In the vernacular of Mexico City, “no manches” has the meaning of “don’t go too far.”
Miguel Angel Cambray, 32, one of the partners of No Manches Clothing Co., told Efe that the idea of patenting the phrase as a brand name in this country emerged five years ago among childhood pals and fellow students at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Dedicated to the design and illustration of T-shirts and sweatshirts, “when we gave away our first clothes items we saw that people’s reaction was ‘no manches,’ and it was then we researched to see whether any company already had that name,” his partner Jesus Iñiguez said in an interview.
“Thank God there wasn’t, and that’s how we put the name ‘No Manches’ on our creations,” he said.
Born in Chicago to Mexican immigrant parents, Miguel Angel studied education, and before making a name in the fashion world spent 10 years involved in community activism.
Jesus, 31, grew up in Chicago’s meat-packing district.
Rounding out the group are Hector Antonio, brother of Miguel Angel, and the Cambrays’ cousin Jorge Antonio Perez.
One of the top-selling T-shirts features the face of Mexican painter Frida Kahlo, “something you won’t find anywhere else and which makes us different - we belong to our people,” Miguel Angel said.
Other designs show pictures of the comedian Cantinflas and of Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata.
“What we want is to put Latino culture on the shirts, no more Mexican than Puerto Rican. I hope we can sell them in every country that speaks Spanish,” Hector said.
No Manches products are very popular in Chicago and among their best known customers is the White Sox baseball team, which ordered the T-shirt that reads “Hecho en Chicago” (Made in Chicago) and is illustrated with the city’s skyline.
No Manches began selling its products online, to be retailed later at a number of shops in Chicago’s Latino neighborhoods, and can currently be purchased at stores in California, New York, Texas and Oklahoma.