“In my Yucatecan land we welcome you with joy, waiting with anticipation your wonderful attire,” excerpt from the song “Guayabera Mía” by José Eduardo Chan Kau.
This item of clothing is the king of masculine fashion in the Caribbean, and in Tekit, Yucatán, you’ll find a real paradise of factories that make this iconic shirt.
Known worldwide as a garment associated with Cuba and Latin America, easily identifiable by its four pockets and two rows of pleats, the guayabera is a fashionable and indispensable piece of clothing in every Yucatecan man’s wardrobe, a standard in the dress code for weddings and social events in Yucatán, and an excellent option for a gift.
If Izamal and Kimbilá are reference points for the female textile industry with their embroidered blouses, hipiles, and ternos, Tekit is the place for male clothing items such as guayaberas and Filipinas. This municipality, located 60 km from Mérida, belonged to the so-called “zona henequenera de Yucatán,” and continues to some extent its agricultural calling, harversting corn, beans, habanero chile, and tropical fruits such as watermelon. Nowadays it is the epicenter of the guayabera production in the state, with more than 200 workshops that manufacture this garment.
Tekit “the scattered place”, situated in the south central area of Yucatán, has as neighbours the municipalities of Tecoh, Homún, Mayapán, Chumayel, and Sotuta. It belongs to the Convent Route; you can visit the San Cristóbal Chapel and the ex-convent of San Antonio de Padua, rebuilt in the 16th century. Each year during the first week of June the town celebrates a traditional party with “vaquería,” sport, and cultural activities honoring San Antonio.
Since the 70’s the calling of this community has been transformed from agriculture and henequén to the manufacture of clothing in family workshops that little by little have become middle-sized industries that employ men and women. A majority of the population works in the crafting of the guayabera. The residents of Tekit have the calling of producing and maintaining this garment that has won the label of “traditional” in Yucatán.
The hierarchy inside a workshop is highly specialized: there are groups of seamsters, assemblers (people who stitch the fabric’s pieces together), the people who sew on the buttons, and the ones who give the final details to the garments, everything with the assistance of the sewing machine.
Wandering through the main streets around Tekit’s plaza, besides the opportunity of looking at the ex-convent and the church in honor of San Antonio de Padua, you will find factories and stores with a wide variety of guayaberas, made out of cotton or linen, with a diverse range of colors and sizes: a true shopping paradise for buying as many guayaberas as you want.
Also, Tekit has cenotes you can visit; the most popular are known as Bekal and Xpakay, for their easy access. You can practice ecotourism and hiking in the area; ask the locals for information, they will kindly point you in the right direction.
This month don’t miss the Guayabera Fair (2nd edition) that will take place from July 14th to July 23rd, 2018, with 25 local exhibitors showing off why Tekit is known as the “Guayabera Capital.”
Visit Tekit and get your guayabera, because if you visit Yucatán you can’t leave without one…or more! Also available in Mérida at G. Candila guayabera shops.