It was January of 1996 and the image is still vivid in our minds. We said goodbye to our extended family, our maternal grandmother gave us la bendicion and after a very tight hug we jumped on a truck, turned the corner and we were on our way to el norte. Our mother has always been extremely resourceful - a way of surviving for immigrant women like herself - and we were dressed in three layers of neon colored jumpsuits. She really didn’t know what would happen on the way, after all our parents were making the conscious decision for my mother and us to cross the border. They were making the decision to put a family back together and to provide a better future for their two daughters.
We were lucky. We jumped off the Greyhound bus in Dallas, Texas and made our way to our new home on Ella Street. In Spanish, Ella translates to her and it is literally who we owe part of our success to - her, my mother. We went from Calle Cadena to Ella Street and in a funny way it has become our mission to merge both of these worlds into our own.
Growing up in Texas so close to the border meant that our culture, traditions and artisanal abilities were within reach in our own neighborhoods. This is how we started developing relationships with artisans who looked like my mother, and artisans who share a bicultural experience of living in-between two worlds. This shop is a labor of love and we are continuously in search of handmade products in the United States and beyond. We are committed to working and buying directly with our partners and to building a community with YOU.
ABOUT THE NAME
Cadena is the Spanish word for chain. It is our belief that women are not bound by societal chains or expectations of the roles they should play in the modern age. When women unite like chains, they are stronger, powerful and more resilient.
Cadena also happens to be the street name of the home in Mexico, in which we took our first steps and the home we left at the age of six and eight years old, when my mother immigrated to the United States. Our name is a symbol of how our life has changed and how moving from Calle Cadena to the United States has given us a world of opportunities. We want to share that opportunity with women who may feel bound by the expectations their family, friends or society has placed on them. Working with women artisans and sharing their talents is a revolution of love, empowerment and the journey towards self-realization.
Cadena is a love letter to our bicultural experience as two first-generation Mexican American women. We’re on a mission to elevate the voices and stories of artisans and brands that maintain artisanal techniques alive and to promote storytelling and quality via slow fashion. All while empowering consumers to make conscious purchasing decisions.
Alejandra & Mabel