Mark Abbott, contributing fashion editor of The Province newspaper saw our Cuadra leather products in Vancouver Fashion Week and then visited our Xixo Leather Boutique where we had the opportunity to show him our products and Mark even tried some shoes and boots. Mark wrote the article below about our Xixo Boutique and Cuadra handmade leather products. Thank you for your positive comments Mark!
“Xixo” (Shee-Sho) translates to “well done” in the Aztec language Nahuatl, and it is perhaps a modest statement given the innovation and creativity that goes hand-in-hand with Xixo – Cuadra. What you get at Xixo Apparel – exclusive Canadian distributor of Cuadra – is luxury leather goods of the highest quality and design.
“I believe that our handmade leather products are unique and new to Vancouver,” says Carlos Ramirez, owner along with wife Mar Garcia, of Xixo Apparel, an intimate Yaletown boutique you’ve been searching for your whole style-conscious life. In a city in desperate need of “unique” and “new,” Xixo – Cuadra will give you the shopping bug this holiday season.
Cuadra the brand (founded by Agustin Cuadra) is the 22-year-old Mexican leather goods company with 50 stores in Mexico, one in Chicago and one in Las Vegas. Xixo Apparel is the Canadian distributor. What sets Cuadra apart from the rest is each shoe, boot, handbag, wallet and jacket is handmade with painstaking detail and care employing the finest of animal skins (more on this in a moment). As Carlos puts it best, “The link [between local distributor and brand] is that Xixo can say ‘well done’ to Cuadra and work together.”
I was first introduced to Xixo – Cuadra at Vancouver Fashion Week S/S 2014, where for opening night they showed two outfits from the special edition Mexican roots collection – matching jacket, boots, handbag and wallet in black with embroidery, handmade by indigenous women from the state of Chiapas in southern Mexico. Each embroidered piece is unique, meaning you can express true individuality. The second look that night came from the S/S collection consisting of a stylish belted jacket in brown combined with a “hand-painted bag and drivers in orange that added colour and spice to the outfit,” says Carlos.
My second encounter came during Fashion Week. Vancouver boutique Valerio Moda showcased its men’s S/S 2014 collection with shoes supplied by Xixo – Cuadra (scarlet red python and calf skin loafers; tan lizard and cowhide skin cowboy boots stood out and made a strong statement on the runway).
From the moment I saw the shoes and accessories on the catwalk I knew I had to get a closer look. I met Carlos at his display table at VFW. He carefully went over each piece – boots, shoes, handbags, wallets and jackets – giving detailed info about types of skins, texture and how everything is handcrafted. I was shocked by the price; I thought for sure you’d need a small business loan to afford such luxury. I was pleasantly surprised at how affordable Cuadra leather goods are. If you want to know exact prices you’ll just have to take a trip to Xixo Apparel and look for yourself.
Recently I visited Carlos and Mar at their store. What I first believed to be my intrusion on a private party turned out to be how clients are treated on a regular basis: warm hospitality (Carlos refers to this as “Mexican hospitality”), the offering of coffee, tea or wine and snacks. You will be taken great care of while you shop. The intimate, friendly environment is ideal, especially when measured against large, generic brands with sulky teen sales staff looking bored and completely detached from their product. Carlos and Mar truly care about their clients and are passionate about the Cuadra brand. You feel like one of the family. As I tried on several shoes and boots, it finally struck me why I enjoyed the products so much – versatility and comfort. Whether it is a genuine Caiman-calf skin dress shoe or a traditional cowhide leather boot, you can go from rugged chic to urban cowboy and always be ahead of the crowd with timeless style. An added bonus is how comfortable the shoes are. You may be pulling on that thick alligator skin western-style boot but your feet will feel like you strapped soft pillows to the soles, proving high-quality luxury doesn’t always mean you have to suffer for fashion.
Carlos and Mar, originally from Mexico City, moved to Vancouver 12 years ago when Carlos enrolled in a business program at Simon Fraser University. From that time until recently he had been working in international business markets such as Latin America, Asia, Africa and Middle East for Canadian and American companies.
Last year Carlos and Mar made the decision to open their own business, building on Carlos’s international business experience to help Mexican companies with unique products expand into Canadian and international markets. “During my research I noticed that people were asking for good-quality leather goods made the way they were made back in the day,” Carlos tells me. “As one of my weaknesses is fashion, I looked for leather goods that were different from what is mass-produced and available in every mall sacrificing quality,” he continues. After months of negotiations, he and Mar made an alliance with the brand Cuadra of Mexico because of their handmade leather products with superior quality, social responsibility and sustainable practices. Xixo Apparel is a family business with three goals: Preserve leather hand craftsmanship, provide good jobs in Mexico and offer quality leather goods to Canadians at a great value. It doesn’t get any better than this".
Xixo Leather Artistry – Cuadra
807 Hornby Street, Vancouver, B.C., Canada
Note: Our address has been updated to our current location since December 2014.