Almost 4 years ago marks the first time Tamara met Fidelia and the rest of the Poot-Castillo family. While studying fashion and textile design at Parson’s in New York City, Tamara travelled to London, Japan, Turkey, Indonesia, and more, to learn from the local cultures and pioneers of textile design around the world. Upon returning home to Mexico, Tamara took a road trip through Yucatan, stopping in a little town called Mani by a sign on the side of the road that read “Borda2” or embroidery. This first stop turned out to be the home of Fidelia and her family— the first of many partners and collaborators that have helped to bring the concept of Indie Gen to life.
Tamara had an instant connection to Fidelia and her family, admiring their humor, integrity and devotion to their craft. In a social landscape that tends to undervalue our indigenous communities, their traditions, and their art, Tamara instantly saw an opportunity for collaboration: Fidelia and her family would teach Tamara the technique and philosophy of cross-stitch embroidery, while Tamara would teach the artisans about innovated design, sharing the resources and exposure she gained from studying at one of the top fashion schools in the country. Together, they would create a brand that has integrity and purpose, reestablishing the value of Mexican textile as an art form rather than a souvenir both in the fashion world and in the artisan communities themselves.
And that’s exactly what she did. Tamara has since travelled to Mani twice a week, exchanging textiles and patterns, workshopping ideas, and empowering the Poot-Castillo family to view themselves as artists— to experiment with designs, shapes, and colors, and inject their own unique ideas and personality into each creation. After four years, and hundreds of Indie Gen garments created in partnership with Fidelia and her family, Tamara has finally started to see her mission unravel.
On her most recent trip to Mani, Fidelia gave Tamara a gift that said it all. It was a black scarf for the winter, embroidered with shapes, colors, techniques, and materials that she had never seen done before.
"Ever since we started working with you, our mindset has evolved completely. We realized that there are endless things we can create within cross-stitch embroidery, things we never even imagined. We’re so used to producing the same thing over and over, but through our partnership, we realized that there are endless possibilities to what we create. I’ve used more creativity in these last few years than I ever thought I had.
Life is about continuous learning. I love to learn. I don’t want to view the world through just one angle. I want to advance." - Fidelia Poot-Castillo
Fidelia’s scarf reaffirmed the Indie Gen mission. Without collaboration, growth is limited to our own perspective. Be a teacher, a student, an equal, and there is no limit to what we can achieve.