Sofia Contreras-Paredes – MEÜS
Sofía, Please tell a little about yourself. Where are you from? How did you decide to become a fashion designer? Why textiles? Why believing in Guatemalan design?
I has born December 8th, in Guatemala city. I grew up with two brothers. With creative parents, it was obvious that at least one of us would end up following a creative career. I remember drawing and drawing and drawing… Eventually, the practice and other things led me to a Fashion Academy. The plan was to see if I actually liked it and if yes, which area. I fell in love with all of them, except marketing and commerciality.
For textiles, it was all because of Anita Evenepoel. She made me see textiles as a new world. I came to realize fashion silhouettes weren’t innovative. Innovation and development happened through textiles. One experiment took me to the next one and now, MEÜS is characterized by that.
It is amazing to see so much creative talent. But sadly, so many chose to stay in something “safe” and comfortable.” I believe one day, the ones that took the hard path and succeed, will be enough proof to the others that it can be done. If I can do it while i’m still growing and learning, why can’t they? I believe in a collective future, our work is made through collaborations. We can give some of them a chance to show their talent with a safety net of not doing it alone.
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Now, talk to us about MEÜS. How the idea was born?
I always knew i did not want a “Fashion Brand”. For me, creativity can not be limited to one discipline, so why not a “Creative Entity”? Divided in 3 areas, which are Design, Education and Collaborations. I see MEÜS as a tool that Guatemalan creatives can use to create/ share with and learn from.
MEÜS is the latin word for MINE. The perfect scenario: you are walking down the street, someone comes and says “I love your sweater, from whom is it?” – and you reply its MINE. Not because you bought it, but because you saw yourself in it and that made it yours.
How is it MEÜS different from other brands?
Easy, we are NOT a brand.
What is the biggest challenge when it comes to working with textiles and artisans?
Understanding that we all have our methods, we all work differently. It is a lot of learning, listening and exchanging knowledge. You can’t go with a mental state of “i’m just ordering something or demanding.” It is a process that does not end with a final product or textile but with a creative bond between the 2.
Why is supporting artisans so import for you?
It is not only artisans, but creative people in general. We believe that innovation comes from merging talents. Let’s take artisans. Because they take their time in each piece and working with hands is what they love, just like us. Why not collaborate with someone that relates so much to your work? It is a chance to merge talent and present their work with a contemporary approach. We’re able to bring them to new markets and opportunities.
Which one is your biggest achievement with MEÜS?
To have a team. A one person company is so limited. Finding people living by the same principles and valuing work and understanding what MEÜS is and does… It’s magic. No words can describe how it feels to come to our study and have friends working to make things happen!
What’s next for Sofía Contreras-Paredes?
For me as an individual, I want to teach. MEÜS #Metamorfosistextil workshops made me want more of that “sharing knowledge.”