Mexican indigenous community sues Zara


Artisans from Aguacatenando, in Chiapas, have issued a lawsuit against the Spanish clothing brand, Zara, for plagiarizing their traditional embroideries.

Their embroideries are worn in Aguacatenando by their inhabitants every day and are now sold in different parts of the world by Zara.

Thanks to a non-profit called “Impacto”, the artisans could issue the lawsuit after one their traditional embroideries were plagiarized by the Spanish brand.

Embroidery is not only an industry, but it’s also important to emphasize that for many communities, it’s a symbol of identity and consider that “it’s disrespectful because those embroideries belong to our ancestors, they were taught to us by our grandparents. It’s a tradition, it’s not fair for them to copy them”, said María Méndez.

In the Aguacatenando community, 8 out of 10 women live in poverty and what they harvest is not enough. That’s why their embroidery is so important, as it’s the main income source.

María Méndez, an artisan, says that the plagiarism “affects us greatly because people don’t want to buy from us, they can find it in a store or say they look similar”.

Nevertheless, the difference with artisanal embroideries is that they’re made by hand and take up to a week to complete; meanwhile, the commercial embroideries take minutes to make and are produced by machines.

In regards to prices, the difference is notable: a handmade embroidery costs MXN $400, although many times they have to sell it for MXN $200, and in a store, it would retail for MXN $599.

The plagiarism of the traditional Mexican designs is not new: according to Impacto, Oaxaca, Hidalgo, and Chiapas are the most affected states, as eight international brands have stolen their designs. The Inditex group, which owns Zara, has declined to comment.

Source: El Universal