Updated: Mar 25
The privilege of giving back to the community, whilst paying homage to diversity is an obstacle we face in transforming fashion, as we know it. There are tempered expectations around what is just and what is deemed appropriate to represent the status quo, especially in the world of fashion. Palesa Mercedes Recalde, designer of the TCK brand, disrupts these very predispositions, which fragment the mission of fashion and its art in a way which delimits free expression.
TCK was born in Los Angeles, however the release of her first line of collections: Letsema (meaning: “When people of the community come together”), was born in Maseru, Lesotho home to her beloved mother. Mercedes was born into a bi-cultural family with her father’s origins in Ecuador combined with her with holistic African background. She’s lived an international nomadic lifestyle which has played a key role in shaping her artistic identity. Beyond her captivating aura, Mercedes’ cultural experiences have had a positive intellectual effect on her as a visionary, an artist; within the international fashion world. Her work and dedication is the antithesis of a mono-culture, which seeks to tell one story through a single voice or lens, As Chimamanda Adichie, an empowered Nigerian author writes, “there is danger in telling a single story. No one is a single story.” This stands true for the TCK brand and her vision as it incorporates the palimpsests of complexity the compound her unique identity. Her allegiance to opening up the dialogue within the world of fashion can be readily seen through her designs.
Mercedes is a wholesome guardian of the characteristics that make her the exemplary third culture kid, whom she is. This is the term used to refer to children raised in a culture other than their parents’ (or culture of the country of their passport’s origin), for a significant part of their developmental years. The truths of Mercedes’ identity are compounded by the places that raised her into pieces of fashion.
Her work reveals truth within the euphemisms which certain aspects of fashion have tried to deploy, delimiting legitimate free-expression of one’s artistic identity. Embedded in this tasteful and well-crafted video, are the benefits of being a bi-cultural competent individual. The TCK brand has a vision, a mission to share fashion with different cultures, and challenge the tempered expectations within status quo and fashion itself. Through her unique international background, the public will be a part of her journey, as she continues to master her hand-craft.
It is time to watch the culturally competent educate us and make us knowledgeable, on how cultural differences can be celebrated alongside the development of ethical fashion. “I think the importance of doing activist work is precisely because it allows you to give back and to consider yourself not as a single individual who may have achieved whatever, but to be a part of an ongoing historical movement” (A. Davis, 1983). Palesa Mercedes Recalde is doing exactly that, she’s speaking to the ongoing historical movement of bridging that gap between what it means to be a citizen of everywhere and nowhere.
Article by Chitinthi Tembo
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