During my undergraduate experience, I consulted with a heritage fashion start-up in Toluca, Mexico. I enrolled in Arizona State University’s Global Impact Entrepreneurship program, which is dedicated to furthering innovations for the developing world. So I had the opportunity for a consulting role. My goal was to brainstorm with designers. They needed better streams of revenue, in order to preserve their work. So I provided the designers with a business plan, as well as a global marketing strategy.
I met some awesome people, who introduced me to historical crafting techniques. They created intricate embroidery. I learned about culture, while focusing on design. I presented marketing strategies to create economic value from their handcrafts. Consulting with the start-up partners was exciting. Each day was intriguing, which motivated me. I believe preserving cultural heritage is crucial. So we created designs that were respectful of their history. During my time in Toluca I gained experience in leadership. I was in charge of managing our prototyping and product development. In addition, I grew in my cross-cultural communication skills. It was a grand experience.
Technological advancements will help secure our collective culture. In Toluca, I was intrigued by the complex patterns the designers made. Mexican culture greatly inspires me. The designers used bright colors. The colors captivated me. Each family had their own motifs. They employed motifs directly from nature. Some designs were flowers. Others were animals or plants. All designs had historical meaning. They were very detailed. I interviewed several designers, who had been embroidering for decades. It was so exciting to learn about them.
It is difficult to preserve handcrafts, due to lack of economic scalability. Often times, the youth do not wish to learn traditional crafts. Traditional garments take a long time to create, because they are always handmade. Most have been preserved by word of mouth. In the future, I believe technology can be used to help preserve them. In essence, we must employ technological advances to preserve our collective past. Being part of ASU Skysong provided me with international business experience. Culture and fashion have always blended in Allisonland. This project thrilled me, because it combined my favorite research topics. If you want to learn more about the project, click here.
Below, I model traditional festival garments.