Have you ever heard of Mexican hairless dogs? The xoloitzcuintle (pronounced shoh-loyts-kwint-lee) is native to Mexico, with roots tracing back over 3,000 years, and are believed to be the first domesticated dog of the Americas.
Their hairlessness has many theories, the most popular being that it was a survival tactic in the hot tropical regions of Mexico. The Aztecs in particular were very fond of these dogs, with the belief that they were necessary to guide their owners through the underworld upon death. Xolos exude an exceptional amount of body heat and were valued during cold months as additional heat sources at night. Perhaps due to this, they also gained a reputation as being healers, and are still kept around today as superstition for fighting away sickness. Xoloitzcuintles are also appreciated for their guard-dog abilities and unwillingness to back down in a fight. They bond strongly to their owners and are a notoriously intelligent breed.
Our designers saw quite a few xoloitzcuintles on their inspiration trip to Mexico. The dogs above live in the Dolores Olmedo Museum in Mexico city, in honor of the philanthropist’s love of the breed.
Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera are among the most well-known fans of the xoloitzcuintle dog. Frida with two of her pets (above left), and in her self portrait with her xoloitzcuintle (above right).
What do you think of xoloitzuintles? Do you find them elegant and beautiful? Or strange and ugly? They unfortunately didn’t make the cut for any of our Tea graphics this year, but we’re still fascinated by them!
The Nahual, pronounced [nah-wahl] is a mystical creature who acts as a spiritual guide in many Mesoamerican religions. While every person has a nahual, they need to seek out their spirit animal to connect with it. Many believe the way to find your nahual is to find a isolated and peaceful place to sleep, and the animal that appears in your dream will be your spirit animal. The spirit animal can be any animal, or a mixture of animals. It is often depicted as a lion-like creature with human features, like in the Mexican ceramics above.
Every Friday we share a weekly behind-the-scenes photo taken in our offices at Tea.This could be anything – great employee outfits, our sources of inspiration, shots from our parties, or photos of us hard at work. For more sneak peeks behind the scenes at Tea click here.
Amber on the design team brought this zapatista doll back from Mexico. Zapatistas are a leftist revolutionary group based out of Chiapas, and their fashion is a huge part of identifying who is participating in the movement. We’ll be writing more about them later! This little doll sits on the windowsill in the design department watching the daily hustle and bustle. We brought him downstairs to show him off in front of our large map of the world.
Behind the Design Wednesdays: Every week Tea writes about our designers’ inspiration for our current collection of clothing. For more Behind the Designs click here.
Amate bark paper-making is a Mexican craft that started in pre-hispanic Mexico. The craft risked being replaced entirely by more modern European paper production. When amate paper started getting attention from scholars, the Otami saw the opportunity to revive the craft. They began selling the paper in Mexico city where the Nahua poeple started a “new indigenous craft” by creating paintings with the paper. Nahua paintings (above) are now one of the most popular crafts from Mexico.
images from Montgomery schools, Mexican Art Dealing
Christian Cota is a Mexican fashion designer and up and coming star in the fashion world. Born in Mexico City, Cota studied painting in Paris, before moving to New York to study fashion at Parsons.
Cota’s aesthetic often references nature, and many are calling his Fall 2011 line “haute hiking”. Inspired by seventies rock climbers, Alpine ski trips, and traditional Tibetan garb, Cota’s recent collection is constructed of earthy tones, thick furs, and loosely draped linens. About his new line, Cota tells a story: “A couple years ago I went to Mount Etna in Sicily. The temperature is so extreme at the top of the volcano and there’s a real spiritual aspect to dressing”.
To contrast with his earthy colors and to complement his spiritual Himalayan theme, Costa also introduced bright reds into his latest collection:
To see more of his collection, check out Christian Cota’s website.