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Chiapas Bazaar: Ethical Mexican Style

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By Diane Small

Since the time that Frida Kahlo lived, loved and painted in the country she adored, bursts of clashing colour, handwoven textiles and traditional papier-mache decor have all defined Mexican interiors. Once dismissed as being too ‘spicy’ for Anglo/European tastes, Mexican style is finally being recognised for its powerful beauty, and is, in fact, in high global demand–not least because in a world of mass produced manufacturing, Mexico’s artisanal traditions are more valued than ever.

Because most goods are made locally from simple materials such as cotton and paper, it’s usually easy to find ethically made, ecologically friendly decorative items for the home in Mexico. This is especially true in Chiapas, the region of the country famous for its justice-seeking Zapatistas, handmade textiles, amber mines, embroidery and organic coffee.

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But what if you love Mexican style, but live abroad?

Luckily, there is one retailer–Chiapas Bazaar–which caters to fans of Hacienda style who have no direct access to Mexico itself by delivering sustainably and ethically made interior decorations and fashions through their online shop.

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Supporting traditional artisans by allowing them to stay home and continue their age-old craft-making traditions without having to migrate to a big city to find work and make a respectable wage, the site is run by an enthusiastic young couple: Courtney, who worked on the corporate side of Marc Jacobs and LVMH before volunteering for a year with the Peace Corps, and Mauricio, a Chiapas native who returned to his roots after having worked and studied in Europe and Dubai.

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Inspired by sustainable fashion and local customs, they have selected the most colourful, elaborately embroidered textiles; rare ‘red’ amber from small, ethical mines, and expertly made papier-mache and ceramic items for their site, but state that they are constantly seeking to add to their stock–not only to offer customers more of what they crave when seeking Mexican style in the homes (or wardrobes), but also to help more artisans in Chiapas to make a living wage doing what they have done for centuries.

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The pair are now on the hunt for sustainable leather goods, soft, traditionally woven blankets, boho-chic handbags and decorations with Day of the Dead motifs. They are also in the process of creating a high-end, eco-chic range of clothing that will appeal to both European and Mexican tastes.

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With boho, ethnic chic becoming a huge trend this summer and colourful, Frida-inspired interiors making a comeback, it may be time to spring for a visit to one of Mexico’s jaw-dropping beaches to pick up a few timelessly chic items in between tanning sessions. But if that’s not possible, you can always order some thick Mexican glassware, handcrafted runners embroidered with brilliant animals and flowers, or a breezy peasant blouse online.

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To see more, please visit: www.chiapasbazaar.com



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