For Mi Golondrina, Hispanic Heritage Is More Than a Month
Nestled in southwestern Mexico along the Pacific Ocean coastline lies Oaxaca, a Mexican state known for its rich Indigenous culture. It’s in Oaxaca where Zapotec, Mixtec, Mazatec and 13 other formally registered Indigenous communities preserve the arts and cultures that thrived before the onset of 1519’s Spanish invasion. Folk artists like Faustina Sumano García reflect their pride through their crafts.
García’s intricately detailed floral hand embroidery caught the eye of Dallas-based Mexican-American fashion curator Cristina Lynch, who has taken Mexican folk art and heritage worldwide through her fashion label Mi Golondrina.
“She has little details in each flower, and it just really stood out to me,” Lynch says. “She really is one of those people who’s known, and she’s a skilled artist. People like her are so important in Mexico because they carry that pride for their art, and that really influences the community in a very strong way.”
Lynch’s designs are hand-embroidered by 600-plus Mexican artisans using traditional techniques, in patterns almost 200 years old. In Oaxaca’s San Antonino Castillo Velasco, artisans’ signature tight-knit flowers with vines weaving through them are crafted onto Lynch’s dresses, skirts and shirts. In Chiapas, Oaxaca’s eastern neighbor, artisans commissioned by Mi Golondrina needle larger, set-apart flowers.
San Vicente Coatlán, Chenalhó, San Juan de Chamula, Hidalgo Yalalag, Santa María Tlahuitoltepec and San Juan Colorado communities all have a hand in Mi Golondrina’s footprint. Each community’s technique is a flag they wave with honor. Mexico’s heritage is woven into each piece with meticulous artistry that resonates out of time.
“Heritage is the heart of what Mi Golondrina is,” Lynch says. “Embracing heritage is what this company is.”
Lynch’s love story with her Mexican roots started as a child. Her family would frequent her grandfather’s cattle ranch “La Guitarilla” where the golondrinas, or songbirds, would perch. The ranch, which is two hours outside of Lynch’s mother’s hometown of Torreón, Mexico, holds cherished memories for the CEO. It is where her company’s namesake took form.
Her childhood home in Dallas was lavishly decorated with her mother’s Mexican art collection, a collection she had been growing since the age of 18.
Lynch’s father instilled a love of travel with road trips to national parks and trips to different countries. Lynch, her parents and three brothers would connect with local people, indulge in authentic foods, learn histories and experience the cultures. These differing perspectives would create a yearning for connection and understanding that has fueled Mi Golondrina’s ethos.
As an international and accessories sales assistant for Oscar de la Renta in New York, Lynch aspired to take the handcrafted art she had grown up with global. Mi Golondrina began to take shape in 2012 on a trip Lynch took to Oaxaca, where she met artist Roberta Ángeles Ojeda. Lynch began working with Ojeda, her mother, Cira, and their family to cultivate the fashion label. Mi Golondrina launched the following year with a party at Peacock Alley design studio. Today, Ojeda leads and facilitates communication with Mexican artisans.
Lynch visits Oaxaca quarterly. She meets artisans in their homes. There are no factories; artisans work from home, where they can tend to their families while making a living. Artisans are paid fair, livable wages that economically empower them to make their dreams a reality. For some, that means sending their children to school.
The Mi Golondrina team comes together for meals when Lynch is in Mexico. They break bread, catch up, connect and refine their visions. Lynch works closely with artists, adjusting, reworking and creating wearable art crafted with pride.
Each piece crosses three Mexican communities and two countries before it becomes available for purchase. Pieces are hand-embroidered before being passed on to be crocheted. After, they undergo the hazme si puedes hand-pleating technique. Quality control in Dallas is blown away once pieces arrive, Lynch says, as each thread is perfectly cut.
“That’s something that I really explain to the artisans we work with; [I tell them,] ‘Your piece is always treated like a piece of art,’” Lynch says.
Mi Golondrina’s Dallas storefront uplifts tradition by pressing and ironing the garments exactly the way they’re traditionally done before they’re housed in-store or shipped out.
“That is paying our respects to where it comes from,” Lynch says.
And much like the artisans are the spirit of Mi Golondrina in Mexico, Luz “Quina” Samano is the spirit of the company in the U.S. As Mi Golondrina’s in-house seamstress, Samano adds the final touch of familial warmth to fashions by labeling each garment.
But Samano is much more than just a seamstress—she’s family. Samano, who worked as a seamstress for a clothing business owned by Lynch’s mother and aunt, has known Lynch since birth. Now, her work has enamored Dallas, where shoppers shower Samano with adoration.
Flowy long dresses, gingham short dresses and ruffle-sleeved dresses carry tradition and heritage to far-flung locations—like Paris, and even Mindy Kaling’s closet—bringing the joy, love and legacy of curation and the warmth of connection.
“When you put a blouse on, I’ve had people say you can feel it, like you can feel that somebody did this with pride,” Lynch says. “That is the essence of what we’re doing.”
Lynch’s heritage continues to be her crowning jewel. It touches every aspect of her life. Her 2019 wedding was rich with culture. Oaxacan candles adorned candelabras designed by her aunt, Jan Barboglio. After walking down the aisle in her mother’s Oscar de la Renta gown, Lynch dazzled in a custom mariachi suit.
She shares Ponche Navideño, tamales, mole and cuatro leches cake with friends annually during the holidays on a tablescape adorned with embroidered placemats. Her Christmas tree is rich with Mexican art.
Day to day, Lynch enjoys mornings with the sounds of Pepe Aguilar. Like her mother, she collects Mexican art. Both speak Spanish to Lynch’s two toddlers, who frequent Oaxaca with the duo. Her daily uniform consists of the garments crafted by the artisans of Mi Golondrina.
Her culture is her badge of honor.
“What’s so beautiful is when people connect with our culture, and I have never been more proud to be Mexican and be connected to that culture, and [I] plan on continuing to do so,” Lynch says.
All photos are by Nick Glover and taken in Oaxaca.
Gutierrez is an arts and culture journalist in Dallas. Her bylines include the Dallas Observer, D Magazine and Central Track. She will graduate from the University of North Texas in December with a B.A. in digital and print journalism with a minor in women’s and gender studies.
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