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Wear San Miguel, Wear Sindashi! By Jan Bowen

If you’ve walked San Miguel’s Centro district, you couldn’t wander far without poking your head into Sindashi on Hernandez Macias street near the corner of Canal. The creator of Sindashi, Angela Nasta says, "When art and fashion meet, a Sindashi garment is born.” Sindashi literally means "White Paper,” in the Otomi language. “The idea stems from starting fashion as a blank canvas,” explained Nasta. This fashion boutique is not for the faint of heart!

Each garment is hand-painted by one of 27 local artists, as well, 66 women painstakingly provide all of the beading and embroidery. The beading and embroidery techniques have been passed down through many generations. Fabrics used include, cottons, linen, wools, velvets and denim. The majority of the hand-painted artwork on the clothing is inspired by pre-Hispanic Mexico, including images from the Maya, Aztec, Otomi, Olmec, Mixtec, Toltec, and Zapotec civilizations. Every effort is made to create a garment to best enhance the modern woman’s sense of femininity. In an effort to provide for the gentlemen, several of their painted dresses also have available matching dress shirts for men.

While browsing around the various rooms of the store, you will notice the predominance of jaguars, hummingbirds and dragons, as well as flowers. The jaguar is cross-culturally a symbol of power. The hummingbird is said to be a messenger of God, and the dragon, called Quetzalcoatl is known as the flying snake. Flowers are to honor the Catrina. The colors in each garment appear to bring each symbol to life. No two items are exactly the same. After the painting process is complete, each piece is hand signed by the specific artist. Again, definitely not meant for the timid or shy.

Fifty percent of the primary buyers of these special outfits are people from Mexico City and Monterrey, Mexico, (and of course San Miguel de Allende) reported Marco Antonio Gonzalez, store manager. The other half are generally purchased by tourists from all around the world. Sindashi even ships their special garments to a shop in Holy Modene, Italy. We can only assume many of these pieces are purchased, and then find new homes all over the world. How exciting is that? To share a part of San Miguel with fashion conscious people globally.

Sindashi’s essential signature piece is displayed at the front of the store. It is generally a one-size-fits-all garment and what Sindashi refers to as a “short cape”. It comes in a wide variety of bold colors with beads dangling around the bottom. It simply slips over the head with a one button closure. It looks wonderful worn with a basic solid tee shirt and jeans. Then the same piece can be added to the most elegant outfit for a fancier evening out on the town. Having something like this should be in every women’s closet. It’s perfect for our local weather with our cooler evenings. This writer actually owns three garments from Sindashi – a double breasted winter coat, a pair of jeans, and a gorgeous longer, wrap around cape. All hand-painted, one of a kind originals. During a trip to Texas a friend and I went to a music venue with several of her friends, including her boss. I wore jeans and my beautiful Sindashi cape. My friends’ boss absolutely fell in love with my cape and would not take “no” for an answer to purchase it right off my back.

I really didn’t want to sell it, however she offered me double the price. As soon as I returned home to SMA, I quickly replaced my cape. I do have to admit, I look back on the experience and preferred the original wrap. Lesson learned. Sometimes you just need to say no. The compliments abound when wearing one of their creations. I feel very blessed to be one of the lucky owners.

Right now the store is displaying a new collection inspired by the famous Mexican Artist, Pedro Coronel. The colors and designs from his artwork can be found displayed in similar fashion on longer capes as well as light weight wraps. If you Google his work, which I did, you can easily see where the new patterns and colors are the muse for these new garment designs. You just have to check them out at Calle del Dr. Ignacio Hernandez Macias #83A.

Jan Bowen is a local artist working in multi-media and re-purposed fashion items.

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