WILD DALIA & MEXICAN ARTISAN WOMEN COMMUNITY
Wild Dalia is a sustainable clothing brand that creates its unique and authentic pieces together with the community of native women located in Chiapas. Since their childhood women are dedicated to learning craft floral embroidery techniques from their mothers and grandmothers. They draw inspiration from the beauty of nature around them, full of vibrant colors and delicate aromas of local flower fields.
Wild Dalia designers visit the community and spend a couple of days in San Cristobal de las Casas to work together on a new jacket. The women accompany us to the local market to choose the threads and then start making samples of various color combinations. According to the technique, each flower has 3 embroidery colors – the one inside a flower petal, the one applied outside to create more volume, and the one used for contouring to complete the composition. We normally spend several hours before reaching a perfect combination that we all like.
Yolanda is one of the artisans Wild Dalia closely works with and here is what she shared with us about the community, its future, and life-changing experience of standing up for women empowerment and gender equality.
How has your life changed after starting a cooperative and working with sustainable clothing brands like Wild Dalia? What are the positive changes you feel?
Well, to start with, organizing a cooperative had a positive impact on the life of local women because now we are a team. The cooperative has been working for several years and very few women communities survive for that long. I think it is important that now women are not so dependent on their husbands, they are self-sufficient and can make their own decisions.
How did you get a notion? Why did women decide to group and form a cooperative?
On the one hand, we were in need of having our own source of income. On the other hand, we are very skillful in crafting artisan products. For many years we have been selling local craft in Zinacantan but it was too cheap and we could barely make any money. So yes, what really made it work for the cooperative is the opportunity to get proper remuneration for the work.
What do you like most about working in women cooperative?
That we benefit from working together and from being united. We are a big family, we all contribute, help each other, and share what we earn even if it is not much. I also like that we produce something different from what other communities do. And I enjoy working on developing new designs and products for sustainable clothing brands.
When you started the cooperative, what was the reaction of men in your village?
At the beginning, it was hard for them to acknowledge that women can now earn their own money and take decisions for themselves. It took them years to get used to it but now they see it as an additional source of income for the family and when we have work with tight deadlines, they even help to take care of the house.
What is your favorite Wild Dalia design?
The one with white Lilies. Traditionally, our designs are very colorful and this one makes a big difference because it has natural lily color.
How do you feel knowing your craft embroidery is traveling the world and being worn by people from other countries?
It makes me happy to know that foreigners from other countries can learn a bit about our culture. Most likely, many of them have never even been to Mexico, so it’s great that we can share a small bit of our traditions and maybe even make them want to visit.
What do you dream about?
That our future generations continue the tradition of embroidery.
As a sustainable clothing brand, Wild Dalia team hopes, the community will keep supporting each other working closely as a family and we will keep making our small contribution to its prosperity.