they looked and felt, and it made me wonder about creating jewelry pieces with that genuine material,” she says. Maya works with a team of women artisans who use traditional techniques based on a rich ancestral culture passed from generation to generation, which creates jobs in the community and provides fair and ethical payment.
All of the materials used in her designs are made in Mexico, by Mexican hands. “The incredible artisan women who I work with have the abilities and passion for making these pieces—only they didn’t have the opportunities to work, so we created a team that shared knowledge between us and their generations.” danielabustosmaya.mx
Five years ago, Caralarga Founder Ana Holschneider Gomez started experimenting with the surplus of cotton threads from a local textile factory based in Querétaro, Mexico, where her husband’s family is involved in the textile industry. “We found in these materials the possibility of rethinking and exploring waste as a means to create unique, timeless and sustainable pieces of jewelry and clothing,” Gomez says.
Today, nine women produce Caralarga’s jewelry and apparel collections; additionally, the brand collaborates with La Esperanza community in Querétaro, where 12 senior women have been integrated into their production line. “We collaborate with Taller Maya and one of its communities in Campeche that are constantly working for the preservation of the extraction of sansevieria fibers, an ancient technique that had been lost because of its complexity,” Gomez says.
By collaborating with different communities and developing an in-house production line, Caralarga is able to create job opportunities that can give more women sustainable incomes for longer periods of time, providing them social security and fair trade salaries. “I think fashion should be collaborative, and its purpose aimed toward sustainability,” she says. “As designers and manufacturers, sustainable practices add value to our products; as consumers, responsible consumerism becomes part of a collective conscience.” caralarga.com.mx