There’s a new brand making its way to the U.S. from south of the border — Deeohs. Launched by brothers Diego and Jaime Guemes, who learned the art of shoemaking in their family’s factory in Leon, Mexico, the brand is a men’s and women’s collection inspired by the weaving techniques of traditional Mexican huaraches.
According to the founders, the shoes’ uppers are handcrafted by local artisans, helping to keep the art of shoemaking alive in the region. While the collection offers classic huarache sandals, it also features modern sneaker silhouettes detailed with colorful woven touches including slip-on and ankle boots.
The line first debuted in Japan and Europe in fall 2016, and is now available online to customers in the States. Retail prices range from $105 to $170, with free shipping available.
Here, Diego Guemes, creative director and designer, shares his thoughts on Mexico’s fashion scene and where they draw their inspiration.
FN: What are some of the greatest influences on Mexican street fashion?
DG: “America and Europe. For decades, we seemed to get trends from the U.S. one to two seasons after it crested stateside. In most cases we saw a watered down version in Mexico. That’s changed in recent years with the explosion of social media, especially Instagram, which is extremely popular in Mexico. We’re now able to see trends as they’re happening on a global scale. The issue has always been access. You don’t see the collaborations, designer brands or new innovations in Mexican stores at the same time they launch globally. The affluent Mexicans who can afford to fly to the U.S. do so to shop, or have relatives and resellers who send [goods] to them. But to the average Mexican, street fashion in more about taking what you see a style icon you follow or a trend you see, and pulling the look together from familiar brands available in our country. There’s also a big mixing of local artisans, traditional Mexican fashion, and our own crop of up-and-coming Mexican street wear designers. And that’s exactly what we did with Deeohs — we mixed our traditional shoe with contemporary global fashion trend.”
FN: What do you hope to accomplish with Deeohs in the marketplace?
DG: “Without question, our goal is to be Mexico’s first global sneaker brand. We don’t have lofty thoughts of being a goliath like Jordan, Nike or Adida,s but we see Deeohs as a niche brand like Filling Pieces, Clae, Vans Vault, or Buscemi, with strong cult followings. Our first collection is a starting point. We have the ability to expand on our concept with our factories. We can go high-end with fabrication, create new ideas on different outsoles, bring new materials into our collections and constantly evolve. We would love to be recognized in the sneaker community for a unique idea and execution, create new trends for fashion and be sold at top retailers like Kith, Undefeated and Barneys New York. On the other hand, we also want to set the foundation for upcoming Mexican brands and designers, and let them know that it’s possible to reach global markets with a good idea, dedication, and hard work. We don’t want people to see Mexico only as a place with cheap hand labor, we want them to see us as creators of innovation, design and ideas too.”
FN: Where do you draw inspiration from for Deeohs?
DG: “It’s all about the huarache that’s been used by our ancestors for centuries and then in the Mexican civil war when farmers from the countryside defended their land in these shoes. Like any icon, the huarache went through phases from functional to common to casual to novelty. Most of the world knows it as a beach sandal they picked up on vacation, but the Japanese market really embraced the style a few years ago as part of a California look and the item [as fashion] really exploded.”