Mexican fashion designer Carla Fernandez is the founder of Taller Flora, a fashion label that works with indigenous communities throughout Mexico. The aim of the label is to keep Mexican textile traditions from extinction and provide local artisans with an income.

When I noticed the incredible clothing that the indigenous people in Mexico wear, I was in awe at how amazingly well dressed they seemed in comparison to the majority of people in the streets of Mexico City,’ Fernandez said in an interview. ‘So, I had the idea to try and create something I thought could be classed as Mexican fashion.’

Fernandez works with a mobile design laboratory that travels through Mexico to work with the local craftsmanship of, mostly, women on the demi-couture line of Taller Flora. To be able to continue this work and meanwhile grow the fashion label, Fernandez developed a second, prêt-à-porter line. The designs of this industrially produced line are nevertheless of high quality and also inspired on traditional Mexican garments.

Fernandez studied art history in Mexico followed by a study in fashion at the Ibero Mexicana de Diseño design school. ‘Here I learned how to design and make clothes – I was a fully capable seamstress by the time I finished there,’ she says. ‘These two areas of study were both very useful for what I wanted to do with my own designs.’

Over time, Fernandez has gained international acclaim. Her collections have been shown in major venues in London, Boston, Japan, China and Mexico. In 2008 she was chosen as the winner of the British Council’s International Young Fashion Entrepreneur Award. She has acted as a visiting lecturer at Harvard University, MIT and the CCA Kitakyushu.