The New Social Order

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Peak Playa Fashion

The three founders of La Troupe—Berenice Apostolo, Lorena Surra, and Ana Thenor—are more than just entrepreneurs, designers, and tastemakers. They’re also fair trade advocates, imbuing their fashion business with a strong social justice component. Their flirty, fringy dresses and tops are 100% handmade by local Mayan women on a fair and equitable basis. Check out their 5th Avenue shop and feel good about your purchases.

Describe the three women who make up the La Troupe team. How did you meet and decide to start a store together?

We are three Argentinian colleagues who came separately at different times to Playa del Carmen and became friends here.

We have different professions, but we all love design. This place has given us the chance to do what we really love, a choice that comes directly from our hearts.

Describe your design process.

When creating and designing, we are very dynamic and free flowing. La Toupe is like a child who has three mothers: it has a little bit of each one of us. Seven years ago our idea of the same dream was born. We wanted the ability to create, express, and design. Inspired by this magical land, we fell in love with everything—its art, customs, and colors.

What inspires you?

Our inspiration is our own life…a unique woman, fresh, irreverent, intuitive, who includes others, offers surprises, takes care of the planet, loves, and most of all, has settled and feels secure with herself. We design for a woman with inner power and sensitivity, a conscious woman that wants to know where her clothes are made and who makes them. Especially for the woman who dreams of a better world for her children, the fairest one.

You emphasize on your website that you work in a Fair-trade model. Describe how you set this up and how you’ve developed a relationship with the Mayan community.

“La Troupe” is based on a fair trade concept. Our people are the most important aspect of our business. We’ve cultivated the experience and friendship to make this dream come true. When it comes to production and elaboration, there are several groups of women who make it possible. All of them are from this area. As mothers, many of them work from their homes without neglecting their families. The products are made completely in Mexico, in the Mayan area, by their communities and people. These are individuals who believe in us as we believe in and trust them. We are part of their human development and we respect their culture as we learn and grow together. We are also proud of these people. They are a daily example of effort. They make our work possible. We are thankful and we support them equally. That is why La Troupe is intrinsically a social project. Our work philosophy is based on communication, love, respect, paying a fair price, and looking for human and commercial equity. It seems an obvious philosophy and idea but the reality is that it only works due to people who believe in it, from a personal motivation and not an economical one.

What are some of your favorite pieces?

Our favorite designs are the bags and the ruanas.