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Carla Fernández Tena

Founder, Carla Fernández

The pioneering designer and social justice activist is helping to preserve the diverse textile heritage of Mexico's indigenous communities.


Carla Fernández is a designer, activist and founder of the fashion brand of the same name.

A pioneering figure in her native Mexico, Fernández has been at the forefront of the ethical fashion movement for years. Through a diverse range of collaborations with 200 artisans across 16 Mexican states, she helps document and preserve the rich textile heritage of Mexico's indigenous communities through her brand. One of her three stores in the country, the Calle Marsella location in Mexico City, doubles as a home for folk art, promoting the work of indigenous, mestizo and Afro-Mexican communities. Blending the avant-garde with ancient handicrafts and sustainable sourcing practices, her signature style has earned her a cult following across Latin America.

A champion of the square-and-rectangular panel silhouettes, geometric patterns and traditional techniques of her home country, Fernández is a 'designer's designer' who has used her shows and presentations to critique the global fashion system for more than two decades.  Her motto is: “Death to planned obsolescence, which renders expendable all it draws into its abyss of waste.” In 2018, she presented her manifesto 'Fashion as Resistance' at the Victoria & Albert (V&A) in London, alongside pieces from five collections highlighting the designer's commitment to decolonisation, intersectionality and social justice. The same year, Fernández was the recipient of Design Miami’s Design Visionary Award. In 2023, she was the subject of an exhibition at La Galerie du 19M, Chanel’s Metiers d’Art centre in Paris.

Vital Statistics

29 January 1973


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The people shaping the global fashion industry, curated by the editors of The Business of Fashion, based on nominations and on-the-ground intelligence from around the world.