When art and activism collide, the effect can be incredibly powerful.  Not only has Maria Romero made a commitment to creating beautiful textiles, she is also helping our planet in the process.  Romero founded Tintoreriaproject, an initiative to reduce mass consumption by recycling and dyeing textiles with natural dyes from everything, avocado pits and onion skins, madder to flowers and tumeric.  The result is not only rich in color, but in method, reconnecting us to the elements of the earth.


What three words would you use to describe yourself?

Curious, detail oriented, patient. 

What is your creative process like? 

Always starts with an emotion, then a color comes, from there it's an exploration of color and shapes to tell the story, I like to turn my design process into little studies of feelings and human relationships, it helps me understand many things and gets me closer to myself and other humans.

What is your favorite plant to dye with? 

Always the one I can harvest or grow myself.  Gorse flower is one of my favorites, it grows a lot in Galicia where I grew up, harvesting it is very challenging because the plant is full of thorns but also gives a very pretty yellow hue, also Pericon ( Mexican Marigold).  I get to harvest it in Oaxaca when I visit my artisan partners, I like the process of going out and picking the plants from the field, getting what you need to make the color,  it just gives an extra power to the pot.




Where is home for you?  

I have many homes, it is a blessing and a curse. I am a daughter of immigrants, we ended up all spread in the world - born in Mexico City, grew up in A Coruña Spain, lived in Milan for a while and my brother lives in Bangkok,  I call all these places home, but currently home is Brooklyn.

Its so wonderful to see more initiative to reduce mass consumption. Do you have any thoughts as to how we can shift from fast fashion to something more sustainable?

Honestly, I think it is a matter of education, we prefer to own more than is good.  For me it was also a process to shift from buying fast fashion to buying second hand for example, I grew up in Galicia and Zara was always at the corner to serve all your non existing needs, you can buy a sweater for 20 euros, so I would buy one on each color if I liked the style.  My first winter in NY I had to wear all of them together and still they didn’t work, I then got a cashmere sweater and it is still with me, every winter it is my savior, full of wholes and mended.  The 20 euro sweaters I don’t know where they are now, gone and I don’t miss them. 

Tintoreria started when I started bringing my textiles out to the world, people didn’t get it, there are so many handwoven textiles being made now, working with artisans in different parts of the world, hand made doesn’t always mean ethically made and doesn’t always mean good quality.  It's confusing for the consumer as it's confusing for me and my team in Mexico. So I found the need to bring people into our processes and into the world my artisans brought me to, so I created Tintoreria a kitchen where you can rescue garments you own and don’t wear anymore, this way I am already working with something people care about and its easier to connect them with our processes and the value of the craft our artisans partners use in our textiles in Oaxaca. 

As in every idea there is always an evolution, Tintoreria now is bigger and makes more than when the idea was first generated, but the feeling of receiving a garment that someone loves and to have their trust to make it into a new color is the core value and the most beautiful feeling Tintoreria has given me.



What inspires you?  

Always love (in all its forms ) and what comes from it.  

What advice would you offer to your younger self?

Life is simple, you just need to breath and use love as your only weapon

What are you dreaming of?

I am currently living my dream. 


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