Fierce

The Swoosh Gets The Latino Treatment: Nike Launches Limited-Edition ‘Día De Muertos’ Collection Complete With Calaveras And Papel Picado Designs

Forget Halloween. Each year more and more brands are tapping into the Mexican celebration of the dead, Día de Los Muertos, to target Latinos with their calavera-inspired designs. The Mexican holiday surrounds death, but it’s a time to celebrate life with loved ones, and each year it’s gaining more and more traction in the U.S. 

Celebrated in the U.S. from Oct. 31 to Nov. 2, the holiday tradition calls for the creation of altars to deceased loved ones, decorated with photos, meaningful objects, and their favorite foods said to attract their souls. Petals of bright yellow-orange cempasúchil flowers are used to guide them from the cemetery, according to tradition. This year Nike took up the opportunity to celebrate, with a brand new collection dropping later this month, inspired by “traditional Mexican skeleton graphics.” This isn’t the first time the brand celebrates the Mexican holiday though, a few years back the Swoosh brand released another pair of Cortez’s to pay tribute to the dead on Día de Muertos. 

This latest ‘Día de Muertos’ collection is scheduled to release on Nike.com and at select Nike retailers on Oct. 30.

credit Twitter @Solecollector

This latest assortment will include the Air Force 1 Low, the Cortez, and the Air Max 95 which are all getting dressed up for the occasion. Each pair will reference the holiday ever-so-slightly with traditional Mexican skeleton graphics featured throughout the design on the upper parts of the shoe as well as on the insoles.  

The Cortez turns black and orange for Day of The Dead 

Credit Twitter @sneaker_arian

The Cortez, is a Nike style Mexican-Americans love to wear, and the sports company picked the iconic design to be part of the Day of the Dead collection. It’s not the first time the Swoosh gets the Mexican-inspired treatment though. As we mentioned earlier, back in 2015 a ‘Day of The Dead’ Nike Cortez was released in honor of the holiday, and the design was a lot more thematic than this year’s minimalist iteration.

Featuring a ‘papel picado’-inspired design on the inside, the stitching of the iconic Swoosh on the upper side of the shoe as well as on the soles, turns bright orange, reminiscent of cempasúchil and candle-lit ofrendas. The shoe is dressed in a nylon and suede floral print and has distinct embroidery on the heel.

The Day of The Dead Air Force 1s Glow in The Dark With Papel Picado-Inspired designs.

credit Twitter @unrtd

The iconic performance shoes were re-imagined to celebrate the Mexican holiday in the most subtle way. The classic silhouette has an all-white upper body, contrasted by piping in yellow, green, blue, pink and black, and also sports a black heel tab and stitching across the midsole. The best part though is that once the shoe’s in the dark, it reveals a glow-in-the-dark skull papel picado-inspired pattern that is fully reflective throughout the entire upper. It’s to die for!

The Nike Air Max 95 was reimagined for the occasion in muted colors and subtle touches of huichol-style graphics.

credit Twitter @RyoRyo719

Joining the AF1s and the Cortez, the Nike Air Max 95 will also be a part of the 2019 Day of The Dead Collection. The festive colorway of the Air Max 95 takes on a white mesh upper with the signature layered side panels taking on a textured/crackled leather appearance. The leather side panels are emblazoned with muted ‘Huichol’ or papel picado-inspired graphics to go along with the Mexican theme. The limited-edition shoe also features black leather mudguards, black Swoosh branding, speckled laces, and a black midsole that adds to the look, along with teal detailing on the skull graphic insoles, papel picado-style tongue branding, and translucent outsole.

There are 57 million Hispanics in the U.S. only, and they represent 18% of the country’s spending power— no wonder brands like Nike want to tap into Latino traditions.

credit Twitter @thesolesupplier

Over the past few years, companies and retailers have made it easier to get into the spirit of the holiday, offering themed apparel, home decor and containers in which to tote goodies. With 57 million Hispanics in the U.S. alone, this demographic represents almost 18 percent of the country’s population and significant spending power, according to Nielsen. In fact, the data analytics company expects its buying power to grow from $1.4 trillion in 2016 to $1.8 trillion by 2021. And that dollar strength isn’t lost on retailers.

‘Dia De Los Muertos’ celebrations run from  November 1st through November 2, and the Nike Air Force 1 will drop at retailers like Sneakersnstuff and nike.com on October 15. Priced at $100 USD, the festive sneakers are the ultimate day-to-day shoe to add to your rotation. The rest of this latest Nike Día de Muertos collection is scheduled to release on Nike.com and at select Nike retailers on Oct. 30.

Mexico City’s Annual Día De Muertos Night Bike Ride Broke Records And It Looked Incredible

Culture

Mexico City’s Annual Día De Muertos Night Bike Ride Broke Records And It Looked Incredible

Omgitsjustintime / Instagram

Dia de Muertos may have officially happened over a week ago (it takes place from November 1-2), however, that isn’t stopping Mexicans from celebrating.

Sure, Mexico City had its massive Desfile de Día de Muertos last weekend and the incredible Mega Procesión de Las Catrinas on the weekend before but this weekend the celebrations continued. And this time, it took place in the form of a massive nighttime bike ride through the city’s most busy boulevards.

Mexico City’s Dia de Muertos night bike ride broke records with nearly 150,000 people coming out to celebrate.

A record 147,500 people took part in the annual Day of the Dead night bike right held Saturday in Mexico City, according to the city’s transportation secretary.

Riders showed up in elaborate costumes and disguises and completed an 18-kilometer route (about 11 miles) along the city’s famed Paseo de la Reforma. The route took the riders through some of the city’s most popular districts and along some of its most popular monuments. The ride then ended in the historic center of the capital city.

A costume contest at the Angel of Independence monument, live music at different locations and the screening of short films promoting the use of sustainable transportation at Plaza Tlaxcoaque complemented the bicycle outing.

Families and even their pets participated in the 11-mile ride.

Mexico City Transportation Secretary Andrés Lajous, who participated in the ride, told the newspaper El Sol de México that one of the most gratifying aspects of the event was to see young children enjoying their city at night. Many families took part including some that took their pets along for the ride, which took place between 9:00 and 11:00pm.

As violence continues to rack Mexico, events like this show highlight the positive events and moments in a country battling rampant drug violence. For many, the event offered a sense of pride as they were able to enjoy their city by night.

The night bike ride was just the latest in a series of major events in the city to celebrate Dia de Muertos.

For many, Día de Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is synonymous with sugar skulls and elaborate ‘Catrina’ face painting. In reality, it’s a two-day festivity that lights up Mexico with colors, flowers, candles and a seemingly omnipresent joy.

Every year, on November 1st and 2nd, Mexicans take part in the adored demonstration of love and respect for their deceased relatives. And though the country’s capital is full of cemeteries to celebrate, plazas decorated in beautiful ‘ofrendas’ and lots of ‘pan de muerto’ weeks before the celebration, there’s one special day in CDMX when visitors will get to see a huge group of beautifully decorated Catrinas walk down the street in a parade celebrating life and death.

This year marked the 6th year that the parade took place. And more than 150 thousand people participated despite cool and rainy weather. Plus, there were nearly 200 professional makeup artists getting everyone looking like the famous ‘Calavera Catrina.’

However, not everyone was able to enjoy their night as some complained of police brutality.

While the vast majority of participants had an enjoyable and safe night, one young woman said that she and other cyclists were attacked by at least 20 police officers late on Saturday.

Twitter user @malitriushka said that after Reforma avenue reopened to traffic at about 11:00pm, the safety of cyclists riding on the road was threatened by an aggressively-driven Metrobús.

The woman said that she and other cyclists approached police to ask for assistance but were beaten and accused of theft. “As a cyclist, as a woman, I saw the situation and decided to help. Now I have fractures and am accused of theft,” she wrote on Twitter. “They beat me and with false testimony they say I stole a hat,” the woman said in another post.

She also said that her boyfriend and three other people were detained by police and that their cell phones, which had recorded the incident, were confiscated.

As ‘Coco’ Hits The Hollywood Bowl So Does The Work Of Chicana Altarista, Ofelia Esparza

Culture

As ‘Coco’ Hits The Hollywood Bowl So Does The Work Of Chicana Altarista, Ofelia Esparza

Javier Rojas / mitú

This weekend is sure to be a special time at the Hollywood Bowl as Disney and Pixar’s Coco will be screening a live-to-film concert experience like no other. Stars like Miguel, Eva Longoria, and Benjamin Bratt made appearances at both screenings and the iconic film was accompanied by a full, live orchestra.

However, there was one other star making her presence felt this weekend. While she might not be taking the stage or even be known to some, she is a legend in the world of Día De Los Muertos. Meet Ofelia Esparza, who for the last 40 years she has been behind hundreds of ofrendas, or alters, honoring loved ones who have past.

Her work has been featured in some of most famous museums including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Japanese American National Museum, the National Museum of Mexican Art, internationally at the first Day of the Dead exhibit in Glasgow, Scotland. Just last week, Esparza and her daughter, Rosanna Esparza Ahrens, had an exhibit at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington D.C.

This weekend, Esparza and Ahrens showcased a three-level ofrenda right outside of the Hollywood Bowl venue. The ofrenda greeted guests attending the showings of “Coco.”

Credit: Javier Rojas

Esparza, 86, who was born and still lives in East L.A, has devoted most of her life to creating alters. She learned many of her craft skills from her mother in Mexico and in return has passed on these traditions to her nine children. For Esparza, alter making is more than just a form of expression but an obligation that has made its way through multiple generations to honor loved ones who are now gone.

While Esparza has never met her great-great-grandmother, she knows of her through years of alter-making. Without this craft being passed down through multiple generations, she says she might have never known much about her and credits this tradition for intimately connecting her.

“My mother passed this on to me at a very young age and it always stuck with me that I have to carry on these traditions because if we don’t then who will,” Esparza said.

Using an array of photos, candles and vibrant carnations, Esparza’s alters stand out for their use of giant multilevel structures. The alters range from personal, political and even spiritual. Her work has garnered her many awards including just last year when she was recognized by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) as a 2018 National Heritage Fellow.

“I’m touched that people look at my work and want to learn more about this. It goes beyond just Día De Los Muertos but celebrating and honoring those who have past,” Esparza said. “To me that’s the biggest honor, being able to teach people about what alter making is really about.”

Esparza has followed through with many of the traditions her mother taught her at a young age and continues to pass this on. In her 40s, she became a school teacher where she included Mexican culture into her curriculum, including Dia de Los Muertos celebrations. This has included speaking at schools, museums, community centers, prisons, and parks throughout LA county and across the country.

Her expertise and passion for alters led Esparza to be a cultural consultant for “Coco.” Many of the scenes, including the famous flower bridge, were ideas that came from her.

Credit: Javier Rojas

Esparza was approached by Disney and Pixar to be a cultural consultant for the Oscar-winning film. She says that many details and scenes seen throughout the movie came from some of her feedback including the famous marigold bridge scene where ancestors cross over into the land of the living on the Day of the Dead.

“I gave them a lot of feedback on certain things including what the bridge that connects the two worlds of the living and the dead represents,” Esparza said. “It was incredible to see that come to life and for people to resonate with that message of crossing over into two worlds.”

When asked about the popularity of the film and what it means for new generations to learn about Día de Los Muertos, she says it makes her happy and only asks of one thing.

“I want people to know that Día de Los Muertos is more than just putting on some skull paint but a true honoring of those who are no longer with us.”

READ: Farmworkers Are Putting Their Lives At Risk As They Continue To Work The Fields Despite Raging Wildfires