Photo: French Fashion House Hermes Launches Collection Inspired by Otomi Natives
French Fashion House Hermés has released a collection of scarves and handkerchiefs featuring colorful embroidered designs produced by a community of Mexican Otomi natives.
The collection will make available worldwide fashion featuring the traditional “Tenango,”—vibrant embroidered figurines made by the residents of San Pablo el Grande and inspired by the pre-columbine Otomi culture, a community known for its strong beliefs in co-existing in harmony with the natural environment.
The designs are inspired by the plants and animals of the Otomi lands, as well as the rituals performed to be in harmony with the land, such as the harvest, planting and rain ceremonies.
In 2008, French fashion giant Hermés manifested their intentions of working with “the best artisans in Mexico,” a quest that lead them to San Pablo el Grande, a community no larger than a thousand people deep in the Mexican state of Hidalgo, located in the center of the nation.
The couture house contacted the Museum of Popular Art, who in turn put them in contact with Vicente Ezequiel, the only living artisan who is still familiar with the technique for Tenango embroidery, and Elia Tolentino, an expert embroiderer, who happily agreed to work with Hermés, knowing their whole community would benefit from the collaboration.
“Mexican artisans stand for creativity and diversity in their work, and they are now being seen in a different way not just in Mexico but around the world,” a museum official said.
The artisans said they long to “bring about improvement to the school in San Pablo el Grande and create better conditions in the community,”
The Otomi team, or “ñahñu” in the local language, traveled last Thursday to Mexico City and attended the official launch of the collection, promoting their designs internationally.
“We share an interest in preserving and passing on the savoir-faire of the hands that work them. We share an interest in preserving and passing on from generation to generation the ancestral techniques that yield products of excellence,” Hermés Mexico communications director Iveth Lagos said.