Everyone wants to go home with a few gifts and souvenirs from their Cancun vacation. During a visit to Coral Negro or Plaza La Fiesta, visitors will find tequila, t-shirts, silver, beach bags and all of the other usual suspects.
However, for the traveler looking for something special, a gift or souvenir that you will use and treasure for years to come, a tiny bit of extra effort is required. If you're willing to venture out of the Hotel Zone and spend a little more money, you'll find special items at Atelier FOLK.
Downtown on Bonampak Avenue, just down the road from the entrance to the Hotel Zone, is Ateliaer FOLK, the dream-come-true creation of Guille Martinez y Tania Amaro, both lovers of their country of Mexico and its culture and fashion. In their small boutique, each item was chosen with tender care.
Atelier FOLK is a dream come true for its owners — Photo courtesy of Kristin Busse
Not only does the shop sell handcrafted clothing, bags and other items, but designer Martinez also creates beautiful and unique ready-to-wear wedding gowns, formal dresses and menswear. They also carry an exquisite corporate gift line.
All of the merchandise is created by Mexican designers, which include Jaguar Dorado, an art, design and textile workshop; Maria Patrona, a line of handbags; Arroz con Leche, a handmade children's clothing line; Lydia Lavin, a contemporary Mexican design house; and Silvia Suarez, Yakampot, La Troupe, Malvanemona and Kuss Kuss, women's clothing lines.
Others include Yema Textiles, a home decor line which produces hand-stamped fabrics; Tisu, a mother and daughter that have created their own jewelry line; Malandra, a fine jeweler; Ikluuk, a Cancun mother who creates crocheted items; Marian Pani Cusia, an interior designer who creates fine products working with craftsmen and women in Quintana Roo; and Harris and Frank, a Mexican company that produces high-quality menswear from Italian, Austrian and English fabric.
Atelier FOLK sells items that you won't find at the market or in souvenir shops — Photo courtesy of Kristin Busse
All of the brands that Atelier FOLK carries are Mexican owned and operated. Most designs incorporate traditional Mexican embroidery, which is done by indigenous members of the community, who are paid fairly for their work. In general, the designers are committed to fair trade, communication and a mutually beneficial relationship between the designers and craftsmen.
The result is a fashionable combination of the traditional and modern, where past meets present. Many items incorporate cultural icons like artist Frida Kahlo or Dia de Los Muertos ("Day of the Dead") calaveras ("skulls").
The skilled craftsmen and their different traditional embroidery techniques come from all over Mexico, including Quintana Roo, Yucatan, Chiapas, Oaxaca, Puebla and include members of the Mayan, Nahuas, Tzotziles and Tzeltales indigenous communities.
Atelier FOLK is located at the corner of Bonampak Avenue and Cereza Street in downtown Cancun.
Some items incorporate Mexican cultural icons — Photo courtesy of Kristin Busse