NEWARK, Del. (WPVI) -- In a spare room turned sewing studio in her Newark, Del., home, Julieta Zavala is transforming colorful fabrics and threads into beautiful gowns, headbands and totes.
She uses textiles from Mexico and incorporates popular motifs from Mexican folklore along with the people and things iconic to her culture. Think cacti, mariachi bands and Frida Kahlo.
She also puts a big focus on sustainability, using recycled and upcycled materials to create her designs.
She crafted a corset, skirt and matching earrings from a plastic tablecloth. She also uses serape blankets and "whatever I can get my hands on."
Zavala came to the U.S. from Mexico City when she was 20 with plans to get her education and go home.
She had to learn English and get her high school diploma and, in the process, she met the man who would become her husband and the two had a son, now 8 years old.
She earned a degree in fashion from the Art Institute.
Her first big show was at the Penn Museum for the 2021 "CultureFest!", celebrating Día de los Muertos or Day of the Dead. She will present in this year's CultureFest! as well.
She also worked with Alba Martinez, creating 13 of the clothing designs you see on La Guagua 47, the film project focused on the Latino culture found all along SEPTA's Route 47 Bus Route.
She takes custom orders and sells her creations at pop-up markets all around the region.
When she started, her Mexican-themed designs were motivated by homesickness.
Now she hopes her pieces give other Mexican American immigrants a similar solace.
3260 South Street, Philadelphia, Pa. 19104
Saturday, October 29, 10am-4pm