Chiapas, Mexico. Rich is culture, history and beauty. Beatriz Zafra of ISMO designs found the qualities of Chiapas inspiring and began her brand which focuses on quality, environmentally friendly processes and cultural appreciation. Inspired by three Tzotzil communities of Mayan descendants; Nachig, Zinacantan and San Andres Larrainzar, everything is handcrafted by skilled artisans.
What was the inspiration behind Ismo Design?
ISMO is a movement oriented to innovation, what inspires our designs is how we are always changing as societies. Those changes start with little actions that suddenly become like a wave of group energy capable of changing history.
Why is it important to you that Ismo Design sources ethically?
Because every cause has an effect, and I follow the effects that I would like to see. Also, because at the end I believe we are all one, so everything that we do for others is also affecting us.
Tequila or mezcal?
Vogue or CN traveller?
What are your top three favorite instagram accounts you follow?
@Salmahayek, @Anothermagazine + @Pamallier
What are you excited about in the future for Ismo Design?
That it arrives to many people around the world, and that they find themselves identified with the stories behind their products even though their lives are completely different to mine or to the artisans.
What is your favorite part about working in the Chiapas communities?
We have such different cultures, we have different activities, clothes, education and even language. But at the end of the day, we think about the same things; what to wear for a party, what happened with a boyfriend, about our families..
What is a common misconception people have about Mexican culture?
That we are all disorganized or corrupt.
There are so many different symbols used in your designs that I am not sure many people are familiar with, can you tell us a little bit about these and which ones are your favorites?
The majority contain geometrical figures of 4 vertices. Some of these symbols were found in Mayan culture. They were recovered by today’s Mayan descendants.
My favorite are the diamond shapes. They symbolize the universe. It is like a diamond with another diamond inside. Specialists believe the center symbolize the sun.
If you were to have a friend come visit you from the states, where are the three places you would make sure to take them?
Mexico City, Guanajuato city and Yaxchilán at Chiapas. Oh… but also the sinkholes at Yucatán.