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Mexico’s Young CreativesPhotography Zora Sicher

Portraits of Mexico’s City’s creative new wave

Curated by designer Barragán and shot by Zora Sicher, get to know the faces defining CDMX’s thriving scene

You can find creativity anywhere in the world. Just ask Victor Barragán – the 25-year-old designer from Mexico City who lives in NYC and shows at New York Fashion Week. Despite now living far from his roots, he’s not cut himself off from the people back home – and his latest project spotlights six of them. Their jobs may range from designers to architects and photographers, but there’s one thing they all have in common: their creativity, and a desire to use Mexico and its heritage as a place to develop this. In the country’s dense capital city, these people are at the fore of an exciting, vibrant new wave. 

Shot by Zora Sicher, styled by Nayeli de Alba and with art direction from Javier Sola, the images are a collage of youth culture and creation. You’ve got Alberto Bustamante, an architect and DJ operating around the edges of the city; María Osado, founder of her own modelling agency that aims to challenge rigid beauty standards; and Alan Balthazar, a photographer finding inspiration in the art movements of the city. Then there’s Carla Valdivia, founder of her own graphic design practice Studio Katsu; Jovan Israel, a freelance illustrator for LGBT+ sites; and Roberto Sánchez, a designer whose raw work is influenced by the immediacy of his surroundings.

So what binds all of these individuals together? Their country, and their city. It’s something each of them nodded to when we spoke to them about the inspiration behind their work. “There is space here to operate around the edges and between the cracks. It’s a big, diverse city,” Bustamante says. For Balthazar, the inspiration for his photography comes from “The simple experience of living here. Things like the history of the city, the buildings, the people, all the culture around us, like parties, art movements.” Of course, it isn’t like CDMX is perfect – “In this city we have a tough economic, social and political reality that we face every day,” admits designer Sánchez, but says that “the immediacy of our surroundings is what makes my ideas and my way of working quite raw.” 

“There is space here to operate around the edges and between the cracks. It’s a big, diverse city” – Alberto Bustamante

As for Barragán, he’s curated this portfolio as a way of showcasing the inspiration he takes from his home of Mexico City in his work – and points to the web as the reason it’s become so much easier to collaborate. “The circle in Mexico is growing – the internet is a really good way to collaborate with more people inside Mexico and keep this conversation going in between,” he said. Illustrator Israel, meanwhile, was quick to stress the significance of social media in their creative outlook. “I love working with people – being in touch with them and expressing this is amazing, especially through apps like Instagram.”

And in the city, things are improving. “In comparison to when I started thirteen years ago, things have changed for the better,” says Sánchez, explaining that now “there are more platforms and investors who are interested in people’s projects.” That’s part of the reason many of them don’t plan on moving. “At this point in my life, Mexico City is the one. I can’t imagine leaving!” Valdivia said. Osado agreed. “I truly believe in Mexico as an important place to stay.” That support for one another and their country shows, because the creative scene in Mexico City doesn’t stop at these six individuals. They each pointed at who else people should be looking at, ranging from designer Barbara Sanchez-Kane to writer Rodrigo de Noriega

If these individuals are set to follow in the tracks of Barragán – their futures look promising. But for now, if you’re visiting Mexico City in the near future, you know who to hit up.