Mexican Artistry With A Flair

BY: MARLA O'BRIEN

Visit any tourist shop in Baja and you will likely find quintessential Mexican handcrafts such woven blankets, Huichol beadwork, and silver jewelry. Visit Loveleigh Designs in Pescadero and you will find one-of-a-kind artisan-created fashion that puts a spin on these traditional items.

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“You can tell it’s Mexican but it’s got its own flair,” explains the store’s founder and owner Morgan Leigh. “Nothing here is mass-produced and there is something special put into each piece.”

For example, Loveleigh carries fair trade handbags made in Oaxaca using traditional blanket-weaving techniques and patterns. The totes are handmade using premium wool and genuine leather featuring designs such as the Zapotec diamond, milta and arrow markings. Earrings made by a local artisan also riff on the Mexican blanket theme by using beads to create colorfully patterned hoops. 

When Leigh opened her store in 2016, the stock was made up of her own clothing line plus jewelry and yoga mat straps made by two other women from Baja. Now, Loveleigh carries products from 65 craftspeople, predominantly Mexican and many of whom are underprivileged. 

“Everything in here has an ethical ethos,” says Leigh. “It’s fair trade, sustainable, or eco-friendly.”

Leigh forged an interesting path from childhood to creating her socially-conscious business. Born and raised in British Columbia, Canada, she completed an undergraduate degree in political science and then a Master’s in international relations at university in Sydney, Australia. Her first job after school was working with a clean water nonprofit organization in Africa where she quickly discovered how much red tape was involved in charitable work. 

Leigh had learned to sew at a young age and had always been creating unique clothing for herself. A road trip seven years ago brought her to Todos Santos and she quickly fell in love with the community. Putting all these experiences together, she came up with the concept for an ethical fashion collective. 

“So I thought why not do something I enjoy and then I can contribute to making people’s lives a bit better,” she says. 

In growing the business, Leigh has travelled throughout Mexico to source new products and expertise.

“In Oaxaca I was like a kid in a candy store. As someone who loves textiles, it was so inspiring to meet 11th-generation weavers. Mexico has endless talent.”

I was like a kid in a candy store at Loveleigh Designs. There are so many beautiful creations in all price ranges, from Leigh’s own multifunctional clothing styles to stunning jewelry to housewares and brightly woven dog collars. Even the soap is ethical. Produced by the Conserva Collective, the artisanal bars are made with an invasive seaweed and provide income for rural coastal communities. 

Leigh also donates a portion of her proceeds to three local charities: Dog Prana, Ecorrrevolucion, and the Padrino Children’s Foundation. 

Visit Loveleigh Designs, open every day from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., behind the Baja Beans coffee house in Pescadero and online at loveleighmexico.com.