AP Photos: Guatemalan-born fashion designer shows off her creations in Texas

The Guatemalan-born designer combined indigenous textile techniques, modern clothing design, and the colorful history of her native country in a modern runway show in Texas. The show sampled not only Elena de Leon’s artistic vision, but also the work of Guatemalan mothers, including some living in the United States and others who stayed in their country to support their families.

The Fashion Museum of the Americas in Brownsville hosted the May 12th event with advice from the Guatemalan consulate in nearby McAllen and in Maryland, where de Leon lives after immigrating to the United States a few seven years ago.

“I am a woman who thinks about the needs of her community and the Guatemalan people,” De Leon commented before models dressed in garments woven by Guatemalan women walked the runway.

Flashes flashed throughout the parade, applause and cheers in this frontier town as women, children and men marched to cheerful music, dressed in intricately woven garments of deep red, which adorned their blouses and ladies’ skirts or men’s tunics.

“Each of her textiles tells a story. Color has meaning, and so does each of the regions,” said Rosario Ovando, the Guatemalan consul in Macalene.

About 200 women of Guatemalan descent who live in the United States or their country of origin work with De León to sell her products.

“Women are also the ones who pass on culture, they pass on language. They pass on traditions,” Ovando declared. “There are many traditions in our country and many women who have this magic in their hands.”

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