When I was growing up in El Paso, Texas, Cinco de Mayo was a reason to celebrate our Mexican traditions with friends. Later when I moved to New York, it was a reason to leave work early for happy hour and consume lots of margaritas, chips, and salsa. It wasn’t until I started dating my now-husband that I found out that Cinco de Mayo is not celebrated in Mexico at all, unlike the big deal that’s made in the United States. Cinco de Mayo commemorates Mexico’s victory over the French in Puebla in 1862. Americans—fully entrenched in the US Civil War —threw their support behind Mexico. By the 1960’s and 1970’s Mexican-Americans began celebrating the day to bring attention to Mexican culture on Cinco de Mayo and the tradition has continued. Our real independence day is on September 16th, but celebrating that day in the United States has never really taken off.
In celebration of Mexico in the United States we have highlighted 21 Mexican designers (and two liquor brands) creating fun designs to wear and to decorate our homes with. Regardless of how good your cooking skills are, everyone can find a great salsa to enjoy with chips and a little bit of tequila or the new favorite, mezcal.
I met Cristina Lynch a few years ago through my former colleague, Sarah Zendejas. She is a Mexican/American designer based in Dallas that started Mi Golondrina a few years ago and works with Mexican artisans in Oaxaca to hand embroider cotton dresses, blouses and skirts inspired by local art.
She also makes gorgeous gingham dresses for little girls with hand embroidered flowers.
Sara Beltran is a Mexican designer behind the jewelry line Dezso. While spending her summers traveling to different beaches across Mexico, she created a line to celebrate the beauty of those beaches, using beautiful shells and stones.
Sandra Weil is one of my favorite Mexico City-based designers. She combines romantic design and masculine silhouettes. Her use of color and print are a great combination.
Victor Barragan is one of the most interesting Mexican designers of his generation. He is based in New York and has created a cult label inspired by pop culture, music and the diversity in the streets of Mexico City when he was growing up.
Concha Orvañanos started her line Concepción Collectiva last year after designing a line of childrenswear for over 10 years. The idea behind the line is to work with local artisans around Mexico and create a sustainable, slow fashion line that empowers the women who work with her.
Lorena Saravia is one of Mexico’s best known designers. She recently designed a Mexico t-shirt and will donate 100% of the proceeds to the fight against COVID-19.
Jonathan Cohen grew up in San Diego but frequently visited Mexico City a few times a year to see his extended family. You can see the inspired color palette in his designs.
Caralarga is a Mexican brand that creates textiles with raw materials for home decoration and personal accessories. They create lovely statement necklaces with raw cotton threads that are eco-friendly.
Caravana is a Mexican brand created in the beaches of Tulum by Jacopo Jianello. Caravana designed chic clothing in cotton gauze that are perfect to enjoy at home.
Daniela Villegas is a Mexican jewelry designer who lives in Los Angeles. She is inspired by nature and its stones. Many of her designs are named after Mexican animals that were worshipped by Aztec gods.
Carlos Arquiste is a Mexico City-born historian who later studied fragrance development and set up his New York City based perfume atelier Arquiste. He designs the most exquisite scents and a line of home candles inspired by the scents of Mexico. His candle Mexican Baroque is inspired by the kitchen of the Jesus Maria Convent in Mexico City.
Whenever I think of the beauty of Mexican women, I always think of a bold red lip. Reina Rebelde is a beauty line started by Regina Merson, a Mexican-American woman living in San Antonio who saw a void in the beauty industry that targeted the needs of Latin Women. I love her chunky lip crayons.
Mariana Barran Goodall is an entrepreneur from Monterrey, Mexico who now lives in Houston. As a young girl in school she learned to crochet and embroider on linens, blankets, and her clothing. She set up a business a few years ago and gives lessons once a week on how to embroider anything from a cocktail napkin to a man’s handkerchief.
Maggie Galton and Maria Eladia Hagerman work with artisans around Mexico to produce some of the most beautiful items for the home with modern Mexican techniques. Their store is a must visit shop in the Polanco area. No table top is complete without a piece from their store.
Being married to a Mexican I have learned 2 things: salsa is not easy to make and no two salsas are alike. I was recently introduced to these salsas that are made by an American who adores Mexico and spends half the year visiting in order to perfect her salsa. The packaging is beautiful as well.
Hand painted shot glasses for your tequila of choice are perfect for a Cinco de Mayo celebration at home.
I absolutely adore visiting Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera’s studio in the San Angel neighborhood of Mexico City. Since the studio is currently closed to all visitors, I have a beautiful reminder at home of its color and architecture by photographer Robert Malmberg.
These are the perfect pink plates to serve a wonderful Mexican meal like spicy fish tacos or a plate of mole. Enchufarte curates the best brands in Mexico and ships to the United States.
Puebla is a region well known for its beautiful talavera pottery and tile. I love these platters where you can serve vegetables or chips to mix with guacamole and salsa.
A beautiful, colorful visual book that documents Mexican culture, from Yalitza Aparicio to the beautiful haciendas of Mexico. This is a great coffee table book to enjoy.
My favorite tequila by far is Casa Dragones, it’s very smooth and not bitter, perfect with a splash of lime and sparkling water. The packaging is gorgeous and bottles can be customized for one of a kind gifts.
Doña Vega Mezcal was recently created by Sonya Vega, a Mexican/American entrepreneur who enjoyed mezcal but couldn’t find the perfect one. She set out to make her own and travels to the mountains of Oaxaca to create it.