Image: Carla Fernandez
It’s no secret that the new administration in Washington has created lots of real problems for Mexico. Beyond the insults and the threats to build a bigger wall, President Trump’s public condemnation of US companies investing in Mexico and threats to renegotiate NAFTA has damaged the Mexican economy, lowering projected growth rates and impacting the currency. Consider the fact that the peso crashed by 12% on November 9th, the day after the election, and overall the Trump effect pushed it from 15 to the dollar last fall to the current rate of 21.
The Mexican and US economies and supply chains are incredibly integrated. For every $1 of Mexican product sold in the US, 40 cents actually originated here. So bashing Mexico has setbacks for us too. Hopefully cooler heads will prevail, but in the meantime, as in all times of economic challenges, the most vulnerable suffer the most – women, children, and the indigenous population.
We all know that we have the power as consumers to put our money where our mouth is, and choose to spend it in ways that reflect the world we want to see. Buying Mexican and from ethical companies that employ artisans, treat them well and celebrate their extraordinary skills is not only a conscious act but at this point in our history, one might even call it a form of activism.
Mexico is experiencing a cultural renaissance and a number of brands are creating products that reflect the country’s deep and rich culture and history. Here are a few of my favorites, edited for those that have online stores and ship to the US.
Oh, and Catrinka, of course! We provide work directly to artisans in Chiapas, Guerrero, Puebla and Oaxaca, and to women who work in our partner workshop in Mexico City. All our Mexican-made products come directly from Mexico to Brooklyn (duty free thanks to NAFTA, at least for now) where they ship out to you.
To learn more about how brands are taking on sustainable strategies, check out our Sustainable Fashion Roadmap tool.
Author MEGAN REILLY CAYTEN has lived and worked in infrastructure development on five continents. Throughout her career she has focused on developing, financing and operating sustainable core infrastructure and basic services, predominantly in developing countries. She is the founder and CEO of Catrinka, an ethical fashion accessories brand dedicated to the financial empowerment of women and girls, which to date has provided over 55,000 days of education for girls and over 5,000 days of work for women in 16 countries. Megan was an inaugural fellow of the Brooklyn Fashion + Design Accelerator, is a member of the board of the National Environmental Education Foundation and is on the National Council of World Wildlife Fund.