Jan 15, 2019 | By Sarah Housley
Dec 12, 2018
At WGSN, we’re placing real emphasis on Mexico as a key country for design and inspiration.
From the ways in which they passionately cherish their land, to their traditions and strong support of emerging local talent, they’re helping to shape the global design landscape.
Curious about it all, we interviewed young Mexican artist, Melissa Avila, who not only creates but also deeply cares about the future of Mexican craftsmanship and design.
Let’s start with your work. Could you please tell us a little bit about yourself — where you are currently based, and what you create?
My name is Melissa Avila and I currently live in Mexico City. I work in the cultural management field — designing educational programs that celebrate and embrace inclusion, collaborative work and digital culture. I also dedicate some time to photography and drawing. Lately, I’ve been fully focusing on my latest project named M.A, in which I work closely with artisans from various communities of Mexico — using artisanal techniques, including ancestral ones. We focus on three natural materials, wool, clay and stone, and create decorative rugs, clay pieces and one-off garments.
You work closely with local artisans and makers, and profile them on your website — why is it so important to you?
This project is not just about me, it’s about everyone who contributes along the way. This is why I like everyone to know who is part of this collaborative project – where we come from, and how we individually contribute. When a client acquires a product of ours, they are supporting our beliefs and interests; the conservation of traditional processes, the promotion of traditions, work based on local knowledge and fair trade.
We also think it is fundamental to know who made which piece, and inspiration behind it, and how your purchase aids the project, too. When you buy, you contribute to something else, something more valuable and tangible.
Mexican craftsmanship and traditions inspire modern day Mexican designers — why is it that?
It is our land, our cosmovision – who we are. The beauty of the autochthonous is special, a it’s unique, genuine and it comes from a place with totally different energies. I think it is important to pass this on to the new generations. There is still so much to learn, discover and reinforce before it’s forgotten.
Mexico City was named World Design Capital this year and Design Week Mexico keeps on growing year on year — how do you see Mexican design growing in the next few years?
I truly believe that we are having a moment. We are welcoming opportunities in design and in new ways of working with open arms. Combining contemporary designs with traditional methods is giving Mexican art a real renaissance.
It’s a rejuvenation of the artisanal, the local, the home-made. We want the unique and we want experiences.
I see Mexican design growing with an interest in resistance. A resistance that has to do with being gentle to our lands, with time, with processes and traditions. A resistance to mass consumption.
Stay up to date with Melissa’s work here.
Keep an eye out for WGSN’s Brands to Watch report in early 2019, dedicated to Mexican Makers on Lifestyle & Interiors.
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