Today we’d like to introduce you to Sofia Uribe.
Sofia, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I was born in San Diego CA but raised in Tijuana Mexico.
All of my life I have been surrounded by sewing machines, threads, and fabrics. My mother learned how to sew from my grandmother. I grew up looking at my mom sew, cut, and making patterns from recycled newspapers and using soap as chalk.
I was a very curious kid; my mom was a professional folkloric dancer. I remember wearing her clothes and playing with them; always admiring the colors and texture. Growing up in Tijuana, a young city that doesn’t have a lot of festivities or traditions as many southern states of Mexico I wasn’t really in touch with my roots.
Thanks to my Grandpa who is from Oaxaca Mexico I learned a lot from his stories about his “Pueblo,” his time serving the military after the “Revolucion Mexicana.” And my Great-grandmother Gabina making palm hats for a living. Since a very young age, I was drawn by my culture.
When I was attending college in San Diego CA, majoring in Anthropology, I discover my passion and curiosity to learn more about Mexican culture, not only did I wanted to learn about it; but get immersed in it.
In 2012, I came to LA to do a 3-week internship with Mexican Designer Ximena Valero, and I never went back to Tijuana/ San Diego. I stayed in LA, to be an assistant in a fashion studio for three years. I learned about the fashion industry and the process of making clothing.
I always had the vision of creating something on my own, mixing fashion and my culture. That’s how Cultura en tu Ropa was born.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I believe my biggest struggle has been not having the right preparation from the start. I didn’t go to fashion school, never took a business class; but rather I have been learning through real-life experience. This has never stopped me to keep moving forward.
Please tell us about Cultura en tu Ropa.
Cultura en tu Ropa is a line of contemporary designs inspired by traditions and culture. We import handmade goods from Mexico and Guatemala such as traditional ‘Huipiles,’ handmade bags and textiles. Our Contemporary line includes Ponchos, Capes, contemporary Huipiles, Tunics and more.
I personally travel to Mexico and Guatemala to make sure the handmade goods come directly from the artisans, honoring fair trade… I try to spend as much time as I can with the artisans, learn from them, take classes or workshops and learn the process of how the garment was made and who made it.
I feel that to understand what you are selling, you have to submerge in the culture; it is very important to tell the story behind every piece, every single symbol of embroidery, textile, shape, color or texture has a meaning. It is very important to acknowledge their work and their traditions, and this is what Cultura en tu ropa is all about.
If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
I like my process, I feel that everybody’s road is different, and every experience comes with a lesson. I go on my own time; learning and making mistakes. I guess the only thing that I would change is having more confidence, believe in myself and my instinct
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