Maggie Galton and Maria Eladia Hagerman are two chic women that share a passion for design and the culture of Mexico's indigenous communities. Together this American art historian and Mexican designer are giving a cool contemporary twist to centuries old traditions of Mexican craft. The fact that they are combining their own sophisticated taste level and worldly views to influence design in artisan communities, means you will be coveting everything they make for your own home and be as excited as we are to share these unique wares as gifts for all of our friends. We were lucky enough to get Maggie and Maria to share their personal stories and what inspired them to create this exceptional lifestyle brand.
Describe in your own words the Onora Casa brand?
We design and create luxurious hand crafted textiles and objects designated for the home in collaboration with Mexican artisans. Onora honors the time and mastery dedicated to the creation of each object and we value the story behind and cultural weight of each product... We offer a Mexican lifestyle that is casual, contemporary and cosmopolitan.
How, when and where did you start your brand?
Maggie Galton, a NYC born and bred art historian turned designer living in Mexico was approached by Maria Eladia Hagerman, a Mexican designer living in Los Angeles in 2011 with the idea of creation a Mexican concept store in LA. After two years of brain storming and planning, they decided on a Mexican based brand and boutique in the capital's Polanco neighborhood. The company was formed in December 2013 and the store was inaugurated one year later in December 2014.
Can you share your previous work experience and how it helped you to create your own brand?
Maggie - I worked for 13 years in different NGOs and non-profit organizations helping artisans revive dying craft traditions and running programs that innovate traditional designs throughout Mexico. I found these programs very inspiring but I felt that the circle was incomplete as the focus was on revival and innovation and the commercial side of the equation was always left out. I realized that the only way these craft traditions have a chance of surviving is by creating formal commercial relationships that promise constant supply and demand. That's when I decided to form Maggie Galton Design and a few years later I met my business partner and Co-founder of Onora , Maria Eladia Hagerman, who shared my vision and values and it was immediate chemistry.
Maria - I was born and raised in Mexico City. Despite that, I think I inherited my parents' way of looking through foreign eyes. My father is a Spanish/Swedish immigrant and my mother a Mexican/Cuban. As a family, my parents, my five siblings and I traveled tgether all over Mexico by car; which allowed us the opportunity to explore the deeper layers of Mexico. I studied graphic design and specialized in corporative image and publishing until I moved to Los Angeles with my husband and kids. That's when I started my life as a globetrotter; following my husband along with my children wherever he decided to film a movie. As a result, I learned how to transform each location into our temporary home and submerge myself in the local culture. This vagabond life and nostalgia for my country made me look again for my roots and stirred within me the desire to show the wonders of Mexican talent to the world.
What or who are some of your endless inspirations?
The cultural traditions, textiles, objects iconography and music of the diverse indigenous groups throughout Mexico with whom we work. The intense scents of Mexico that permeate different areas from the Pre-Hispanic incense known as copal burned in churches and the city's Zocalo to the smells of crackling corn beign roasted over hot coals in the local market.
How does travel inspire your collection?
Everything that involves travle- scent, sight, smell. New visual textures and lanscapes are our greatest source of inspiration.
Can your share your top three favorite spots for eating, drinking, and shopping in Mexico City?
For traditional Mexican food, I love this slow food family run 57 year old Cantina called Nico's. The chef, Gerardo Vasquez sources all local and organic ingredients and all of the food is very straightforward, delicious, and non-pretentious.
I know everyone says the same restaurant for seafood but COntramar is hands down the best. Gaby Camera has created an amazing spot with consistent good vibes, constant movement filler with the most eclectic crowd from hipster curators to corporate big wigs. Most importantly, the food is always fabulous.
For delicious Oaxacan dishes with a sophisticated edge, I enjoy a small restaurant tucked away in the Roma called Yuban. DO not missed the amazing Mezcal cocktails!
For drinks I like the Cantina Riviera in the Roma, the bar at the Hotel Condesa is a classic and always has good energy and yummy cocktails.
Lastly a friend of mine, Paola Santoscoy who is an importatnt curator and director of The Eco Museum in Mexico City, just opened a cool bar in the Juarez called Bucardón.
For shopping, I love all the clothes designed by Francisco Cancino for the label Yakampot. I like to shop for contemporary design at the new boutque called Taxonomia in the Hotel Carlota and I always find some new chachki at La Lagunilla - the Sunday flea Market.