Chris Lavish
Chris Lavishhttp://www.chrislavish.com
Never Under The Influence. Always Influencing.© Monsieur Lavish resides in downtown Manhattan, blogging vegan food, street style, and designing clothes for personal use.

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Mérida: Designer Conversations

We sat down with some designers from Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Mérida to discuss their brands and how they started. Although each has a unique voice in fashion and different upbringings, they still united as one under the Fashion Week umbrella.

Knowing that different talent can come from different places yet still end up on the same stage to showcase their designs to the world is the beautiful thing about fashion week. It’s the unity of creativity and dedication that allows these events to happen all around the world.

Mercedes Benz Merida

ALEXIA ULIBARRI

Q: How did the idea of Alexia Ulibarri as a brand come about?

After studying fashion design and pattern cutting at London College of Fashion and Marangoni Alexia returns to Mexico, in order to develop her own label ALEXIA ULIBARRI. She showcased her first collection FW09 “Dark Romance” in Mexico City and has gone on to showcase her collections in Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Mexico every season since. It was a childhood dream to be a designer and always expressed emotions through the textile experimental process. “At 15 I got my first sewing machine, never left it since” – AU

Q: What are the key components of the brand and concept creation?

By fusing her personal experiences, stories and work experience during her time in London; she developed a customized and experimental process that has resulted in a concept and design formula in which she finds herself and her collections.

The essence of the brand lies in the delicate strength of women. Her style combines past and present and she experiments with materials, textures, cuts and prints to create a contemporary look for today’s women. ALEXIA ULIBARRI is nostalgic, dramatic and romantic. Each piece is unique and seeks to offer different personalities and body types a variety of options via special details that make them stand out. Her concept is materialized and brought to life, only when the garment reaches its final destination… on the female body.

Q: How does your brand differentiate from other RTW brands?

Detail, craftsmanship developed in her own atelier based in Mexico City after 10 years of experimental pattern cutting and technical processes made signature procedures that ensemble couture pieces mixed with basics to create RTW looks with a high fashion vision but a contemporary easy wear feel.

Q: How does Alexia Ulibarri plan to showcase its difference in the west?

By maintaining the brand essence and foreseeing the new wave of trends with a futuristic yet sustainable aim.

Q: Where do you see the brand 5 Years from now?

We are planning to open up boutiques in the USA in the next year and continue with the brand´s international expansion.

Q: Do you plan on bringing the brand into the metaverse or to metaverse fashion Week?

Fashion week has always been the platform that makes us a part of the metaverse as the brand evolves to be part of it as a whole. It could never happen without showcasing every season in FASHION WEEK that brings us together with the digital audience.

Q: Where have you seen bigger growth since the pandemic on your line?

There has been so much reality – check, we had to struggle as a small business to adapt to the digital world in 6 months, develop new lines of consumer need based products like athleisure to survive the lockdown months, to not have any retail experience or clients interested in going out cloths and adapt to this. This made us strongly aware of the present moment and opportunity based trends, as a brand we have to adapt to the fast changing world of fashion so in a way we had thick skin to adapt to post pandemic growth.

Q: Do you plan on bringing a streetwear/ avant-garde collection that more people would wear on a daily basis?

Alexia Ulibarri is very street wear in a way, all the basics come from victorian pattern cutting and are fused with trends and the inspiration of the collection in every season, this is designed to fit day to day wear but combined with more artistic pieces in styling for the show and also print and embroidery designed specially for each collection make the basics unique and new every season but still extremely wearable.

Q: Any future collaborations or projects you would like the audience to know About?

For this collection titled VIENA SS23 we are collaborating with Levis and we are doing various pop up sales in the USA. We are also doing new collars with DISNEY with we are really excited about.

There is also a new showroom collaboration in LA happening this year and we just had the opening of our flagship store at PRADO NORTE 531 Mexico City.

ABEL LÓPEZ

Q: How did the idea of Abel López as a brand come about?

Since I was a child I felt I had the purpose of making a contribution to Mexican design. After working for more than 10 years in the fashion industry, I finally had the bravery to create and start the brand that bears my name.

Abel López (the brand) is a reflection of what I have learned in my life; my roots, studies and all the experiences I have lived. It is a space where I can create and give back to my country.

Q: What are the key components of the brand and concept creation?

I see architecture as a pillar and women’s femininity as my muse and inspiration. Also, I have always searched to accentuate waists, within the harmony of the body.

Q: How does your brand differentiate from other RTW brands?

I believe the brand has been identified over the years for displaying elegant silhouettes, with a feminine and sophisticated design; always using defined strokes and lines that reflect the sobriety of an architectural piece.

Q: How does Abel López plan to showcase its difference in the west?

Assuming that you mean the USA, it would be ideal to plan some trunk shows in Miami and San Diego, within the latin latino communities that seek to support Latin American talent. As well as placing our collections in key showrooms, probably in NY and LA, that will connect us to interested stores.

Q: Where do you see the brand 5 Years from now?

I dream of taking the brand to strategic corners of the world, so that fashion lovers could get a taste of Mexican Design.

Q: Do you plan on bringing the brand into the metaverse or to metaverse fashion Week?

I confess it is an idea that we are studying, a whole world that we are just beginning to understand, but without doubt we would like to be ahead of the latest trends and platforms, so that we can reach every generation and consumer.

Q: Where have you seen bigger growth since the pandemic on your line?

The pandemic made our e-commerce grow, as many other industries experienced. Our customers were not 100% convinced of buying online, because they preferred to see, touch and try on the product.

The quarantine left them with no other option than to take a loop and buy online. This made us work on our website and online experience, to improve day by day the consumer journey.

Q: Do you plan on bringing a streetwear/ avant-garde collection that more people would wear on a daily basis?

Currently my collections present a diversity of pieces that can go from a haute-couture dress to a pair of jeans. So yes, nowadays I design pieces that women can wear on a daily basis.

Q: Any future collaborations or projects you would like the audience to know About?

For many years I have had the idea of designing accessories. I need to do further research and study this sector, but I would love to announce a small collection very soon.

FRANCISCO CANCINO

Q: How did the idea of Francisco Cancino as a brand come about?

My brand emerged as a process that I discovered since my childhood because I always wanted to be a fashion designer. At first I wanted to travel abroad to do fashion, especially Haute Couture, which was what I liked the most, but since I was born in Chiapas, at the south of the country, I have always had a very near connection with the traditional Mexican textile that marked my life, and over the time my project began to take shape based on the story of my life and the idea of sharing the story of my country (Mexico) through my clothes and the brand that I run today.

Q: What are the key components of the brand and concept creation?

The key components of my brand have been the textile experimentation through traditional Mexican textiles and also the traditional indigenous pattern making, as a reference to minimalism and maximalism. In addition to the idea of creating garments that address the history of my country as a reference for being able to build silhouettes and collections that not just express the past and the current moment we live in Mexico, but also that provides a look towards the future. I usually work mostly with organic materials doing technical experimentation processes like the development of pleated constructions, pattern experimentation and seams finishes that take place in our workshop, and that have been strengthened thanks to the experience of working with indigenous communities and our daily intention of talking about Mexico in every collection we make.

Q: How does your brand differentiate from other RTW brands?

I think that what makes Francisco Cansino different from other brands is our constant effort for creating an interdisciplinary and collaborative space, besides that we are a relatively small brand.

In addition to this, I truly believe that my brand is genuinely different because we really want to address our local culture to create compositions and silhouettes that come from a place that for us is common but for the rest of the world it is new; these compositions are always seeking to become a form of resistant communication about who we are and where we come from.

Q: How does Francisco Cancino plan to showcase its difference in the west?

As I said before, the difference that can exist with the west relies on the presence of our Mexican culture that is present in each of our creations, I also think it has to do with the search for small gestures from construction, pattern making and material selection that bring us closer to a product that I consider more genuine; even though in our creative process I have found many things that attach me to a more global world. For example I have found coincidences in the color or silhouettes choices we made and the global trends, that I think has to do with the fast pace of the world we live in today and that demarcates a multicultural garment creation system.

Q: Where do you see the brand 5 Years from now?

In five years I want to continue enjoying my work, and I also want to continue being creatively independent. That’s what matters to me the most. The rest comes later.

Q: Do you plan on bringing the brand into the metaverse or to metaverse fashion Week?

At the moment I don’t have any plans for the metaverse.

Q: Where have you seen a bigger growth since the pandemic on your line?

For start my biggest challenge has been staying afloat. As well as being able to learn from this crisis and using it as an opportunity to reflect on the future of the industry, in relation to how we create clothes, and the type of fashion entrepreneur I want to become.

My best opportunity has been the personal growth I have gained around my profession.

Q: Do you plan on bringing a streetwear/ avant-garde collection that more people would wear on a daily basis?

I consider that my garments can be wear in a daily basis, as many times as possible, but I do have the desire to create a more landed ready-to-wear line and also a prêt-à-couture line in the future.

Q: Any future collaborations or projects you would like the audience to know About?

This season I did amazing collaborations with wonderful artists, like Angel Amor from Spain, Mariana Magdaleno from Mexico, and also with the Mexican artists David y Pablo, creators of “Máscaras de Alambre”.

VERO DÍAZ

Q: How did the idea of Vero Diaz as a brand come about?

The idea of Vero Diaz came from my love of fashion and the need to express myself through it, I started my brand 15 years ago and if I wasn’t a designer I wouldn’t know what I would be doing. My ready to wear line has always been my pride and joy, but in 2019 I discovered a new passion; doing bridal dresses. Vero Diaz Bridal my full bridal collection came to life and I’m very grateful that it has had the success it has. Now for my future I have plans of expanding my business and launching other products, so stay tuned.

Q: What are the key components of the brand and concept creation?

The DNA of the brand involves a woman who’s romantic, feminine, elegant, always on trend. Our inspiration and concept creation usually comes from the love for Yucatán, my culture, my roots and always integrating hand made craft into the collections.

Q: How does your brand differentiate from other RTW brands?

I have always designed clothes to flatter the woman’s body, and the most important thing for me is that the clothes that we make are wearable; clothes that you can use everyday or for a special occasion but always on trend. Also we implement hand embroidery in some of our pieces, using the technique in a fashionable way.

Q: How does Vero Diaz plan to showcase its difference in the west?

Presenting a collection with our DNA always trying to reinvent ourselves, I think it will be very interesting!

Q: Where do you see the brand 5 Years from now?

I see my brand internationally amplified, with presence in platforms around the world, runways and department stores. I see a bright future for Vero Diaz and Vero Diaz Bridal.

Q: Do you plan on bringing the brand into the metaverse or to metaverse fashion Week?

Sure, why not? It’s important to be at forefront of technology and fashion.

Q: Where have you seen a bigger growth since the pandemic on your line?

Definitely Bridal, during the pandemic all the ready to wear sells were low, but weddings didn’t stop, love was something that kept people going during uncertain times and that’s where I found my holy grail.

Q: Do you plan on bringing a streetwear/ avant-garde collection that more people would wear it on a daily basis?

In all my collections I try to include a few pieces with this kind of style, so people can wear Vero Diaz everywhere they go.

Q: Any future collaborations or projects you would like the audience to know about?

Sure! I can’t say a lot now, but we are working on a project that includes the whole family, other collaborations, products, shoes, and more!

ZURCE

Creative Director: Daniel Herranz

Q: How did the idea of ZURCE as a brand come about?

Zurce is a project born during the pandemic. I am fortunate that my mother is a master craftsman. She has the weaving technique and that is how we began to make some pieces. Later those pieces became our first collection. The aim of the project is to create garments that translate knitting techniques in a contemporary way. Each piece adapts to the body. It has now gone from being a pandemic project to a company that has grown fast. For this Fashion Week we are launching our largest collection, with more edgy looks and also pieces made for the male body size, although all of Zurce’s pieces are genderless.

Q: What are the key components of the brand and concept creation?

The heart of the brand is handmade knitwear. We work with a group of artisans in the state of Mexico. It is very nice to have this great team because almost all of these women are mothers who now earn money with work that they can do from home. Despite the fact that the concept of the brand comes from a craft tradition, Zurce has a contemporary vision. We make pieces for an audience that is aware of trends, that is more forward and that also seeks pieces made especially for them. Now we are incorporating pieces such as blazers, shirts and pants that are the counterweight to knitwear. They are classics with modifications that make them different. We want it to be a global brand with options for almost everyone.

Q: How does your brand differentiate from other RTW brands?

I think the difference is evident due to the type of technique and materials we use. It’s very difficult to develop new pieces, so I think our process of creating is the main difference. Besides that, Zurce is a collaborative brand. We have the great fortune of having the support of designer friends, photographers, models, influencers… We have worked with all of them in a very cool way to generate the brand’s identity. Zurce’s philosophy also has to do with the way you dispose of your clothes. For us, environmental responsibility is key. So when you feel that a piece has completed its life cycle in your closet, you can bring it back and we can transform that piece into something totally different and new with the same materials.

Q: How does ZURCE plan to showcase its difference in the west?

We believe that the brand has to develop by areas. We are working to develop a much larger men’s line. We want to have a 50-50 between men’s and women’s clothing. This runway is the first step. The difference will always be in the type of garments and the experience that Zurce offers. So that we can offer to anyone.

Q: Where do you see the brand 5 Years from now?

The business plan is to take the brand to other countries; much of our current customers are foreigners who do not live in Mexico. We want to reach big cities like London, for example.

Q: Do you plan on bringing the brand into the metaverse or to metaverse fashion Week?

Not yet. We come from two years in which the world turned to digital experiences. At Zurce we want to offer a different shopping experience where you can enjoy the interaction we have in real life.

Q: Where have you seen bigger growth since the pandemic on your line?

We discovered two interesting niches: one is the plus sizes market. Many of our clients really enjoy that we develop pieces for them specifically. One advantage of our costume made service is that we can have a great approach to those clients. We have adapted many runway pieces to this audience. We are also very close to the LGBT+ public who seek to integrate different pieces, less traditional than what they find in stores. For them we have developed everything from swimsuits to dresses.

Q: Do you plan on bringing a streetwear/ avant-garde collection that more people would wear on a daily basis?

This is Zurce’s point. We create pieces for people to wear, not hang in the closet waiting for a special occasion. We want people to wear their clothes. We work every day on it.

Q: Any future collaborations or projects you would like the audience to know About?

We are working with the Sarelly Sarelly team, a Mexican accessories brand created by Anna Sarelly, a very good friend. We have several projects together, not only to develop products, but also a pop up store with both brands. The first edition will happen in December of this year.

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With love,

FWO

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