Based in Mexico City, Ditzy is the fashion brand drawing on eccentric subcultures for inspiration. Through its garments, the label references underground Mexican pop culture, from Mexicana Kandi Ravers to Cholombianas. Launched in 2019 by designer Adrian Fierro Lara, the wildly colorful pieces are up-cycled and one of a kind, including Y2K styled strappy, asymmetric tops and thongs, pastel-toned tube dresses and mini skirts made entirely out of beads, and hand-made purses.
The label is fun and carefree: the name itself, ‘Ditzy’, dismantles the seriousness and elitism of the fashion world. Being a part of the growing fashion scene of Mexico and the Global South, Adrian took the time to chat with me about his dedication to countering Eurocentrism in the fashion industry, sharing the reason why subcultures are so important to him, and what’s it been like maintaining a small fashion brand in Mexico during a global pandemic.
You launched Ditzy in 2019, so it’s still quite new. What is it’s founding story and what has it been like building your line during a pandemic?
I had been planning Ditzy since 2017. It took 2 years to materialize my ideas and work with them. I mainly do a lot of research and that’s what Ditzy is about- lots of research and putting things together with all of the information I find. It’s been really challenging, especially during COVID, since things work very differently in Mexico. We have a very small fashion industry so it’s a thousand times harder to do things here, and design production takes five times longer than it would take in Global North countries. The designers don’t really have easy access to production and there isn’t a connection between Mexico’s huge textile factories and designers. During the pandemic we pretty much stopped everything for the whole year, which was really hard because in March we were supposed to start selling clothes since it was our first ever production.
You draw influence from lots of niche Mexican subcultures for your brand’s vision. Can you elaborate on this?
Subculture is really important in my work! Subculture is the reason the West, Europeans, shower every day. Subculture affects society in a really deep and misunderstood level. In Mexico before colonization, we used to shower every day and we already had a gravity running sewer system, we were not throwing our shit outside the window like in Paris and London. The Dandys, a subculture, were the ones that made that mainstream for the Western world. Those who go against the mainstream have a huge impact in the world, and that’s where I find my inspiration for drawing on subcultures.
Ditzy is a unique name. How did you decide on it for your label and what’s the story behind it?
I got Paris Hilton’s book Confessions of an Heiress for Christmas some years ago. My partner and one of our closest friends Seb were reading it and they’re graffiti artists so they immediately said ditzy is such a cool word to write. I never really clicked strongly with a word before they pointed ditzy out, and it just encapsulated everything that was in my personal brand investigation and what I wanted to say.
Every garment you make is handmade- explain what that process looks like and the reasoning behind it.
In the beginning I used to make everything myself, from the patterns to the bead pieces. The bag comes from that kind of thinking because I didn’t really have anyone to help me and I had to make a product that I could fully make myself. Now, Gera my friend works with me, and we make the bags together, along with a seamstress and someone who makes the patterns. With this really small team we are being able to make tiny productions, which is what we want. We mainly work with deadstock fabric because we don’t really want to overproduce.
I saw somewhere you mentioned that ads in Mexico mostly feature White models. What do you hope to accomplish with Ditzy in regard to countering this Eurocentrism?
Representation. Representation really matters. If we portray possibilities and new versions of the future for BIPOC and someone gets to see that in the street and that image resonates with them- then I know we’re doing something right. I didn’t have that for myself, I still don’t have it. If a little kid gets to see an ad that they feel they can relate to, they feel powerful, strong and beautiful. That’s the goal. Are people in Europe still using the word ugly? Do they think they’re the only ones making art? I think that speaks a lot about Europe as a whole. They’re still telling us what is beautiful and what is not, what is art and what is not.
On that note, you’re a former fashion photographer turned fashion designer. Over the years, we’ve seen some progress in the fashion world representing more BIPOC and more gender identities, but do you think enough is being done?
No. I think White people are never going to give up power and platforms, and that leads me to the main question I ask: are first world country people willing to give up their lifestyle and life quality for someone, especially BIPOC in a Global South country? I don’t think so! Are you willing to stop getting your Starbucks coffee every morning? Are you willing to give platforms and opportunities to BIPOC? That is exactly what redistribution means. Third World country people are not doing GoFund Me’s for everything, you know? Some people don’t even have access to a computer, internet, or a cellphone. Redistribution means that BIPOC, especially from Global South countries, are getting opportunities, jobs, money, education, and health services.
So, how do you stay motivated in tough times like this pandemic, where creatives and their work are being so deeply affected and faced with bigger questions like these?
I think the pandemic was really a game changer for me, it really made me question more of the reality we live in. I think art, fashion, etc., should reflect what is going on with the world. We can’t stay petrified just watching all of this stuff, we can literally change our immediate reality by changing things with our hands- that’s what making art and clothes comes down to for me. And I stay motivated because I’m tired of everything staying the same, I’m tired of seeing White art in general.
What are your long-term goals for Ditzy Corporation, and can we expect anything in the coming months or year?
I really don’t know! One of my main goals is to have a little “school” at some point, a de-colonial school — that’s why I ask you to put the quotation marks. In the “school” we’ll teach nonwhite “art”, fashion, how to grow plants and crops, emotional and sexual education, with a little room in which people can come and fill their water jugs with clean water, along with a full-time psychiatrist and psychologist that gives free consultations, providing medicine, etcetera. Ditzy is going to mutate into that hopefully. For now, we are going to keep making dead stock clothes, recycled clothes and bomb imagery that is going to blow everyone’s minds.
Thank you Adrian!
Ditzy will be releasing their 2021 line in the coming weeks, which will be sold at Café Forgot in New York City starting this February. Follow and support Ditzy on instagram @ditzycorporation to stay posted, and look out for their drop!