On July 17, 2019, Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán was sentenced to life imprisonment in New York. Guzmán is the former head of the Sinaloa cartel, a Mexican drug cartel. He was one of the most wanted drug bosses in Mexico and the United States. Coincidence or fate? One day after the verdict was pronounced on July 18, IM Intermoda, the most important international platform for the fashion industry in Latin America, started in Guadalajara, Mexico. That in itself wouldn't be anything special if Guzmán's daughter, Alejandrina Guzmán Salazar, hadn't presented her fashion label El Chapo 701 for the first time at Intermoda.
Even though El Chapo was found guilty on all ten counts–including involvement in a criminal organization, production and international distribution of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and marijuana, and money laundering and use of firearms–his daughter sees him in a different light. Alejandrina Guzmán Salazar speaks of her father as “the man who taught her good and evil.” Of course, this is irritating when she talks about the man who is called a mass murderer and cold-blooded drug baron in the media. We wanted to know why she created the brand and how she deals with criticism of her label.
Why did you want to create a fashion brand?
Fashion is art, it is creation and movement, fashion transmits messages and transcends cultures, my dad will live forever as a legend and I look forward to telling his story from fashion, since the clothes I design are a constant confrontation between classic and modern luxury, between established and innovative, between boring and surprising. We break, tear and transgress the established norms. We are unpredictable.
What was your intention?
My intention for more than nine years was to create a contemporary and revolutionary brand characterized by innovation and originality. By combining urban style with high-end fashion, I consciously break with common standards so I seek to develop high-quality products.
Why the name El Chapo 701?
The name is El Chapo and 701 is the name of my first collection since I only created 701 pieces of each model and all the pieces are numbered from 001/701 to 701/701, and when arriving at item 701/701 it will be auctioned for an association that I am forming to serve people with addiction problems.
Who should feel guided by your clothing line? What customer group are you targeting?
Sophisticated individualists and the fashion conscious. It is these curious customers that make our brand so unique. Each of our products represents a different lifestyle.
Can you understand that some people are offended by the clothing and what it represents?
We need as humans to work more on emotional intelligence and be more tolerant.
Where are the clothes produced?
I am a very nationalistic woman, my father is the same, so our products are 100% made in Mexico! The products that are on the Web as special are the silver thread belt, which is numbered from 001 to 701 and on the website we will update who has each number. Plus the silver thread wallet and silver thread bracelet. Those three products are made by inmates and former inmates of the Puente Grande Jalisco prison.
Who is behind the brand?
A group of very creative, intelligent people who believed in me.
Do you donate part of the sale? Why and for what?
Pieces 701/701 will be auctioned and the money raised goes to the association I am creating to address addiction problems. I hope to be able to do the first auction online or anywhere they lend me very soon.
What difficulties did you face when you founded the brand?
All had and for having, but with this new government of our President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador there is more freedom of expression and of company without falling into apology of the crime.
What does your father mean to you and how important is it to the brand? (After all, he defends it with his name)
My Dad is everything to me, he is a man who taught me good and evil, I felt that on the day of his sentence he said goodbye to me since I agreed with the launch of my brand and from that day on I had a huge acceptance to a world level as if he was giving me his blessing and farewell. I would have loved to see all this, since on August 30 we were invited as a brand to the Latino Fashion Week in Colorado. I will not be able to go, but people of the brand will go.
El Chapo 701 was first presented at IM Internoda, what comments did you receive?
We were the most visited stand of Intermoda; people loved what we showed and we ran out of the stock we had, right now we are in production at forced and happy marches.
What are the plans for El Chapo 701 in the near future?
I will design two collections a year of 701 pieces each, but I am also designing pieces that are not numbered so that everyone has access to El Chapo.
Where will the brand be distributed?
We are sending worldwide. I can proudly presume that we have already sent to more than 15 countries today.