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The Fashion Design Reference & Specification Book by Laura Volpintesta, Jay Calderin

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Job:02-30034 Title:RP-Fashion Design Ref and Spec Book
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14 0 THE FASHION DESIGN REFERENCE + SPECIFICATION BOOK
(Text)
Where do you start with the design process when developing a new collection? And
why that first?
I have a mobile fashion laboratory called Taller Flora that travels throughout Mexico,
visiting indigenous communities and the cooperatives where female artisans create
handmade textiles. In these visits, we start the design process by researching a
weaving technique or a silhouette traditional to that ethnic group, and then we devel-
op a new collection. Our unique pedagogy allows workshop participants to communi-
cate through design even in those places where only indigenous dialects are spoken.
How important is the history of fashion to your creative process?
I first studied the history of art to understand the potential of the creative process:
The better you know the creative moments in history and their relationship with eco-
nomics, anthropology, society, and everything around it, the more dimension, the
greater richness, you bring to the potential of clothing in all these scenes. Fashion
is a very accelerated process and to prevent repeating yourself, it helps a lot to be
interested in everything, from history to futurology.
Particularly, I am in love with Mexican history. I live in a country with forty-six dif-
ferent ethnic groups subdivided into hundreds more, plus the urban tribes and the
ethnic mixes. Most indigenous women continue to wear traditional garments, and
I cannot believe my eyes when I see the wonderful, daring color combinations, the
textures and imaginative embroideries of the highest quality. All this creativeness
comes from who we were as a people, what we have become, and how we want to
be seen in the future.
In your work you balance contemporary design with the preservation of ancient tech-
niques. How does that influence your brand and in what ways does it allow you to
connect with your customer?
For a long time, I have been researching, collecting, and cataloguing traditional
garment designs that were at risk of extinction. I have used them to prove that,
contrary to the kitsch stereotype that Mexico itself exports, ancient patterning is an
incredibly elaborate system: Based on the geometry of squares and rectangles only,
pieces of cloth are pleated, folded, and seamed (rather than cut) to construct a vast
array of garments. This system of dressmaking has been the source of inspiration
for my label. Our design method is rooted in these techniques, but also applied to
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PERSPECTIVES: CARLA FERNÁNDEZ
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