Tótem Tienda Brings Mexican Designers to NYC

Tótem Tienda Brings Mexican Designers to NYC

By Joan SummersDec 19, 2023

Tótem Tienda, Los Angeles’ cult favorite style haunt for emerging designers, has once again brought its offerings to Canal Street Market.

Running through December 24, the pop up highlights the work of Mexican creatives. Founder Cesár Alvarez tells PAPER that through Tótem Tienda, he hopes to “create an authentic narrative about the new wave of creatives and how we navigate a globalized world.”

With the holidays looming, Tótem’s pop up is perfect for last minute party outfits and gifts, with brands like Paloma Lira, Tanamachi, Baby Angel, Charms by Moi and more. Alvarez says, “These brands have been featured in Tótem Tienda for years, and we are expanding to bring in emerging NYC-based designers in the coming weeks and months.

His favorite piece on display right now? “I love all the Sentimiento pieces. They are so unique. In curating the store over the past years, I get to see a glimpse into each designer's process, and it is exciting to share that with customers.”

A space for these designers has never felt more urgent, as the boundaries between fashion trends, online aesthetics and cultural heritage continue to collapse. In a recent feature for Elle Mexico, Alvarez wrote that the current wave of independent designers curated by Tótem “is not opposed to making globally relevant design, but neither does it try to make a ‘traditional’ representation of Latin-American culture as one might think.”

Similarly, he tells PAPER: “Despite being a part of global trends, our community has a different touch on the fashion world without having to fall into the cliché of what is considered Latinx.”

As Alvarez sees it, “We love our culture and traditions, but we also have been influenced by other cultures and communities, so our work is a reflection of that reality.”

Aside from its NYC pop ups, Tótem maintains a more permanent presence in LA. “When we were in Los Angeles, there was a lot more familiarity with the Mexican and Chicano experience, but in NYC, we have found that a lot of our customers are less familiar but eager to learn,” Alvarez says. "A lot of our customers at Canal Street Market have left with more of an understanding of our world, and that has been really special for us."

You can shop Tótem Tienda’s offerings in New York at 265 Canal Street through December 24 and at totemtienda.com.

Photos courtesy of Tótem Tienda

Photography: Julian Camilo
Styling and creative: César Álvarez
Makeup: Alejandro Zavala
Models: Luke Gezelle and Delvin Wintour
Photo assistant:
Felipe Duque