Pineda Covalin’s designs are inspired by elements of Mexican indigenous and
contemporary art as the brand works to portray diversity through its culture
Cristina Pineda and Ricardo Covalin are two fashion designers from Mexico who have made a name for themselves. They collaborated to create a fashion brand called Pineda Covalin — after their surnames.
The brand was established in 1995 by Pineda, who has a bachelors in fabric design and masters in arts design, and by Covalín, who has a bachelors in industrial design in Mexico City.
They began manufacturing cufflinks and ties for other bigger business firms in order to finance their own fashion projects.
Pineda Covalin’s designs are inspired by elements of Mexican indigenous and contemporary art, as the brand works to portray the diversity through its culture. Their designs are characterised by representations of cultural elements such as architecture, sculpture, painting, codices, gastronomy and people themselves.
The designers took part in Heya Arabian Fashion Exhibition held in Doha recently. Community caught up with them to talk about their brand, experience in Qatar and future plans. Most of the questions were answered by Covalin with Pineda giving input as well. First to Covalin:
Please throw light on the genesis of the brand.
It all started in 1995. We were working on a project to promote Mexican art, culture and traditions. We worked to promote different things for a museum in Mexico. Our first aim was to show pre-Columbian traditions. People started liking scarfs and ties showing different traditions of our country that we printed.
After some years, we decided to showcase our works. We met big names in the fashion industry in Mexico and we showcased our products at big fashion shows. People showed real interest in our products. Until then, we were not producing a clothing line. We later decided to launch our own brand. In our products, you will see different items of Mexican history, nature, landscape, traditions, art and culture. Each of our products tells a story about Mexico. We see ourselves as ambassadors of Mexico. We have done our fashion shows in five continents. We have been to US, France, Spain, Portugal, Japan, Indonesia, India, and many other countries.
How did your visit to Qatar come about?
This is our first visit to any country in the Middle East. There is a government department in Mexico called PROMEXICO, which encourages and promotes our industry in other countries. Through the department we learnt about the women fashion exhibition here. The Mexican embassy in Qatar fully supported us and we made it!
What kind of work did you showcase?
Our prints at the exhibition mainly carried three themes. The first was to highlight corn — a basic part of Mexican food. We have shown how corn is used in different ways in Mexican food. In the second, we have exhibited the monarch butterfly. The butterfly migrates every year from Mexico to Canada. We showed different movements of the butterfly in our work. In the third design, we brought out Mexican love of the hummingbird. The bird is considered a messenger of love in our country. The women love to keep the bird close to them. All these works also carry Mexican embroidery.
What has been your impression of Doha?
It has been very good. We did not have much time to roam the city. We however, visited the Museum of Islamic Arts and Fire Station Gallery. This is a very interesting country; it is another world for us — different from Mexico. We will learn about their culture, traditions, and wear.
What kind of response did you receive at the exhibition?
Very good. When the visitors saw our work, they were amazed to see the variety of colours. Well, many liked the colours and some said there was too much of an indulgence.
Are you considering a business venture in Qatar?
As the response has so far been encouraging, we think we can work here. However, we need to learn more about Qatar. We have to learn more about how the locals dress and what kind of fashion they like.
(Cristina Pineda responded to a few posers with comment on business prospects).
This is a new world. We have to adapt to the change if we want to do business here. We cannot be competitive; we need to collaborate locally. We have already contacted some fashion designers and invited one of them to visit Mexico. If we have to work here, we have to learn about the culture and traditions of Qatar.
Why have you chosen an exhibition specified for women only?
First, we were getting a chance to take part in the exhibition that always included international brands. This year, we are taking part along with Germans and Italians. There is fashion within every woman. As women play important role in society, they do care about fashion and clothing.
We also wanted to learn how women in Qatar follow fashion. It is really important. We saw they usually wear black. They also carry a lot of jewellery with their clothes. There are a lot of new things that I learnt about women’s couture here.
How do you see Qatar as a melting pot of nationalities?
It is wonderful to see diversity in one city. If we want to launch our brand here, we are going to work hard. We have to be mindful of the culture and traditions of different people. The country is also going to host FIFA World Cup in 2022. More and more people will come here. It was really great to be in Qatar.
“It is wonderful to see diversity in one city. If we want to launch our brand here, we are going to work hard. We have to be mindful of the culture and traditions of different people. Qatar is also going to host FIFA World Cup in 2022. More and more people will come here”
— Cristina Pineda
“(Doha) has been very good. We did not have much time to roam the city. We however, visited the Museum of Islamic Arts and Fire Station Gallery. This is a very interesting country; it is another world for us
— different from Mexico. We will learn about its culture, traditions, and wear”
— Ricardo Covalin
(CENTRE) MAKING A STATEMENT: Cristina Pineda, left, and Ricardo Covalin. (BACKGROUND) EXQUISITE: A collection of Pineda Covalin products. Photos by Jayaram