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Making up nearly two-thirds of Oaxaca's population, the Mixtec and Zapotec are definitely "maximalists," with high respect for craftsmen and the work they do. No handwoven cloth is ever wasted in Oaxacan clothing. Draping square pieces with elaborate designs and embroidery dominate Mixtec and Zapotec clothing. They are big and beautiful. 

Mixtec women wore blouses like this (left) tucked into long gathered skirts in Oaxaca City in the late 1950s. Urban Oaxacans were often forced under minority rule to abandon Indigenous lifeways to follow fashion and city laws that restricted the way they wore their clothes.


The Mixtec designer who made this blouse cut the curved sleeves and yoke after fashionable 1950s warm-weather tops. The embroidery on this blouse demonstrates the labor it takes and asserts the designer's skill and identity. 

Blouse, 1959

Origin: Mixtec

Material: cotton

Location: Oaxaca City

This huipil (right) is a great example of the Mixtec and Zapotec design aesthetic. The entire piece of woven cloths is used when making huipiles. Each huipil panel is about 1.5 feet wide and 3 feet long, and there are four of them. It's a big, beautiful garment that drapes over the body in textured folds. The embroidery is how the designer honors their hometown or the social status of someone in their community.


Huipil, 1961

Material: cotton, synthetic

Location: Oaxaca City (sold), Yalalag, Oaxaca (created)

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