Culture

This Indigenous Man Had To Face Harsh Criticisms For Being A Weaver—Now He’s Presenting His Designs At NY Fashion Week

Alberto López Gómez was born into a Tzotzil family in Aldama, Chiapas — a region of Mexico marked by economic and gender inequality. In Aldama, indigenous men work in the fields while the women weave, and this has been customary since time immemorial. Alberto, however, wanted to be a weaver since he was a child and after defying his community’s social structure, his designs are taking him as far as New York Fashion Week.

For Alberto López Gómez, it was clear from childhood that he wanted to be a weaver.

In 2014, López Gómez decided to challenge traditional thinking. He was 25 and until that point had followed his culture’s expectations. He decided to change his life. The Los Altos region of Chiapas is Maya country where most people live in rural and traditional communities where the roles of men and women are strongly delineated.

He had to deal with disapproving stares and being told over and over that his place was the fields.

“A young man who is working at a loom is frowned upon. I thought things over and told my mother that I wanted to learn how to weave, and my mother said, ‘You know that men work in the fields.’” “But I answered that I had the right to learn how to weave,” he said in an interview with the German Network for Human Rights in Mexico.

Four years after he started knitting with his sisters, the Chiapas man, who had to face harsh criticisms for being a weaver, runs his own workshop.

Every day at 6:00 a.m. he got up to weave for as many as 14 hours at a time, allowing him to hone his technique. “I was hiding within four walls, working in my house,” he says. “People were whispering at my walk, but we are breaking the chain.” Later he moved to the tourist destination of San Cristóbal de las Casas where he established his own business. Here, over 130 Tzotzil artisans bring their textiles where they can get fair prices and be treated with respect.

Six years later, his talent and perseverance have paid off.

Gómez is slated to present his work and that of his community at Harvard University and New York’s prestigious Fashion Week. At the end of January, he will travel to Boston to give a talk about the cosmology found on traditional Tzotzil huipils, the square or rectangular garments common in central and southern Mexico, that are often highly decorated with woven and/or embroidered patterns. These designs are linked to the traditional beliefs and customs of a location.

He will present his own collection “K’uxul Pok” at the 2020 New York Fashion Week.

Posted by Aula Textil P'ejel on Friday, October 4, 2019

The designs of his ‘Huipiles’ (from the Nahuatl word ‘huipilli’), blouses adorned with symbols of the cosmos, family, and nature, take about five months to produce following a traditional procedure.

We’ll have to wait until Feb. 6 to see the essence of Mayan spirituality woven into a “huipil” on a catwalk.

Posted by Aula Textil P'ejel on Thursday, January 2, 2020

In the meantime, Gómez, who has nothing to stop him has set himself other challenges: to create a museum of textile designs in his native region of Aldama to showcase his work and that of his companions and to write a memoir about the difficult journey he has made, which he hopes will inspire other young men in his community to become weavers.

“As indigenous people, we don’t know about our rights,” says the Chiapas artist. “Machismo has beaten us,” he adds. Yet stories like his weave a much more egalitarian future and build bridges between tradition and modernity.

The Steelers Will Have Their International Game This Year, And They Want To Play In Mexico For Their Fans

Entertainment

The Steelers Will Have Their International Game This Year, And They Want To Play In Mexico For Their Fans

steelers / Instagram

It’s official, the Steelers will have their international game this year, but the place is not yet confirmed. Previous exhibition games were held in Montreal, Barcelona, London, and Tokyo. It’s been years since the team competed directly south of the border. And since Mexico is the home to one of largest fan bases of the Pittsburgh Steelers, they want to play their international game against the Jacksonville Jaguars south of the border

This time, the Pittsburgh Steelers are looking forward to playing in Mexico. 

The Steelers are happy to play an international game, but they have a clear preference for where that game would be. The president of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Art Rooney, said, “We continue to raise our hand and say we’re interested in playing a game in Mexico.”  

The Steelers are expected to have an international game this year like they have in previous years.

One of them is their match against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Meanwhile, it has been rumored that the Jaguars will have a game in London sometime this year.

People are already showing their excitement on social media because who doesn’t want to see the Steelers playing in Mexico.

“I need the best seat for the event of the year” tweeted one user. “I’ll sell my soul to be there,” wrote another die-hard fan. 

Mexico is home to a large portion of the Steeler Nation.

Steeler Nation, as their fans call themselves, proudly wear black and gold in Mexico. Fernando Camacho, a Mexican fan shared this saying in Spanish in an interview with ‘Behind the Steel curtain’, “Mi Corazon y mi alma son Amarillo y negro pero mi pasion y mi orgullo son de acero.” (My heart and soul are Black and Gold, but my passion and pride are made of steel.)

So naturally, the team’s first choice for an international game is to play in Mexico.

Rooney added during an interview with the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that, “They have to work out the logistics and all the pieces of the puzzle to have a game down there. Our first choice would be to play a game in Mexico if we have an international trip.” 

The Steelers have a history with Mexico that runs deep.

The Steelers played the Vikings in London in 2013, but have a longer history with Mexico. They played an exhibition game there in 2000, and have conducted clinics there in the past to try to drum up interest. They’ve also played in exhibition games in Toronto, Montreal, Barcelona, Tokyo, and Dublin. Rooney said that they prefer to have it in Mexico where they have a large number of fans. Mexico is also a neutral ground for both teams. 

READ: Alejandro Villanueva’s Jersey Is Top Seller After He Was Only Steelers Player To Stand During National Anthem

El Chapo’s Daughter Is Using His Name And Face to Launch A Beer Brand After She Launched A Fashion Line

Culture

El Chapo’s Daughter Is Using His Name And Face to Launch A Beer Brand After She Launched A Fashion Line

elchapo701 / Instagram

It seems like everybody today is trying to get in on the alcohol business. Whether it’s The Rock with a new tequila brand or Ryan Reynolds buying a gin company, it seems to be all the rage right now that even “El Chapo” is getting his own line of beers. 

Say hello to the “El Chapo 701” brand run by Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s daughter Alejandrina Guzman Salazar, who also is behind a fashion and lifestyle company built around her jailed father’s brand. The new line of beer, called El Chapo Mexican Lager, was unveiled for the first time to the public on Jan. 14 at a fashion trade show in Guadalajara, Mexico. 

“It hasn’t been released for sale to the public yet. I just brought some to display,” spokeswoman Adriana Ituarte told AFP, as the beer line is currently still waiting on government approval to sell beer in Mexico. The alcohol displayed at the trade showed brown, black and white labeled craft beer bottles with the Sinaloa cartel leader’s infamous mustache face adorned on them. 

Alejandrina Guzman Salazar’s company is banking on the idea that people will want to buy craft beer, labeled and named after her infamous father, at bars and markets in Mexico. 

Beer lovers won’t have to break the bank either when it comes to purchasing the new line of beer which comes in at 70.10 pesos, or about $3.73, for a 355 ml bottle. There is also the name of the brand, “El Chapo 701” which has an interesting meaning behind it. The “701” is a reference to El Chapo’s place on the 2009 list of the world’s richest persons from Forbes magazine (estimated at $1 billion). 

The “El Chapo” beer is expected to have a large fan base due to the notoriety of the imprisoned drug cartel leader and a growing market for collectible celebrity alcoholic beverages like these. The company is hoping that, besides just the name and branding of the beer, fans will actually enjoy the drink and keep coming back to it.

“I don’t know if we take the label off and the beer is good if it’s going to sell,’  Ituarte told the Daily Mail. “But obviously the brand gives the plus of sale, we continue with the idea that we are selling and as long as the product is good, people buy it and like it.”

Ituarte said at the trade show that the product will be sold at bars throughout Mexico that also sell stock craft beer, a market that has flourished in Mexico City in recent years due to the growth of microbreweries. The lager was produced by La Chingonería, a Mexico City-based brewery company. 

“This is an artisanal beer, with 4 percent alcohol. This prototype is a lager, and it’s made up of malt, rice, and honey so it’s good,” Ituarte told Daily Mail. “And the idea is for it to be sold at bars that stock craft beer.”

This is not the first time that “El Chapo” has seen his name being cashed in on by his family. There has been a clothing and accessories line made in tribute of Guzman.

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Salazar’s company has already cashed in on her father’s name with a line of T items such as t-shirts, belts, purses, and jackets all adorned with imagery of Guzman and the 701 logo. The brand has been quite successful in under a year of going public which shows the power of “El Chapo’s” name. 

Salazar isn’t the only one getting in on the drug lord’s name. Last March Guzmán’s wife, Emma Coronel, launched a fashion and leisurewear line, licensed by her husband. “I’m very excited to start this project, which was based on ideas and concepts that my husband and I had years ago,” Coronel told CNN in a statement at the time of the launch. “It is a project dedicated to our daughters.”

These dedicated “El Chapo” brands show the notoriety and the power of his name when it comes to marketing. If this new beer line is anything like the clothing and accessories already released under his name, there is sure to be a market for this too. 

Guzman is currently serving a life sentence at a supermax prison in Colorado after being convicted on drug trafficking and weapons charges in 2019. El Chapo was forced to forfeit $12.6 billion as part of his punishment.

READ: California Man Is Using His Culture To Create Hilarious And Super Relevant Mexican Greet Cards