No holiday is sacred when you're a small business owner. As much as I tried to unplug completely (granted, we didn't bring our laptops) there was no escaping casual research, inspiration and making connections... even on what was supposed to be a beach holiday! I was lucky enough to spend nearly two weeks (I know, can you believe it?!) mostly in the state of Oaxaca in the southwest of Mexico over the Thanksgiving break. And boy was it an incredible trip!
At the end of the first week we just happened to stumble upon* La Lonja Mercantil, a traveling pop-up fair for emerging Mexican designers & makers which is put on 4 times a year in Mexico City. They set up for the first time in the beautiful Museo de la Filatelia (a museum dedicated to stamps and the postal industry!) in Oaxaca. This pop-up had everything you want a pop-up to have: great food, local beer & mezcal, and incredible design ranging from traditional artisan craftsmanship to uber modern clothing and accessories.**
One of my favourite discoveries were the talented ladies from footwear brand Taller Nu, who design and manufacture in Mexico City using locally sourced leather and textiles. They have all their cross-stitch work done by women in a local prison, providing them with income and a marketable skill when they are released. I was lucky enough to visit their studio in Mexico City a few days later to discuss their production philosophy (and try on a few pairs of shoes). I'm not going to say too much, but expect a collaboration in some form or another next year!
Other favourite finds include Fabrica Social, an organization that works with indigenous artisans in Chiapas; Maddalena Forcela, an incredibly talented fiber artist who felts wool and silk textiles together and treats them with natural dyes; and El Camino de los Altos, a group of French designers working with weavers in the Chiapas Highlands to preserve their ancestral heritage.
For more images of my trip to Mexico, check out the Study NY instagram account (I apologize in advance).
*read: we rearranged our entire holiday to get back in time for the last day!
**I know, I don't like the word "uber" either.