Mess Magazine is delighted to announce a new special interview with a designer who not only has a good taste for colours and textiles but who uniquely embraces ethical values which make her brand one of a kind worldwide.
Based in Guatemala City, Anita founded her label, Anita Lara in 2015. In her works, she incorporates authentic ancestral Maya textiles, allowing the customer to connect with the energy of the artisans who tell their stories to the world through handmade fabrics. The synergy that Anita Lara creates between the craftsman’s soul embodied in their textiles and that of her passion embedded in each of her “timeless” designs are the result of exceptional works of art.
Anita is also an economic development agent for Maya artisan communities, dignifying the Maya textile art and helping to preserve the ancestral culture that is a heritage of humanity. A tribute unique among others in the industry that deserves recognition! Anita talked us at the phone about the pillars of her company which include ethical fashion, social responsibility, inclusion, and preservation of culture.
D: Buenos dias Anita! ¿Que tal?, first of all, I would like to give you a warm welcome to the community of Mess, I am delighted to speak with you at the phone to discover more about Anita Lara and its unique values.
A: The pleasure is all mine and I feel honoured for being here sharing with all of you.
D: Perfecto! Would you start by unveiling the inspiration and story behind the brand of Anita Lara?
A: I consider myself very lucky to have been born in Guatemala, cradle of the Maya civilization. My passion for fashion resides in my soul and heart – the main concept behind each of my designs is to create unique, seasonless pieces of wearable art with Haute Couture finishings in order to dignify and enhance the weaving art of Maya artisans who are the real magic behind my pieces.
D: When did your passion for the art of indigenous textiles begin?A: It all began when I was 6 years old because my nanny was an indigenous Maya woman and I loved to admire her at work. Nonetheless, it was through her that I understood the cultural value and the importance of their traditions and beliefs.
D: What is behind the outstanding colours and symbolic patterns of your Maya’s designs?
A: Behind each handmade piece is a team of craftspeople whose work reifies a sense of luxury and tradition. At Anita Lara, the world is full of colour, patterns, symbols, and stories. Each textile is a work of art, woven and dyed by hand in a process that requires hundreds of hours of dedicated labour. From Guatemala to the world, all of Anita Lara designs are unique in essence, each narrating a different story through the colours, symbols, and patterns each artisan incorporated into their unique textile. Moreover, The iconography used in huipiles — geometric shapes, animals, plants, trees, and flowers — reference the Maya worldview and characteristics from their local environment. Also, it is very important to mention that Guatemala is also known as the country of Eternal Spring because of its perfect climate all year long as well as for the beautiful colours of its fauna and flora.
D: Who is behind the scenes of Anita Lara?
A: Mainly, our team are the “Magic Hands” of 101 Maya artisans from 11 different ethnics, weaving their unique stories through their textiles, one pattern maker, 3 tailors (experts in haute couture), 1 sales and administrative assistant, and myself as the creative soul. We also have external support in community management and marketing, all Guatemalans.
D: What do you see in the future of local artisanal Maya communities in Guatemala?
A: My wish is that through the globalization of my designs we can achieve a strong social impact in the Maya communities, improving their standard of living in food, health and education, while generating a very important impact in the preservation of the Maya culture.
D: How about the coming youth generations? Is the traditional Maya’s weaving culture going to be lost?
A: It is truly alarming because the Maya population is abandoning its traditional clothing and they are renouncing to their roots and traditions, taking advantage of the cheapness of fast and western fashion that is affecting the planet in so many ways. Also, the new generation is not learning the ancestral weaving art.
D: What do you think it might be a solution to preserve the traditions of Maya’s artisanal communities?
A: I can help preserve this “treasures”, this “Ancestral Culture of Centuries”, this “beautiful textiles”, through my passion and love by designing unique pieces with unique textiles in the world, paying attention to every detail in order to dignify and enhance the “Maya artisans spectacular art”, so deserving of worldwide recognition!! And this is why I am determined to continue the path I started by embracing every opportunity to spread my word in channels like MESS Magazine, to speak to the masses about the beautiful country of Guatemala and its treasures, so that they may get curious enough to follow up and know more about the Maya Culture.
D: What is the main goal for Anita Lara in the next five years?
A: Anita Lara must conquer the global market and thereby be able to provide more work to the Maya artisan’s communities to strongly impact their economy. All by incorporating authentic Maya textiles in all of my creations, and putting my heart and soul in every piece I create, by paying attention to every detail in order to dignify the beauty and uniqueness of Maya textiles.
D: What can our readers do to support and get more informed about issues related to the loss of Maya culture and manufacture?
A: I invite everyone to visit our website www.AnitaLara.com and follow us at @anitalara.gt for Instagram and FB. You all could spread the word that Anita Lara supports the Maya artisan’s communities by creating unique garments in the world, incorporating in all her designs the ancient Maya textiles, ranked among the most beautiful, their embroidery identifies the origin and traditions of the 22 ethnic groups that inhabit Guatemala. United, we can save this ancestral weaving technique at risk of disappearance.
D: In conclusion, what is your unique selling point which dresses your customers?
A: Behind each ethical, sustainable and handmade piece is a team of craftspeople whose work reifies a sense of luxury and tradition. Customers who wear Anita Lara are born leaders who are passionate about social and environmental causes. They don’t shy away from making a statement and they feel comfortable wearing eye-catching and bold fashion designs.
D: Thank you very much Anita for your words. We are looking forward to catching up again with you this Saturday on What a Mess!
A: It was my pleasure Daniel, I am very excited to share more about Anita Lara on What A Mess. See you very soon!