Interview with Alex Castañeda of Meshiko
Alex Castañeda started her brand Meshiko in an effort to fuse modern living with the craft techniques practiced by indigenous mothers in Mexico. We asked her about her inspirations, how her journey with textiles and embroidery began and advice she has for aspiring makers.
What sparked the idea to start your brand, Meshiko?
I have had this idea of creating products with soul since I was little. My mother is an art restorer in Mexico, which means I grew up running around in archaeological zones, climbing pyramids, visiting churches, seeing my mother restore paintings by important painters, and eating in small towns. Far away from the big cities, indigenous cultures are still very much alive, and I think that it was in seeing how the people dressed that my love for textiles began. I remember the colour of their clothes very well and the detail of the embroidery.
I have always wanted to create products inspired by the fusion of modern life with indigenous antique techniques, but life took me on a different path. But now, that dream is a reality and the result is Meshiko.
Who inspires you?
Indigenous communities inspire me, because time stops when you are creating with them.
They are not governed by modern life, and they keep their roots very strong. They remind you of that all the time with their words and their actions. They remind you that the relationship that we have with the world is really a common thread, that the butterfly effect impacts everyone and everything.
What happens when you have a product made by them? The beauty of the product is the first thing you perceive, but the truth is each geometric shape and colour has a much deeper meaning, which sometimes has to do with humans connecting to their emotions and their environment.
How did you get into textiles and embroidery?
I think I have always been a crafty person. I really like to make, but working in my company, I mostly just spend my time designing, all the time on the computer! But in 2020 and living the lockdown I started embroidering again and discovered that embroidering relaxed me and made me very happy so I decided to create an embroidery kit inspired by the geometries used by the indigenous in their textiles. Magically it was like taking a step out of the new reality that was spending all this time indoors.
What do you do in your spare time?
I like creating and personalising objects, like customising denim jackets for my kids with some crazy embroidery, and I cook delicious desserts. I would have loved to be a dancer, when I have free time, I dance.
What is some advice you have for aspiring makers?
Think like a child/ They do not feel limited by not knowing something, they have a beginner's mind, open to new experiences. Forget about your environment and think about your inner being, take some time for yourself, and create something with your own hands. You will see that giving yourself this opportunity will make you very happy.