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Friday, December 9, 2022

The Tejon Rojo is Mérida’s design mascot

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Lee Steele
Lee Steele
Lee Steele is the founding director of Roof Cat Media and has published Yucatán Magazine and other titles since 2012. Sign up for our weekly newsletters, so our best stories will appear in your inbox every Monday.

Annie Farias and Erika Canto Rejón are two young artists and jóvenes empresarias who have set up a T-shirt and souvenir shop on Calle 53, just west of 60, in a store where everything is hand-crafted or repurposed artfully.

Paul’s very happy with his purchase of an Arizona Iced Tea can that was sliced through and refitted as a zippered container. And I love my custom T-shirt, completed in just a few days for $200 pesos. I could have had a graphic tee with iconic images of Cantinflas, Dolores del Rio or Frida Kahlo, but I chose the one with their store’s logo and namesake: Tejon Rojo. That’s Spanish for Red Badger — one of the badasses of the animal kingdom. The owners, however, are very sweet and don’t resemble badgers in any way.

Tejon Rojo

Annie grew up in Texas and studied at the Escola de Artes Superior Pablo Picasso in Spain; Erika grew up here in Mérida and is also a trained artist and studied at the Instituto Tecnologico de Mérida. Their strong sense of style and creativity is evident in the bohemian, cool vibe of the small showroom, which also carries jewelry and furniture that they either designed or restored. Upstairs is a collective where more designers or artists sell clothes and accessories made of vintage cloth, more T-shirts, handmade bags and the like. They emphasize usable, wearable things over objects that are simply decorative. They also favor recycled and repurposed materials.

Their work is whimsical, clever and smart, but never smug, and shoppers have been responding enthusiastically since they opened eight months ago. The shop’s Brooklyn hipster vibe has a very youthful, feminine appeal and Paul and I are perhaps the only 40-plus males among their clientele so far, but who knows? Prices are very reasonable, and a souvenir from here would remind you that Mérida is very much a city of today. I will wear my Tejon Rojo shirt with pride, just as soon as temperatures back home allow.

See more of their work and get a sense of their aesthetic when you “like” their Facebook page.

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