Sanchez-Kane x El Silencio

by BJ Panda Bear

Photo courtesy of Mezcal El Silencio

Photo courtesy of Mezcal El Silencio

In recent years the machismo-heavy culture in Mexico has seen a shift with a new generation of youth revolting and reclaiming their identities with the guiding will of their indigenous roots. Away are thoughts of Eurocentric idioms of brash gendered semantics, and in is the raise of Latinx culture with its activism and query of what it means to be a Mexican. Creatively there has been an influx if innovators who bring an international lens of the art world to Mexico, and especially, Mexico City.

Intersecting all of the worlds of fashion, art and the gender-nonconforming space, Barbara Sanchez-Kane has been highly involved in these intersecting worlds. She recently staged a popup at Nicodim Gallery with Mezcal El Silencio, a company steeped in it’s own quest to embrace pre-Spanish heritage of distilling the ancient Oaxacan drink. This collaboration yields silver jewelry which celebrated "Macho Sentimental,” a statement which the designer used to encompass the post-gendered identity of her work. We took a moment with the designer to talk about her views on art, gender politics, and Mexico.

Photo courtesy of Mezcal El Silencio

Photo courtesy of Mezcal El Silencio

Tell me everything! Where did this begin is your background in fashion and art?

I did industrial engineering for my first degree, and then I went to fashion. I went to school in Florence in Polimoda, and I graduated 2015. I came to live in Los Angeles for 9 months and I did an internship with Bernhard Willhelm and then I started my brand. 

What is the root of your brand in regards to the way it is constructed and the philosophy? 

Dress the “Macho Sentimental,” that is the person I dress, it is a hybrid, it does not have a sex. A person that is in touch with her feelings but is still strong, ‘sensitive strong’ I’ll say. And then I play a lot with tailoring. That’s the main part of Sanchez-Kane. 

I notice Lucy all over your work how did you get involved with them?

So with Latex Lucifer I was doing my AW18 show in New York fashion week and I was casting. I did not like the models that were coming in, everyone got their instagram look, and then Lucy came in. 

Oh I thought you met in Mexico City!

No it was in New York and I texted them, ‘Could you come?’ and he was like, ‘Ya sure!’ He is beautiful, and they actually closed my show. We did campaign pictures with Lucy and he did a performance in Mexico City Traición (the infamous Mexico City based queer party) and I lended him pieces. Now Lucy is on display in Vogue Italia his face was one of the pictures selected for that campaign.

How do you feel in regards to your clothing’s place in art? 

I guess fashion is a very cold environment without that extra… you need to say something with clothes, if not it would be a very fucking cold world, without fashion it is like that. I need to tell my story and the story sometimes is to have these pieces of speech inside what it should be, and with that, I put it in my runway shows. If not it would be bland.

Do you feel there is a caged politics behind the way you portray the clothing?

I feel yes. Sanchez-Kane is a true diary entry of my world and what I am living, so if something like political or a love affair, or love or hate, it is coming to my life so it is going to be portrayed in the clothes. 

For this pop up, how did you get involved with the gallery?

Through Nydia Cisneros. She has Cholas per Chulas makeup, and I met her in Mexico City. She wanted to buy some Sanchez-Kane, and she said, ‘Hey you should come to LA! I am going to produce this show,’ and it worked out 

What have you been working on lately? What is in your mind in regards to the way you work with clothing? 

When I did my last show, I was not ready. I am not sticking to fashion calendars to produce another collection so I was doing pop ups and some side projects. Let’s say in June, I presented what will be my Spring Summer 19 collection in Milan. Instead I did an art installation and a presentation instead of showing clothes. 

What other type of creative endeavors do your feel like extending the brand into?

I have been getting involved in art a lot, they invited me to something called ‘Bliss.’ Its a collective where they support women in arts. They were like, ‘I want you to do installations as an artist,’ I’m a designer you know, but I am kinda getting towards that way. Doing art installations, it can be a sculpture, it can be a video… I did one in this gallery a month ago called Archivo. I did an installation talking about what will happen in the future in Mexico City when we are 28 million and there is no landscape to build, so I did a floating house with this architect Solto. So I am getting involved in this world, and Mexico City, it’s a lot of people from around the world coming to live here, and there a lot of artists. It is a good clash.

Photo courtesy of Mezcal El Silencio

Photo courtesy of Mezcal El Silencio

Photos courtesy of Mezcal El Silencio