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Meet the Mexican Tailor Rejuvenating the Guayabera Shirt

Meet the Mexican Tailor Rejuvenating the Guayabera Shirt

José Alonso Correa is combining traditional Mexican tailoring with modern design

Alonzo Trezzo

It might be recognized around the world as the “Cuban shirt,” but the Guayabera’s birthplace remains a mystery. Some argue that the design was birthed on the banks of Rio Yayabo, when Encarnacion asked his wife to make him a coat-like garment that could carry his cigars while he worked in the guava harvest; others argue that the Guayabera was born in the states of Veracruz and Yucatan along the Gulf Coast of Mexico. Despite its origin story, the Guayabera shirt is a cultural symbol that has united the Caribbean coastal countries through style, tradition, and technique, each with their own unique elements.

The Cuban Guayabera, for example, offers four front pockets reinforced with pleats, whereas the Mexican Guayabera, or the “Presidential Guayabera,” is designed without pockets and offers pleats only that stretch along the front and back of the shirt. This style was arguably made most famous by the former Mexican President, Luis Echeverría, who sported a custom-designed Guayabera for state ceremonies.

Alonzo Trezzo, Merida, Yucatan

To find a purveyor of the craft, I made my way to Merida, Yucatan. Through a mutual friend in Mexico City, I was introduced to José Alonso Correa, the founder of Yucatecan tailoring shop, Alonzo Trezzo. Correa had been in the Mexican tailoring game since college, where he studied fashion, before opening his own shop in 2014. Evidently, Correa is a cool and soft-spoken leader of reserved taste. He’s supremely polite and proud of his craft, taking inspiration from iconic figures that adorn the walls of his shop. His biggest inspiration, though, is his grandfather who is photographed in a beautiful Presidential Guayabera polished in black and white. His other inspirations are the artists, the musicians, and the craftsman who have helped sculpt Yucatan identity over the last 100 years. 

“Our mission is to promote the rich tradition of tailoring in Yucatan,” Correa says. “And the Guayabera is our banner.”

Jose Alonso Correa of Alonzo Trezzo

While Trezzo draws on the history of the region, the shop’s concept is anything but dated. It offers the usual selection of bespoke suiting that you’d expect from your big city tailor, but it incorporates a more focused approach celebrating the Guayabera’s utility at its core. Correa has used that utility to curate Guayabera-style sport jackets, overshirts, and blazers. And they’re all made in-house.

“In our early days we had our manufacturing process done in Tekit, about 65 kilometers aways from Merida.”

In recent years, Tekit has become the capital of Guayabera production, not just in Mexico but worldwide. Very few garments in Mexico, if any, have so famously contributed to the country’s cultural identity as the Guayabera. It’s silhouette, alongside its Island and Central American cousins, have influenced a new generation of fast-fashion wannabes from global brands like Zara and smaller brands like Texas Standard, both of whom contribute very little, if anything, to the shirt’s cultural heritage or design.

Jose Alonso Correa of Alonzo Trezzo

For Correa and Trezzo, the Guayabera is a fundamental part of Yucatan’s culture and tradition. It’s a garment that can be worn casually or formally, it’s a symbol of place and identity. Each concept is specially designed for the client using natural fibers such as linen and 100% cotton sourced from the best producers in Mexico and abroad.

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The shop itself is a capsule of another era decorated with personal modernisms. Family photographs, musical instruments, antique typewriters, and yarns of thread are always within sight. A woman introduces herself and slips behind the till. In the backroom, where two aging sewing machines sit on display, the sunlight floods through the windows as Correa explains the processes of how each shirt is made.

There are a variety of client orders hanging on racks awaiting embroidery. Depending on the preference of the client, the shirt can take several weeks to perfect. From the handstitched buttonholes to label placement, everything is done under one roof. That is what makes each Trezzo Guayabera so special.

To learn more about Alonzo Trezzo, click here.

Alonzo Trezzo
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