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5 Facts About Mexican Embroidery

Embroidered clothing is very common in most areas of Mexico. Besides being convenient and very comfortable pieces of clothing, they are closely related to Mexico’s identity and popular culture.

There are some relevant facts about this clothing that you should know.

1. Different ethnic groups from different places create their own embroidery styles.
Some of them are the mazatecos, huastecos, chinantecos, zapotecas, and  wixárikas. Each tribe handles different types of textiles such as cotton, hand spun and even local silk.
Also, these groups are located in different states full with tradition, such as:
Oaxaca: the cradle of tribes like Zapotecas, Mazatecas or Nahuas, they produce embroidered clothes using different types of looms. This ancient technology allows shaping every piece to turn them into crafted and colored fabrics.
Nayarit: The Wixárikas or Huicholes live in this state, though some of them are spread all over Jalisco and Zacatecas. This tribe produces beadwork, shirts and dresses sold everywhere.

2. Mexican embroidery bases its particular art and looks on specific topics.
Mexico’s traditional indigenous culture looks up to nature and life and this shows in every piece of ethnic clothing produced here. Some of the most important themes related to clothing production are:
-Celebration of life: for most tribes and culture, color represents life and even more. Just remember that in Mexican culture, even death and its many elements (Heaven and the underworld, for instance) are painted in brilliant colors.
-Nature: it is one of the most recurrent topics in embroidery. The wilderness is a perfect inspiration to print different shapes and elements on clothing.

3. You must pay attention to the different elements in Mexican embroidery.
Most likely you will be delighted at first sight with the many embroidered clothing options you will find. However, you must pay attention to each element to see where the ideas are coming from, such as:
-Birds and many other animals: for some regional cultures, these living beings represent something specific. Mazatecas, for instance, see a butterfly as an eternal soul, while others pay tribute to local fauna, like armadillos, tigers or cougars.
-Flowers: it’s hard to think of Mexican embroidery without lots and lots of plants and flowers representing hope and love. For centuries, these elements are a way to connect people to their origins in a very colorful way.

4. Many of these elements are just perpetuating centuries of rustic art.
Just take a look at the Otomies, for example. Many of the elements and figures they print on embroidered clothing are inspired by rustic paintings located in ancient cave drawings. These ancient tribes needed to express their point of view on life and nature, so embroidery since then has been just perpetuating such concepts.

5. Tourists love embroidery.
Both hand and loom embroidery is one of the top souvenirs you can find online or at many local markets and art & clothing festivals. Ranking from prices from just a couple of dollars to hundreds of bucks, you are going to take a small part of Mexico with you. So make sure to choose some great pieces for you and your family.

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