We talk with Mexican designer Paulina Hernandez ahead of her Vancouver Fashion Week showcase
MM: Can you introduce your brand and yourself in a few sentences?
Kan is tradition and design, taking you on a magic journey through the essence of the wonderful world of ethnic cultures and their unique regions. Inviting you to take in the authentic Cosmo-vision that all the Mexican ethnic groups have, and enjoying at the same time real quality and design. We take major inspiration from the enchanting seduction of them.
A bit about myself – I’m a 26 year old fashion designer that loves her country and the beach and took these two inspirations to create Kan.
MM: Can you describe your creative process?
Creative Process: this is one of the parts that I love the most! It all starts by night- thats when I get ideas for the designs and start investigating the images that we are going to use (the colours etc).
Once we have the designs and colours in our minds and on paper we take it to the computer, we do all the designs and prints that each piece will have. After this we import the fabrics from Colombia in white and start to create what I like to call ‘the puzzle for printing’. After this they cut everything by hand and start the manufacture process, to create the finished printed swimwear.
For the embroidered pieces the process is a little bit different -first we do every design and manufacture them and then I go with the Wirrarikas and together start playing with colours and shapes, and decide what will look better for each piece. It can be bikinis, Kimonos, ponchos etc and they will create all the embroidered pieces that you see by hand. Making the process such a beautiful one, artisanal, and most of all unique!
MM: Where do you find inspiration in your day-to-day life?
My inspiration from day to day life comes from my country with its colours, its people, its culture.
You have to see Mexico to see all the love and life that we have here and I really think that’s all the inspiration that you need to have fun, love, and create.
MM: What kind of questions do you ask yourself when you begin creating a collection?
What do I want people to know about Mexico?- what will make me different from the rest and how I can make unique pieces that show the parts of my country that I want people to get to know with unique and high-quality designs?
MM: How has your work evolved since you began your own label?
So much! The designs started in 2016 but the label came out to the public in February 2017, so it has been such an exciting journey and kind of fast, sometimes I can’t believe how far it has come in less than 2 years. We started with swimwear, now we have embroidered pieces of swimwear by the Wirrarikas, and this year we started with embroidered and unique clothing by the Wirrarikas (huicholes) too taking the brand to new places. We are very excited about this new part in our label.
MM: How do you find working as a designer in Mexico? Has the culture/surroundings affected your design aesthetic? Do you feel connected to your home?
Honestly it has been a magic journey! When I first started I was afraid that the label wouldn’t get any recognition, because fashion design here in México is kind of new but people and the reception has been unbelievable and I am so grateful for that.
And for the culture part -the surroundings is what I love the most about my country. Mexico is such a rich country; it’s culture, colours, textures, and people gives me tons of design ideas.
Right now we are working with the Wirrarikas (huicholes) and all our images are from their religion. They make the embroidered pieces so I have really gotten to know a totally different part of my country and our culture, opening my heart and mind to new adventures and surroundings. I haven’t felt more close to home than I feel now.
MM: What sparked your interest in fashion design?
Since I was very young I have loved fashion but I think that what woke up the most interest in me is all the stories that you can tell in one piece of clothing; all the history, culture, feelings, atmosphere of a time in just a single piece. I love how you can drive people to such different emotions and help them feel great.
MM: How did you learn the business of fashion?
I studied Fashion Design here in Mexico at a School called Imaginarte in Guadalajara. I also took some courses in Barcelona and in New York city. I also had the wonderful opportunity to work for a great Mexican designer at New York Fashion Week for a couple of years.
MM: What is your favourite part of being a designer? What drives you to design?
My favourite part is that I can be creative and everything in my imagination can be taken into reality. Also that I have had the opportunity to work and get to know beautiful and wonderful people, without being a designer I probably would never have met them!
What drives me to design is being able to share what’s in my heart, my dreams, my passion in one piece, that will not only tell my story but many stories.
MM: What is the inspiration behind your S/S 19 collection to be showcased at Vancouver Fashion Week?
The Wirrarikas. And this collection wouldn’t exist without them! It was such a journey -from meeting them, getting to know so much more about them and their culture, and then being able to work with them has been such a blessing.
Thank you, Paulina for sharing your brand’s story with us! We’re looking forward to seeing your vibrant collection on the Vancouver Fashion Week runway in September!