What is a rebozo Mexicano - A History of the Iconic Mexican Rebozo and How to Style It for Modern Wear
June 21, 2023
The Mexican Revolution, ceremonies and traditions, ancient medicines, handwoven garments, colourful clothing, festive gatherings, succulent cuisine, and renowned holidays. Mexico definitely has a rich, extensive history that can be felt throughout every aspect of its culture, fashion, food, ways of life, etc. One iconic piece of Mexico’s past is a type of cloth known as a Rebozo- a long scarf or shawl often worn by women whose roots are in Latin America. Imagine (as a woman) wrapping your body in a long, soft piece of colourful fabric. It is your favourite colour, and it matches your personal style flawlessly. You wear this scarf almost every day because it serves so many different purposes due to its length and durability. It makes you feel wildly confident, graceful, and in touch with your heritage, roots, culture, or what have you. In modern-day 2020, you can walk through beautiful village streets within Mexico, witnessing women shrouded in the cloth going about their day to day tasks. Browse a shop on the road, and there is a strong chance you will find various Rebozos or some form of the cloth integrated into other garments.
History of the Mexican Rebozo
Historically speaking, rebozos mexicanos goes back- way back- even before the 1800s. But, it did not become notorious until around the1900s when the Mexican Revolution took place. Women who rebelled, in every sense of the word, would use these long cloths to smuggle various guns and weapons for use in the revolution. Thinking about how these “Abuelitas” risked their safety- and their lives- to smuggle weapons for the sake of a revolution is chilling. By the end of the revolution, the Rebozo shawl had become a symbol for Mexico’s fight for independence. This experience was impactful and powerful enough to make the Rebozo a loved, iconic piece of Mexico- still to this day. Aside from talk of guns and glory, this hand woven Mexican scarf is well-known for being used by pregnant women, mothers who have a newborn baby, or traditional midwives. Mothers used the lengthy fabric to its advantage, tightly wrapping it around their bodies to hold their children close in a makeshift baby carrier. No matter the purpose, a Rebozo is often an essential tool for the woman throughout her whole life. Many women receive the cloth as soon as they are born and carry it with them along their journey into adulthood. The same fabric you were swaddled in as an infant becomes your poetic shroud that adorns your body as an adult. You cannot ask for a more meaningful, symbolic item than that. Wearing a rebozo is known to indicate elegance yet strength and spirituality as well. Perhaps this is reflected through the sweat and tears of the “Abuelitas” and midwives who worked vigorously to both fight for a cause and gently guide a new being into this world. The Rebozo has made such a cultural and aesthetic impact that it was featured in its own exhibit in London’s Fashion and Textile Museum in 2014. Now, women use this garment to both celebrate their culture and add a colourful pop to their attire.
What Is It Made Of?
As far as luxury is concerned, a Mexican shawl is made similar to a Pashmina- like the ones created by MADEINMEXI.CO. This is a unique type of fabric that actually has roots in Nepal and other areas of Central Asia. More often than not, cotton is the fabric of choice; however, wool also serves as an excellent choice for wear in the colder regions. Pashmina shawls are born from a blend of wool, cashmere, and silk. Imagine wrapping yourself up in a long, soft shroud on a chilly day- an exciting recipe for comfort, guaranteed. Other than the fabric, what makes a Rebozo so unique is that its pattern, style, design, and colour scheme all depend on where the Mexican scarf is made. Each region creates the garment differently, either weaving designs or embroidering them. MADEINMEXI.CO focuses its Rebozo line on traditional weaves, highlighting each line or curve with a vibrant colour. This Pashmina blue Mexican scarf is a beautiful example of how the right colour and pattern combinations can make an extraordinary fashion statement while staying true to culture. More a fan of simple and sleek? Take a peek at this black Rebozo that demonstrates the genuinely versatile nature of this Mexican cloth.
Modern Styles of Rebozo Scarves
One famous wearer of the beautifully embroidered Rebozo was Frieda Kahlo- one of Mexico’s most loved artists. She flaunted her style, gracefully and humbly, often found wrapped in the traditional shawl. While this style of cloth is cemented in Mexican history, it has since been reinvented for modern wear. Many women across the globe have come to love and appreciate the Rebozo. Who wouldn’t? The scarf is a staple in Mexican fashion. Even designers like Carmen Rion have incorporated the designs into her Spring & Summer 2014 collection, creating a modern look while still fusing traditional styles into each piece. How do you style the Rebozo for modern wear? How do you blend contemporary with fresh? Well, as mentioned earlier, it is an extraordinarily diverse garment. Women use it for draping their bodies, carrying babies, wrapping it around their chest and neck, or for carrying their belongings. Modern Rebozos come in a variety of colours and patterns that can be found in dresses, shirts, skirts, and even bags. If you are struggling to find a way to fuse the shawl into your modern “outfit of the day”, try simply using it as a shawl. Drape it around your shoulders to accent any look, creating a billowy, flowy, graceful style. You can even loosely double-wrap it around your neck for a quick, beautiful scarf that will keep you both warm and fashionable at the same time. Since the fabric is extra long and comes in endless patterns and colours, your options for modern wear should never get boring. Long live the Mexican Rebozo.