If you’re concerned about the provenance of handcrafts and whether your purchase will genuinely benefit the craftsperson or artist who made it, then confine your shopping to FONART. This government-sponsored project ensures that all of its products were made by Mexican artists and that creators receive a fair rate for their work. Prices here are higher than you’ll find for similar goods sold in the city’s markets, but you can rest easy knowing that the hand-painted wooden chest, embroidered blouse, or black pottery from Oaxaca was made by a legitimate artisan who will receive payment for their craft.
Many of the Mexico City markets, especially La Ciudadela, sell huipiles, the loose-fitting, hand-embroidered blouses that many Mexican women traditionally wore. Sometimes, though, you can’t be sure of their provenance and quality isn’t always consistent. At FONART, the National Fund for the Development of Artisans, however, you can be sure that the huipiles and other pieces of clothing you’re buying, such as scarves, are handmade by artisans who are from Mexico, and that they’re crafted from the finest traditional materials. FONART has several stores in Mexico City, including one centrally located on Avenida Reforma near the Fiestamericana Hotel and this one near the Alameda on Avenida Juárez.
Artesanías at FONART
Known as Artesanías, traditional Mexican folk art is deeply tied to indigenous and national identities. Goods like embroidered textiles, painted ceramics, original jewelry and blown glass are characterized by bold colors, geometric patterns or natural motifs. An important and dwindling tradition, initiatives like FONART encourage craftsmanship through artisan training, retail selling and craft competitions. In contrast to the many craft outlets, FONART is said to supply the highest quality goods while providing the most support for the craftsmen! Regional artisans from rural communities are able to display their creations in Mexico City‘s retail locations and markets. Competitions encourage creativity and quality with an emphasis on tradition and sustainable materials. Each unique design can trace elements back through history from pre-Colombian times to European influences but every piece is unique. Checkout a National Fund for the Development of Arts and Crafts location the next time you’re in Mexico City!