During the International Symposium of Sustainable Design in Colombia, Carla and the fashion expert Pilar Castaño gave an interview to Exclama magazine.
EXCLAMA: Your work is applauded at international level, because of the processes you’re using. Please tell us more about these artisanal processes.
Carla Fernández: Yes, we have two lines. Ancestors is the one we produce directly together with the indigenous communities. We also work together with urban artisans, but for me the haute couture is made in the mountains. These people have an experience of five thousand years developing their craft. Part of my mission is to recognize that we need the humility to know with whom we’re working. If we have six million people, who are doing wonderful crafts, why should we automate their profession? We have to start believing that the creative industry generates employment, culture and variation. We are working for a handmade present and future. We always have to keep the balance; if there are existing fast fashion chains, contrast is needed.
Pilar Castaño: Carla is embracing a very interesting topic: what’s the real equilibrium. Sustainable clothing means that women aren’t pulled out off their environment, their families to work in the urban centers. The idea is that they sew surrounded by their children, who get educated by seeing them work. This is where the heritage is passed on.
EXCLAMA: Beyond the esthetics of the final result, where lies the importance in highlighting the Mexican tradition by means of fashion?
Carla Fernandez: I don’t think that it’s about highlighting. You simply like these things because they’re beautiful or poetic or because they are in the making since thousands of years and you’re learning from them. It’s like taking a yoga class and you feel the three thousand years of its development in your body. The same happens with the textiles. You see the garments and you’re completely overwhelmed, because it takes two months to create them and the designs are based on mathematics, which is nowhere but in their minds. It’s incredible, it’s a very important creative and mental development and you can see this.
Pilar Castaña: In my opinion what is most important about Carla Fernández, is that she doesn’t intervene with their work. She goes to the communities, she works with twelve states and each of them has nine ethnicities. First she learned that everything is shaped rectangular, she also learned how they cut and she didn’t intervene. As a dressmaker it’s easy to cut it. The most valuable thing about Carla’s patterns is that ultimately it’s like going back to these five thousand years. Only that this is the future of fashion. These garments last forever, because with them they sew, make love, cook, go out and harvest corn. The textiles are useful, durable, wonderful and todo terreno (like we say as Colombians). There are animals who change their fur five times in their entire life. We change our fur every day. Which planet endures this? Which system endures this?
Read the whole interview (only in spanish) on Revista Exclama, here.