Mexico, as one of our closest neighbors, has long had a close yet complex relationship with the United States. The West and Southwest, which were once part of Mexico, are heavily influenced by Mexican food, culture, and the Spanish language (take, for instance, city names like Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Antonio), and millions people of Mexican descent have come to call the U.S. home. Among those people, there are countless Mexican-American entrepreneurs in the fashion, lifestyle, food, and beverage spaces who are bringing incredible originality, cultural nuance, and ethical production to the game.
However, longstanding anti-Mexican sentiment has become more commonplace in recent years, too often resulting in hate crimes, mass violence, and daily harassment that has taken its toll on the collective mental health of the Mexican-American community. Meanwhile, white Americans everywhere commodify Mexican holidays and traditions like Cinco de Mayo without understanding the basic history of the holiday.
For these reasons, it has become increasingly important to support Mexican and Mexican-American brands. Not only do small businesses have the power to elevate entire communities, but many of these brands also boast ethical and sustainable production, especially considering the debilitating impact that climate change has had (and could continue to have) on Mexico's incomparably beautiful (and incredibly biodiverse) landscape. It also helps that these brands are so very, very cool. Below, check out 15 of the Mexican-owned brands I'm about to spend my next paycheck on.
Emilia Cruz Art
In her detailed, unique artwork, Emilia Cruz explores topics of heritage, self-love, race, and identity. A first generation Mexican American born and raised in Southern California, she's been commissioned by the likes of CNN en Español and by the Netflix shows Gente-fied and Selena: The Series in addition to having been featured in a number of notable exhibitions. Now, you can hang her artwork in your home, commission a piece, or buy one of Cruz's pre-printed mugs, totes, and other items. I'm personally a fan of her prints and postcards, and am revisiting the site for more pieces with which to decorate my apartment.
Hija De Tu Madre
Hija De Tu Madre's founder and designe, Patty Delgado, created the brand in order to celebrate her Latinx heritage and the complexities that come with being a Latina in the United States. Her pieces heavily feature Mexican iconography and slang, and you can enjoy her fun, witty, and political designs across the apparel, jewelry, and lifestyle categories.
Yo Soy Afro Latina
When Afro-Mexican founder Bianca Kathryn was a child growing up in the midwest, she struggled to find people who both looked like her and were part of the Latinx community. It wasn't until she travelled to Mexico and learned more about the rich history of Black Latinidad that she finally felt seen and was able to connect with Latinx people who had the same feelings and experiences as she did. Now, in order to celebrate her multi-faceted heritage and help others feel seen, too, she creates apparel, accessories, and home goods through Yo Soy Afro Latina that are as fun as they are meaningful.
Honey B. Gold
Founder Natalia Durazo is the youngest child of Mexican parents who immigrated to the U.S. in search of opportunity. Durazo was raised in L.A.'s Inland Empire, where she was immersed in the Chicano culture and Hip Hop style that now inspire her incomparable designs. She designs, sources, and creates each of her items and seeks to celebrate individuality and self-expression through her pieces. Personally, I'm obsessed with her hoops, which are the styles she's best-known for.
Jorge Acevedo founded Santa Lupita in order to ethically, conscientiously spread love for Mexican artisanal clothing. All of the brand's pieces are handmade in Mexico, and many incorporate traditional woven designs with contemporary, flowing silhouettes.
Ale Bremer founded her eponymous brand after immigrating from Northern Mexico and studying to be a Metalsmith and earning a degree in Fine Arts. Her grandfather, a metallurgical engineer, was her primary inspiration when she dedicated her life to making meaningful handmade jewelry that's meant to evoke nostalgia for the romantic desert landscape of her childhood.
Julia y Renata
Sisters Julia and Renata Franco started their minimalist clothing line after graduating from Guadalajara's Fashion Design Center. Their geometric yet flowing silhouettes look stunning on every body type, and their asymmetrical, modernist takes on fashion are inspired by their home city, so you can carry a little piece of Guadalajara with you every time you don one of their designs.
Jen Zeano Designs
Jen Zeano Designs, or JZD, is an LGBTQ-owned brand that couple Jen and Vero started in order to create pieces that celebrate both femininity and Latinx identity. The brand carries accessories, apparel, and even lifestyle goods like drinkware and stationary.
Graziano and Gutierrez
After attending college together, Alejandro Gutierrez and Samuel Graziano founded their brand in order to empower Mexican artisans and keep traditional Mexican textile practices alive. They also put a sustainable, modernist spin on these methods by upcycling tablecloths, upholstery, and other fabrics in order to produce unique products. All of their clothing is made using natural fibers and their supplier partnerships support artisans in Oaxaca, Teotitlan del Valle, and San Andres Larrainzar, Chiapas.
Pulaski is a sustainable shoe brand based in Guadalajara that makes all of its goods from eco-friendly, all-natural ingredients like cactus leather. Founder Fernando Amador spends countless hours researching global footwear trends and carbon-neutral production methods so that the brand can craft everything from espadrilles to boots with both high quality and a deep sense of responsibility.
Casa Nortes is a seasonless fashion brand that honors First Nations peoples through design. In particular, they work with the Raramuri community in Mexico to create their handmade, one-of-a-kind pieces, which are all ethically crafted in a women-owned facility that pays fair wages.
This historic brand, founded in the mid-1700s, is the first commercial producer of tequila in Mexican history, and continues to be one of the most popular tequila brands on the continent. They offer a number of tequilas along with rum and other spirits, all of which celebrate Mexican history and tradition.
Yola is a multi-generation family-owned Mezcal brand that meticulously and sustainably sources high-quality ingredients for its 300-year-old recipe. The spirit finds the perfect balance between smoky and smooth, making it perfect for cocktails or simply for sipping on the rocks.
Food brand Siete's name has a touching story: Siete is the Spanish word for seven, and there are seven members of co-founder Veronica Garza's family. Garza conceived of the brand because, after she was diagnosed with several auto-immune conditions, she needed to adopt a grain-free diet, which limited her ability to indulge in some of her Mexican-American family's favorite traditional recipes. Thus, she created her own line of clourless, corn-less, vegan, and paleo treats, which include chips, taco shells, sauces, condiments, and more.
Behold one of the most heartwarming business stories of all time: Saucy Lips was founded by a Mexican-American immigrant family after the family's matriarch, Gabriela, decided to start selling her homemade hot sauces at a farmer's market to pay for her children's tuition. Now, this women-led team (comprised of Gabriela and her daughters, Natalia and Jess) produces a number of tasty sauces that are available nationwide.
Amor y Flor
Amor y Flor's founder, Lorraine, is a self-taught candle maker from Los Angelees who uses her Latinx identity as inspiration for her scents. Her brand carries candles that honor the Aztec Empire and Aztec goddess Xochiquetzal; the popular Central American drink Horchata; and her grandmother's rose garden.