Julieta Zavala infuses her Mexican heritage into fashion designs


NEWARK, Delaware (WPVI) — In a guest bedroom-turned-sewing-studio in her Newark, Del. home, Julieta Zavala transforms colorful fabrics and yarns into beautiful dresses, headbands and bags.

She uses textiles from Mexico and incorporates popular designs from Mexican folklore as well as iconic people and objects from her culture. Think cacti, mariachi bands and Frida Kahlo.

She also emphasizes sustainability, using upcycled and upcycled materials to create her designs.

She fashioned a matching corset, skirt and earrings from a plastic tablecloth. She also uses serape blankets and “everything I can get my hands on”.

Zavala came to the United States from Mexico City when she was 20 with the intention of getting an education and returning home.

She had to learn English and graduate from high school and in the process she met the man who would become her husband and the two had a son, now 8 years old.

She earned a degree in fashion from the Art Institute.

His first big show was at the Penn Museum for the “CultureFest!” 2021, celebrating Día de los Muertos or Day of the Dead. She will be presenting at this year’s CultureFest! as well.

She also worked with Alba Martinez, creating 13 of the clothing designs you see on Guagua 47the Latin culture-focused film project found throughout SEPTA’s Route 47 bus route.

She takes custom orders and sells her designs at pop-up markets throughout the region.

When she started, her Mexican-themed designs were driven by homesickness.

Now, she hopes her pieces will give other Mexican American immigrants similar solace.

Juliet Zavala | Facebook | instagram

Penn Museum CultureFest! DIA DE LOS MUERTOS

3260 South Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104

Saturday October 29, 10am-4pm

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