To many, fashion is a form of art, and art is a form of expression. The students at Ibero-American University recently expressed themselves through the medium of art and, more specifically, fashion.

Fashion students in Mexico created a show that showcased the effects of the Mexican drug trade through their pieces. PHOTO VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS.

Fashion students in Mexico created a show that showcased the effects of the Mexican drug trade through their pieces. PHOTO VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS.

Approximately 200 fashion students at Ibero-American University in Mexico City came together to organize a fashion show. However, it was not an ordinary showcase that you would perhaps see at the New School or even the Fashion Institute of Technology. According to an Associated Press article published by the Daily Mail Wednesday, the dresses and other clothing items feature blood splatters, syringes and marijuana leaves — elements of the drug trade represented heavily in movies, media and other social platforms. The pieces were showcased on campus, displayed on mannequins and open for all of the university’s students to see.

The fashion show was preceded by a competition in which fashion design and textile students at the university were encouraged to create clothing pieces that integrated aspects of the effects of the drug trade on their culture. Students used various types of materials from traditional fabrics such as chiffon and wires to hang Styrofoam heads on.

The photos in the article show the many creations that the students presented during the fashion show. They examined the effect of the drug trade on Mexican culture, expressing the students’ exclamations and questions with rhinestones and skulls. One student designed a party dress that had a pistol tucked in the sash. Another dress, made with the colors of the Mexican flag, was drenched in fake blood.

I should preface this by drawing a rough sketch of the current situation in Mexico in regard to the drug trade and trafficking occurring. In July 2015, the Mexican government released data in regard to the drug crisis its country is facing. According to the data, between 2007 and 2014, more than 164,000 people fell victim to homicides related to the drug trade and traffic. Some sources have pointed at the drug war for being responsible for as much as 55 percent of all homicides in Mexico. However, “in any of this data, a lot of dead people are not counted,” Molly Molloy, a Latin American specialist at New Mexico State University, told PBS.

According to one of Ibero-American University’s design students, Sofia Redondo, the goal of the fashion show was “to explain the world of drug trafficking with fashion, and show how it is affecting Mexican culture.”

It’s hard to imagine living a life different from what I know — which I am sure most people will agree with. But I seriously cannot imagine growing up in between shades of yellow under the hot Mexican sun and shades of red of my brothers, uncles and neighbors who were somehow caught up in the drug trade.

While the drug trade is the dark underbelly of Mexico and its culture, this student-curated fashion show held at Mexico City’s Ibero-American University showed that beauty could come from terrible devastation. Students took to the very destruction that is pervasive throughout their lives and channeled that pain and fear into inspirational works of art.