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Foreign Correspondent: Where to Shop and How to Find the Best Tamales in Mexico City


This week's style report comes to us from Bernardo Lopez Morton, a Mexico City-native and owner of boutique menswear shop 180 Grados.

How he got his start: Throughout my junior year at Boston University I worked as a research assistant at the National Bureau of Economic Research. I learned a lot, but it wasn't my thing. When I graduated, I went deep into corporate America, landing my first well-paid job in credit and collections at Motorola—not the most glamorous work. It took me a year and a half to figure out that despite the good pay, I just didn't fit the 9-to-5 profile.

Then, in 2003, I had an eye-opening experience working at Inditex, Zara's mother company. At the time, Inditex was the third largest retail company in the world, after H&M and The Gap, and Mexico became one of the largest international markets. It was a top company, but working in mass fast fashion got to me to the point that I needed to do something more personal and more authentic—something that mattered.

With 180 Grados [translation: 180 Degrees] you get to talk to people and actually have quality time with your customers, something that I could not imagine doing at Inditex. 180 Grados is derived from the complete about-face in the industry, from mass production for Inditex to boutique-size production.

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His personal style: I need to be at the store attending to customers as well as working with suppliers, so my look is comfortable yet well-presented.

The one item he'd save from his closet in a fire: A pair of Italian leather shoes that I bought when I was 21 in Milan. They're the best shoes ever—I've changed the soles twice.

On Mexico City menswear trends: It's picking up. Men are more eager to dress well now, especially for clothing that allows you to be practical and well-dressed at the same time. If you live in a city, you should be able to look proper getting on and off of a bike.

But there's still a long way to go. People in the ritzy, corporate area of Mexico City called Santa Fe tend to dress up in Spanish-style dress shirts and European-cut suits, which is nothing new. Fashion-forward guys are more likely to be seen in areas like Roma and Condesa.

On life in Mexico City: I think Mexico City is the least understood city in the world: Nobody knows what to expect from it when they travel here. It has the most museums of any city in the world and is also the oldest city in the continent by far. The Aztecs settled here in 1325 AD when it was just a huge lake surrounded by mountains and two enormous volcanoes, and urbanized a one-of-a-kind city on an island in the middle of the lake—some people say it's more impressive than Venice.

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What to eat:
I always recommend that people take a nice walk in the morning through la Colonia Roma, where you can eat a tamale from this stand that sets up shop on the northwest corner of Colima and Orizaba streets (pictured above). Get there before 10 A.M. and ask for the Tamale Oaxaqueño made with molé and wrapped up in a banana leaf. For the complete pre-Hispanic gastronomical experience, pair it with atole, a traditional drink made from corn and served hot. You'll be happy and full till lunch.

Where to shop:
Anybody that visits Mexico City should walk the street named Colima in the up-and-coming area Roma Norte. Visitors can also check out a great boutique called Lemur as well as Goodbye Folk, a vintage shop and hair studio, which are on the same street.

• • •

Also on Details.com:
Foreign Correspondent: FashionBean's Matt Allinson on London Style Trends and Where to Go in Balham, the City's Coolest New 'Hood'
Foreign Correspondent: Street-Style Photographer Giuseppe Santamaria on the Sydney Menswear and Food Scene
Foreign Correspondent: Melinda Gloss' R&3233;mi de Laquintane on Paris Style and Nightlife

Photos by Ricardo Ganem
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