Since moving to Mexico three and half years ago, Vancouver native Bridget Tidey has started her own unique clothing line Zii Ropa. Founded just last year, the brand’s aesthetic is comfortable yet flattering, durable yet sophisticated and is “inspired by diversity of different cultures, landscapes and traditions of making textiles throughout the world,” Tidey tells CH.
“I’ve been making clothes since Home Ec class in grade eight,” she says. After extensive travels, Tidey eventually moved to Mexico: “I figured I’d stay only three months, but I fell in love with the lifestyle and community in Baja, not to mention surfing. Mexico has become my home,” she says. Soon after arriving, Tidey began designing, cutting and producing her apparel. She hired a retired wedding dress tailor from La Paz to hand-sew her creations and on the weekends Tidey sold Zii Ropa clothes in an abandoned building she had restored in Pescedero, Baja. Her limited edition pieces became coveted by locals and travelers alike.
Limited access to fabrics also made her pieces more covetable and rare. “When I first started the line I discovered it was very difficult to find high-quality, natural fiber fabrics within Mexico, but there were a few fabric stores in La Paz and Cabo that were importing the end-roll pieces from the US where I could find small amounts of nice jerseys, cottons and linens,” she explains.
She continues, “I liked the idea of using the excess pieces and it still being high-quality fabric, but after opening the shop the pieces were going quickly and I was running out of fabric.” In order to make more pieces, Tidey now gets a majority of her fabric from Los Angeles but still uses the high-quality end roll fabrics for limited edition pieces. She has also moved to Mexico City. “There are so many amazing things happening in Mexico City right now; it’s a special time for the city and I really wanted to be a part of that. I also have access to more sewers, fabrics and craftspeople throughout the country.”
Despite the move, her ethos has remained: “I want to make art, to design and make thoughtful collections that people connect to and that represent craft and quality over mass production. Also, I want to support the people I work with and to keep the collections small and somewhat exclusive so that I can produce locally. I like the idea of full transparency in a time of a lot of business corruption and exploitation of people or countries.”
Her latest collection—inspired by simple shapes, lines—is ultimately focused on fabrics. “I used fine silk-cotton blends, hand-dyed indigo linen from India, buttery soft white rayon and hand-woven undyed wool from within Mexico,” says Tidey. “I’m always attracted to neutrals but I love mixtures of patterns and strong use of colors as well. The collections to come will follow in the direction.”
Zii Ropa clothing is available online, with prices starting at $48.
Studio images courtesy of Zii Ropa, all others by Bridget Tidey