Fashion designer Carlos often considered politics; however, it was not until Enrique Peña Nieto was elected, and the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) took power again, that he began to make politics central to his designs. Comparable to the effects of Donald Trump’s election has had in the United States, for Carlos, the return of the PRI was a decisive moment in recognizing the failings of Mexican politics.
Carlos, born in Acapulco, always knew that he would work in the creative industry. He began by studying graphic design in Mexico City and that quickly led to a focus on fashion. Shortly after graduating, he starting his brand, Deerton. “I was used to separating my creative work from my personal views,” Carlos told The News. He didn’t think that the two should necessarily interact. “With the election of Peña Nieto in 2012, things changed,” Carlos said. “I felt like there was little I could do, but at least I could have some control by incorporating these issues into my art.”
In his 2017 Spring-Summer collection, he took a risk. He began to explore certain themes in his designs, such as Ayotzinapa, the Peña Nieto presidency and state violence, in order to “respond in some way” to power structures. In the captions of his photos on social media, he writes hashtags like, “ya me cansé,” or “fue el estado.” Although the designs are graphic and deal with not always crowd-pleasing subjects, Carlos says that his designs are positively received by a public that “empathizes with these issues.”
Regarding his process, he says that when ideas come to him, he tries to simplify and refine them, and then he looks for a way to materialize them. Then his designs take shape with his partner.
Although what appears in the runway and in lookbooks connotes traumatic experiences, Deerton designs explore these issues in a more subdued way in the ready-to-wear pieces. In his lookbook, there is a T-shirt with Peña Nieto’s house printed on it, mocking its size and power. “But sometimes people do not know what it is.” In these prints, Carlos wanted to criticize the military presence and the relationship that the population has with the president in a less obvious way.
In his 2014 winter collection, Carlos collaborated with the artist/photographer PJ Rountree. “PJ Rountree sees Mexico in a peculiar way,” and those images inspired him to see Mexico in a different way. He used PJ Rountree’s photographs to inspire his designs, trying to show a different Mexico.
Part of a new generation of artists, many of whom are starting to question the status quo through their work and defying beauty ideals and asking for accountability. Deerton is attracting consumers who question injustices in Mexico and think differently. Their designs have been featured in NAAFI shows, and you can find them in RIP by Rosa Pistol in Juárez, Mexico City.
You can find more information on Deerton’s Facebook page here.