How did you find out that you want to be a fashion designer?

Since I was a child, I really loved playing with dolls, and I even started creating their own dresses with paper and everything I could find. Also, I enjoyed going with my father to the Sunday market, and I started buying shoes and everything for the dolls. That was something that really got me excited since I was a child,

Then, I started to realize, when I grew up, that it was something that I could do for a living. And I realized that my mother was like a fashion designer! She even did her own wedding dress. So that also really pushed me to go through this decision to become a fashion designer.

Guillermo Jester’s brand is about timeless pieces with sustainable values that people of all genders can wear.

I know that most of your work focuses on genderless fashion. How do you define genderless fashion?

For me, genderless is way more than a neutral aesthetic. For me, genderless means that it could be any type of garment. It can be a dress, it can be pants, it can be a shirt, it can be anything, but for everybody, without thinking of gender.

That is something that I really like to talk about and to show in my collections because, in the beginning, I used to do the type of unisex clothing that is gender-neutral. But then I realized that it was very important to showcase this type of fashion. I mean, society is the one that puts this social charge on each garment and says that something is only for women or is only for men. And for me, fashion is for everybody, and clothing should be for everyone, and we should be able to wear whatever we want, whatever we like with our own identity and style. So that’s why I like to showcase specifically that this is genderless. And we like to flow between feminine and masculine aesthetics for everyone.

This Hispanic Heritage Month, Political Fashion celebrates the work of genderless fashion designer, Guillermo Jester.

Many people think genderless fashion is just for non-binary people or the LGBTQ+ community. But you’re saying that genderless fashion is for everyone so that we can all let go of labels and stereotypes. Is that correct?

Yes, exactly! Of course, it’s very important for me to showcase this type of fashion because I identify as non-binary. And you find in many brands that they’re specifically for women or for men. It’s also very important to show in my brand that, of course, we like to talk about non-binary identities, but for sure, it’s literally for everyone. People who identify as women or identify as men. Everybody can wear a dress. Everybody can wear any type of garment. It’s about having the freedom to wear whatever we want.

Collaboration with artisans with lots of experience make the genderless fashion pieces unique.

In this huge world of fashion, you decided to focus on this very specific area of fashion, which is genderless fashion. What kind of opportunities did you see when you entered the fashion world in Mexico, specifically? Do you feel that people are ready and want genderless fashion? Do you think that there are other designers that are going in this direction?

Genderless fashion has been in the world for a really long time. Jean Paul Gaultier is one of my main inspirations. He’s unique in the way he designs and showcases everything, and he is very disruptive. And I really love that. So that is something I want to show in my collections and my brand. For me, breaking the rules and making people feel uncomfortable with what they see is a goal for me.

For me, changing the world and changing fashion is something we need. We need people to start feeling uncomfortable and not just going with the same things that we have been seeing over and over again in the fashion world. It can be a struggle. It can be a challenge. But for me, it’s a strength of my brand. And I don’t know, probably Mexico is not ready for it, but for me very important to go against this because culture in Mexico can be very sexist sometimes, and that is also something that I wanted to fight against through fashion. I believe it’s our political statement to start changing the rules and we start changing society’s perception of this.

Genderless fashion is about appreciating clothes regardless of who you are.

In many of your designs, the fabric is the main character. You work with fabrics that are super rich in texture and beautifully crafted. So for you, what comes first, the design or the textile?

It really depends. Something that is very important for the brand is our collaborations with the artisans, mainly in Chiapas with the traditional artisans.

So, for example, for the hand-pleated dresses regularly at first, like our first samples, I do have a bunch of pleated fabric. And then I just start mapping out in a mannequin or trying to figure out how to create a new design. Also, it is very important for me that there isn’t any waste on the pleats. I really want to use all the fabric that has been pleated specifically for this design.

Fashion designer Guillermo Jester collaborates with artisans to create unique textiles.

So in production, we’ve already figured out how much fabric we need for a specific dress and how many pleats, etc. And also, we do a lot of experimentation in the handcrafted part of it. When we work with the artisans, we experiment with the embroidery or the hand-woven backstrap loom. We like to do this experimentation on new drawings or embroideries in textiles, the different types of lines, or brocading. So we try to do these experiments in the first parts of the design. And after this process, we just start curating the final design, and that’s how we do it. So it’s very important for us this collaboration part, because then with the experimentation, wonderful things happen in between.

It’s amazing that you are working with genderless fashion, and then also with wonderful craftspeople, and then also caring about sustainability and being innovative, because that’s super important in the fashion world. So there are many aspects you consider in the development of your brand. What has been the biggest challenge for you?

At first, probably be open to change, because I mean, now we can talk about all these things we have developed for the brand and all these very characteristic elements. But a while ago, when I started the brand, I really wanted everything to be very straightforward in the things that I wanted to do. Then I realized that you have to be very open to change, which is one statement that became part of the brand, and we try to practice it through all the processes and in the designs created. And I believe, as a society, that is something that people really could be against, or it’s very difficult for people to change or accept change. So that’s why we embrace it. It is an important aspect of the brand now. So I would say that being open to change is the most challenging thing for me as a designer.

Latinx artists with a strong voice to share with the world: Guillermo Jester.

How do you see your brand in the next five years?

I’m already selling to the USA and other countries, not that much, but people are starting to find me on our website or on Instagram, and they have started buying clothes from the brand and everything. But I would really like to have a strong presence in other countries. Not just as something superficial. I want this to be an opportunity to showcase all the handcraft and cultural identity that happens across all our collaborations. 

One of my main goals is for people to start learning more about the processes and caring about the people behind every item. To understand the price behind it. Many people say, “oh, it’s made in Mexico. It has to be cheaper.” No! You have to start thinking about all the people that is behind all the handcraft and the cultural identity that is in between. So for me, having a strong presence in other countries is also to showcase all the work that is behind the brand and also the handcraft of all the women that we work with.

“It is very important for me that there isn’t any waste on the pleats.” Guillermo Jester

Specifically, as you mentioned, there are still a lot of prejudices, even with just pursuing a creative career. What would be a piece of advice that you would tell emerging fashion designers in Latin America? 

Never stop learning. Try to learn whatever you can from wherever you find it. Nowadays, on the Internet, you can find so many courses, or you can find on Youtube a lot of information, a lot of history. Research is a very important part of the creative process.

And also, I think that I would say go against the rules. People tell you, “blue is for men, pink is for women.” Totally go against that and just follow your heart and do whatever you really want to do in fashion, like, with no guidelines, go ahead and break the rules.

Alexander McQueen used to say. I want to know the rules so that I can break them. 

Yeah, I totally agree with that.

See more of Guillermo Jester’s work at:

Photography Ricardo Chávez @regionmt

Latex Collab @histeryadesigns

MUA Ingrid Mejía @iingru

Models Valentina Morales @valentina_msolis & Fernanda Avaria @feravariaa @newiconmodels

Stylists and Production Assistants Andrea Calderoni @aandorea y Zabdi Blanco @zabdiblanco

Footwear @colectivocreativodemoda @ant.officialbrand

Stylist and Production Guillermo Jester @guijester