Converse Shoes with some "Sole"

"It's about the rescue of culture and traditions, art and Mexican talent"

A group of Mexican artisans yesterday offered a sample of their work at a shopping center in the Mexican capital, where they introduced a unique type of brand shoes to customers that are painted with art from their indigenous culture, and at the same time are helping their community in the southern state of Oaxaca.

"This is a way to bring them closer to their customers, so that they can begin to learn more about them", said Florencia Gallino to EFE, who is the office manager for Converse's social responsibility division in Mexico.

So, over traditional Converse brand shoes, these indigenous Mixtec artisans paint and embody their culture as part of the "Painting Steps" project, which this year celebrates a decade of its existence.

"Each model has a great historical and cultural load that has been inherited from different generations, which are mostly stories from the region, anecdotes and legends," explained to Efe Ildefonso Lopez, who is a member of the "Grabadores Mixtecos Unidos", which is an organization that is made up of 13 artisans.

"We work with the flora and fauna of our region. Each model is different and is signed by the artist," added Lopez.

In Lopez's point of view, the fusion of large companies with local artisans is "very important" because they help out the artists, their community and culture in general.

Each pair of shoes is unique because it is painted by hand and it takes about five days of labor for an artist, reason of why its market price is 3,000 pesos ($250 USD), and is money that is given entirely to the artists and its people, Pinotepa de Don Luis, Oaxaca, which part of the profits go towards the construction of an art school in the municipality.

"It's about the rescue of culture and traditions, art and Mexican talent, and also preventing migration and keeping the social fabric of the community," said Gallino.


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