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How two best friends are bringing slow fashion Mexican craftsmanship to the streets of Vancouver

Slow fashion at its finest.
Slow fashion brand Tilma has Vancouver roots and is made in Mexico by artisans with generational knowledge.

The friendship between Amanda Demeter and Sarah Darcy spans decades, borders, and a business.

In August 2021 the pair launched Tilma, the culmination of their cross-continental friendship and deep love of Mexico's design and craftsmanship.

Demeter and Darcy met in high school on the Sunshine Coast and became inseparable in the early 20s when they moved to Vancouver, but it wasn't until Darcy met her now-husband in Mexico in 2012 that they discovered how important the country would become to them.

Darcy has lived in Cancun, Mexico City, San Miguel de Allende, and Puerto Vallarta, and, being best friends, Demeter was devastated when she moved away.

"My husband and I would visit her regularly wherever she was in Mexico. Since then, we've travelled all over the country together and immersed ourselves in the culture. We've experienced so much together in Mexico, met so many incredible people, and made it our home," recalls Demeter.

Darcy always had a love for Mexican art and the products she would see the artisans creating. Travelling the country seeking out traditional markets was the inspiration for the friends' own slow fashion brand.

They were "astonished by the dedication, hard work and techniques that have been passed down from generation to generation. The products were extremely well made, and absolutely gorgeous but with only two issues," they tell V.I.A over email.

The first issue was the question of how to share the items with the world and the second was, how to make sure they fit with their attire once they left Mexico.

In late 2020 Demeter and her husband joined Darcy in Puerto Vallarta and they started putting our ideas into action.


A post shared by Tilma (@betilma)

The line started with "The Modern Tilma," a handwoven duster with boho fringe inspired by a tilmàtli cloak. The capsule has since expanded to include vegan cactus leather slides, Palma hats, and leather clutches.

"Each product has a slightly different story," says Demeter. For example, the clutches are all hand-tooled by a family of artisans in Guadalajara using a technique called cincelado, a Mexican art passed down from generation to generation.

"Sarah and I were very inspired by the process of cincel, but we could never find one that matched our personal styles which is why we created our Condesa Clutch. The husband from the family who creates these for us learned this technique from his father, and so on, which makes it very special for us to support their family's generational skills."

Each piece is made to order to prevent waste and five per cent of all profits are given back to the local partners' communities.

"With Tilma we hope to spread the beauty of Mexican craftsmanship around the world with a contemporary touch but to also create a fair and equitable lifestyle for our artisans," say Darcy and Demeter.

Tilma hopes to hold pop-ups in Vancouver and Mexico in the future but until then people can order their collection online.