Designer Daniela Bustos Maya may be from Argentina but it’s her connection with Mexico that fuels her eponymous label. What started out as a jewelry line using antique Mexican coins and an ancient Yucatan technique of thread-weaving has evolved into a label spanning clothing, home décor and accessories.
Pleasing neutrals—think creams, beiges and greys—dominate her collections of bed linens, dresses, hats and more, while her jewelry line tends to experiment with different colored threads, like orange, blue and yellow. Above all, it’s a love for artisanal workmanship and cultural traditions that defines the brand’s aesthetic. Shop Latitude chats with the founder about her work.
How did you come up with the concept for your jewelry?
I designed my collection with the intention of reutilizing something from a specific period, a time when it once had great importance but today is forgotten. I visit antique stores and homes to collect 20th century coins with beautiful symbols and engravings of Mexican heroes. When people discover my collection and see the coins they tell me stories of their youth and anecdotes surrounding these unique coins.
Each coin is hand-crocheted into the threads that have been used for centuries in traditional hammocks from the Yucatan Peninsula. To make each piece requires old traditional techniques and is only possible by those women that continue to work with this technique.
What is the inspiration behind your collections?
I am inspired by old traditional markets… the colors, the indigenous people who walk through the markets with their hipiles, much like their grandmothers and ancestors who wore the same clothing. I am also inspired by the color of the sea, the green forest, and the beautiful colors of tropical fruits.
What is your connection to the Yucatan Peninsula?
I visited the Yucatan Peninsula for the first time over 10 years ago, but from that moment I knew this was my destiny, my home! I will always be very proud of my origin—my country, which I adore, Argentina—but that being said, I now feel interlaced into Mexico’s complex identity.
What is the best part of collaborating with Mayan women?
Each one of them, while they crochet, tells me stories, just like their mothers told them. They share techniques that have been passed down from generation to generation. With them I work on renovating techniques, always incorporating new designs, and creating pieces that maintain the tradition but are for a modern woman.
Where are your favorite places to shop in Mexico?
I love markets that offer meat/food while at the same time (at times right next to them) shoes, books, candles and religious statues. I love the contrast. I love Coqui Coqui in Valladolid and Merida, Common People in Mexico City, Bobo Style Shop in San Miguel de Allende and Playa del Carmen. Excellent and beautiful boutiques!
Which are your favorite items from your jewelry line?
I love them all! Each one is special and has multiple functions. You can wear some as a necklace and as a belt; others are necklaces that can be worn as a bracelet or anklet. This is what makes my collection fun—the mix of functions that allows you to use your own creativity.