Mérida, Yucatán — Blue jeans and discount designer labels have made the traditional tailor an endangered species in Yucatán.
Punto Medio found one of the city’s existing tailors, working on Calle 64 near the old Teatro Hector Herrera. He is Gilberto Chan Canul, 71, and he’s been creating and altering clothing since he was 14 when he was mentored by his older brother.
But not one of his children has expressed interest in carrying on the trade, he says. It’s typical in a society that prefers cheap, disposable clothing, he said. Business has been in decline for years, he said.
Today he works only to supplement his social security check, he told Punto Medio. “I’m depending on what I get from a custumer who pays a trifle,” he said, in Spanish.
And while Don Gilberto takes care of every detail in the garment he makes, his brother Idelfonso specializes in pants.
“We are on the verge of starting the school year,” said Don Idelfonso, but when asked if many people commission them to make their children’s uniforms, he smiles and comments with melancholy: “That is already dead, and no one gives you uniforms to to do, because we charge a certain amount for the manufacture of a pair of pants, when in a clothing store they find pants of one hundred pesos, even if they are of lower quality, and that kills us.”
According to them, the cost of making trousers or a shirt is 160 pesos, plus the price of fabric.
A custom suit and tie costs a 1,500 pesos, plus another 250 if the customer wants a vest.
Don Idelfonso, who is 74, also who revealed that none of his descendants will follow in his footsteps: “What can be done? Why teach children if there is no work?”
Source: Punto Medio