A new report by the Financial Times clearly shows that Mexico has become firmly established as Latin America’s biggest luxury goods market, and that the sector is growing in this region at a rate that far outpaces North America, Asia, Australia and Europe.
In fact,Mexico passed Brazil in 2012 as Latin America’s largest market for luxury items. As the region’s second largest economy – which is also hot on Brazil’s heels in this area and poised to surpass at any moment – and the fifth largest emerging economy in the world with a GDP at around $1.2 trillion, the number of high-income earners in Mexico is expected to more than double over the next 10-15 years.
“With a young and booming middle class that spent over $4 billion last year on apparel, accessories and wine, wealth is now spreading into secondary and tertiary cities and international brands have been expanding their local footprint accordingly,” writes Elizabeth Patton, U.S. luxury and fashion correspondent for the Financial Times. “Brands are starting to stray beyond the confines of upmarket department stores to open boutiques and offer home delivery services to broaden product availability to new consumers.”
Of course, what this means for locals, expats and visitors alike is that shopping in Mexico’s big cities and popular resort towns is first-rate, with access to all of the world’s major international luxury brands, smaller labels and boutiques that specialize in couture pieces. In fact, shopping in Cancun,Playa,Cabo and other cities offers an unbelievable variety, considering there are also many locally owned shops, outdoor markets and indigenous items available for purchase.
Snapshot of the Fashion Industry in Mexico Today
Ever since the creation of the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in Mexico, is quickly emerging as a hotspot for manufacturing and designing cutting edge clothing for high-end fashion. In addition textile production still accounts for more than 1.2 percent of the nation’s annual GDP and remains its fourth largest manufacturing sector, providing employment for millions of Mexicans.
In fact,U.S.-based firm Benefit Apparel announced plans just a few months ago to invest upwards of $5 million to build a new plant in Mexico’s central western state of Jalisco, bringing at least 750 new jobs to the region.
Other designers find great inspiration from Mexico for their fashion creations, simply by living here part time or visiting fashion hotspots like Tulum,Cabo San Lucas,Puerto Vallarta and Playa del Carmen, on occasion. For example the Wall Street Journal reports that 27-year-old designer and former Project Runway star Christian Siriano found inspiration for his spring/summer 2014 collection while on a recent trip to Isla Mujeres, Mexico.
“I was really inspired by a trip I took to Isla Mujeres,” gushed Siriano backstage at his show. “I remember going to the markets and seeing these women making their own textiles, hand-knotting them. I thought that was so beautiful.”
And then there’s Cesar Galindo – the only U.S. Latino designer to present at the New York Mercedes Benz Fashion Week last February, who believes that more Latino designers will break onto the international scene in the in the near future.
“Latinos bring to fashion our vivid personalities, our fearless love of color, clothing for women of all sizes, and our energetic attitudes,” Galindo told Fox News. “I represent my family every day. I love what I do.”
A-Listers, Fashionistas & Industry Insiders
Situated just 75 miles south of Cancun along Mexico’s Caribbean coast, the hip, eco-chic town of Tulum has attracted a variety of fashion’s newest and most established icons in recent years, including Amanda Hearst of Marie Claire, Tom Mendenhall, COO of Tom Ford and Blk Dnm designer Johan Lindenberg, to name only a few. In fact, other notables spotted in Tulum include Bergdorf Goodman’s Linda Fargo,Francisco Costa from Calvin Klein and Michael Carl, fashion market director of Vanity Fair.
Renowned fashion photographer Mario Testino has even been buying up property in Tulum and surrounding areas in recent years, while male model Nicolas Malleville owns and operates Coqui Coqui, a local boutique hotel that has hosted Kate Bosworth, Ryan Phillippe, Neil Patrick Harris, Alexander Skarsgard, Sienna Miler and Michael Pitt,to name only a few of the many celebs that are regularly spotted throughout the region.
But Mexico’s eastern Caribbean coast is not the nation’s only place of choice for elite travelers and celebs. Over on the Pacific side, respected fashion designer Cynthia Rowley enjoys escaping to Punta Mita, which lies about 45 minutes northwest of Puerto Vallarta.
“Waking up in the morning and smelling the ocean breeze was inspiring and relaxing,” she told Travel Insider magazine. “I love surfing, and now I’m so excited that my daughter is into surfing too. She took lessons, and it was amazing watching her tackle the waves.”
Fashion magnate Fred Segal also loves Mexico’s Pacific side and just purchased a magnificent home in Cabo San Lucas this spring to prove it. Segal has helped launch brands such as Kate Spade and Juicy Couture, in addition to his own many creations. Now in his 80’s, the fashion icon has been visiting Cabo regularly for many years and already owns several other properties in the area.
“The couple purchased a three-bedroom,3 and a half bath condo listed for $1.795 million", reports the Wall Street Journal. “The unit is over 2,000 square feet, has its own infinity-edge swimming pool and Jacuzzi, an outdoor bar and barbecue, and lush landscaping, including an outdoor fountain.”