Walking into Filia Store in Mexico City's Juarez district feels like a utopic fever dream. What waits inside is a world designed by Daniela Navarrete, who's wandering eye for beauty and gore has led her to build a hub for emerging designers to showcase their creations. While working as a stylist, Navarrete recognized that the best next-gen brands often lacked physical spaces to present their pieces so, she made it her mission to create one herself.
Having spent a month in CDMX, walking up the hidden stairs to the shop, I found an amalgamation of everything the city is about: community, creativity and craft. Both DIY and succinctly purposeful, the ethos of Filia Store permeates the space attracting people intrinsically linked to its community and brands including Marián Roma, Novedades, Sabrina Ol, Corrina Goutos and Closet Children.
Keep reading to hear more about Mexico City style, independent designers worth watching and the alluring world of Filia Store.
What is your favorite spot in Mexico City?
That's a very hard one. There are many things happening and always someone creating something new. Many of those people are my close friends so, I go where the energy is flowing. If I have to choose one place, there is this park called Carpatos that is hidden under a bridge and it's really cute.
How did Filia Store start for you? What was the initial idea?
When I graduated college, I started doing styling and I met a lot of designers and creators that were doing things that I liked. But, at that moment, most of them only sold their stuff on Instagram so, most people had never seen their work in real life. I feel like it's very important to touch objects and garments and see them in person and I knew these designers were going to grow so, I wanted them to have a space to showcase their work.
Right now, these brands that at the beginning were just selling on Instagram, they now have a lot of spots internationally and that's amazing. As for the name, I was just browsing a Greek dictionary and "Filia" stood out. It means an "Abnormal attraction to a person, object or feeling." I liked it and the way it sounded, so we went from there.
Talk us through your methodology for curation. How do you find these designers and strike the perfect balance between the garments and objects you showcase?
I've asked this question to myself a lot and mostly it's instinct. I don't want to just choose things that I like, but I think the line that I have found most in common with these brands is that they are all new. Most of the designers are very young and they don't even know how taxes work, but they're starting a collection. I’ve been pretty lucky because many of these people are close to me and Filia has grown through word-of-mouth.
Are all of the designers based in Mexico?
All of them were based in Mexico when it started. But right now, I am trying to spread internationally. That's something great about this moment in history with the internet. There's a lot of negative things about the internet, but it's very helpful in that you can just send a message to someone you like and connect with people that are very far away.
Who are your favorite designers at Filia Store right now?
Novedades is a set designer who takes found materials like plastic bags from a grocery store and makes them into one off creations. I also think it reflects a lot of Mexican culture in that something that can be trash can now be a jacket. His pieces are fragile, they're more art than clothing and I think that's really cool.
I also really like Closet Children. They were the first international brand that I introduced and it feels special in that way. The designer does everything in her studio by herself and even though it's far away from Mexico City, I can see how her work is similar to the designers here.
Last, I love Corrina Goutos. She's doing things with shells and metal and mixing natural elements with the modern world. She uses old earphones to add movement to the necklaces and it's just amazing. It feels very accurate for our times.
What can you tell us about your recent campaign video, "Outter Beings From Inner Thoughts"?
The video was made in collaboration with directors Jimena Luja and Sol Rodríguez. For Jimena, the project is based on the idea of re-inhabiting a space where you grew up but felt uncomfortable to be in. The characters are imagined as aliens who, for random reasons, end up stranded in an "unknown" space. However, the characters seem to be comfortable inhabiting the space and exploring it. It all summons to the process of making long durable connections with friends that make you feel comfortable no matter the geographical contexts. Choosing friends as your family.
The music was produced by Orbe/Nacimiento, a new music duo that works very closely with Filia. The text that appears at the beginning is by a very talented poet and friend named Rebecca Leal Singer and the title was made by Ale Muñoz, a girl that I had been wanting to collaborate with for a long time.
What do you think is unique about Mexico City's creative and style communities?
I don't know how to describe it. I think it's very closely related to the lifestyle. There's a lot of culture here, a lot of parties and a lot of walking in the streets that are full of elements and colors so, I can see how that reflects in fashion. I have also noticed, community affects everything. I have a friend named Cami who puts on parties and we thought, the same people that are wearing all these brands are the people that go to her parties. So, there's a lot of authentic connection to community through the brands and creators that we all love. With a thriving community, style will always survive.
Is there anything that has surprised you about the community of people that come into your store as it's grown?
At the moment, the store is very hidden so, I'm just very curious about how other people get here. I feel like there has to be a mouth-to-mouth element. I always try to ask people how they found us and they always say through a friend and I like how that happens. It shows the appeal and the community we've grown.
What are your future dreams for the Filia Store world?
I'm really excited right now, because we are opening a new store in Juarez that is going to be a regular store in the street. Since our store is hard to find right now, a very specific person has to find it. I love that but I want to expand and welcome people that aren't necessarily in the fashion world or following us on Instagram to encounter these amazing independent designers. Hopefully, these designers can grow and start doing more things, too. I never thought about making Filia super big. I feel like it's always going to be something small, because that's the nature of it. I just want to grow it to a point where it's sustainable for other designers to keep making what they love.