It was a typical Thursday in France during fashion week in January, make that men’s fashion week and there is usually a fashion show almost every hour. This time around I’m skipping some of the shows and I make my way to TRANOI just off Étienne Marcel. Why TRANOI? You may ask. TRANOI is an International Fashion Tradeshow were designers from all over the world get to show everything that revolves around fashion.


The range and scope of fashion related merchandise that is covered here is just amazing, you name it and you will find it here. To be honest, I’m not just here to look at trends I’m here to find TRISTA. TRISTA is the brainchild of José Alfredo Silva and Giovanni Estrada from Mexico City south of the border from the States. Coincidentally, TRISTA is making its move towards the European market and this was one of their showings. I was lucky enough to get a few minutes of José’s time to chat about the evolution of TRISTA.

Here are some of the things were able to ask about TRISTA.


When and how did you develop the brand?

We started the brand TRISTA 8 years ago when Giovanni and I had a radio program then, we were talking about fashion and just having a good time doing it. Shortly after that, I went off to grad school in France and left things unconcluded until my return. Then someone approached us to open a store at La Condesa in Mexico City. We started a small shop with some clothes.

The name TRISTA, how did you come up with it?

We were fascinated by literatureand different books inspired some of our collections. My graduate thesis was on a book by Gaston Bachelard who talked about the power of words to create imagery. So, one day Giovanni and myself were playing around with words and Giovanni said Triste, and then he turns around and said Trista. Trista is sophisticated feminine name, sort of oldies name and after that, we found out the latin meaning of the name is sorrowful

How has your undergraduate degree influenced your designs?

I think everything that you learn in life helps, Giovanni study Architecture and I studied industrial Engineering. It is more than the things you learn in school, it is the perception of things you experience in life. I also teach and I see this in most of the students who have a different background other than design, they see things different and tend to be more focused and they use their experience in other fields to create something different but the most important thing is the passion.

Simple by Trista is more Mexico Urban, how do you see Trista?

Trista is more like our queen and Simple by TRISTA is more like “La Vaca Lechera”. TRISTA is more of the concept originator and simple by TRISTA lives off those concepts. TRISTA now is moving towards Europe and that is the focus for 2015 and 2016


The design process how does it work with you and Giovanni?

Each of our pieces has a story behind it, you really have to see the clothes in person to understand it, and a picture alone does not convey the design. The pieces are more bespoke, it starts with the fabric, and we don’t just use the fabric the way we buy it. We do something different with all the fabrics. Like this silk organza piece in the booth, where multiple layers are used to develop the final design. Sometime we use 4 or even 8 layers of organza fabric before completing a piece. Another piece in the collection is made of embroidered pattern that take a week to modify the fabric for the final piece. Every single piece has something different and you need to know the story behind it that is the way TRISTA works. We have a love for working with fabrics


The name of your last collection, how did you come up with it?

We work with a title for the 4 collections “El lugar de los objetos perdidos” uno, dos, tres and cuatro. TRISTA is a brand of remembrance we always go to the past to try to understand things of the present. That is why with TRISTA, we try to work with skiing and hiking influence from the 50’s and 60’s. With Simple by TRISTA we try to work with imaginary places “El lugar de los objetos perdidos” is like this place where you can open and discover something was untouched. This kind of place in your memory where something is different and each one of these collections has something that is very personal in a very simple way, usually we don’t talk about it because more and more people don’t care about the story. They are more interested in the clothes alone. As a designer you need to tell the story behind the designs and not be like the commercial big brands where the designs are soulless.
I was really thrilled I had the chance to see the designs in person and meet José at TRANOI, now I just need to talk myself into going to Mexico City to get my hands on one of their denim jumper suits for men.