It is a diverse group, but marked by the same passion, that of creativity, whether sewing, designing, making patterns, fabrics, accessories, everything that the Santa Cruz Carnival sue. And it is that the seamstresses, dressmakers, designers, are, eminently women, who are part of the safety net of a party that needs their hands and their talent so that groups, candidates, presenters, and everyone who gets on a stage, do so with the security of wearing the best suit possible.
DIARIO DE AVISOS has been able to speak with different women who in one way or another participate in the Carnival, even with some who have had to leave it due to the pandemic. This last case is that of Laura (not her real name) who prefers not to be identified because even though she’s not in the profession she loves now, she hopes she can get it back. “When I started in this I did it by making only a few ties for a murga, and I ended up making the whole costume, we even won prizes”. When Carnival arrived, “my mother and I were working from December to February, practically every day, without a break. Many hours and the truth that little money.
Precisely because “it is very difficult to live only from Carnival”, the pandemic forced Laura to dedicate herself to something else. “Outside the Carnival months you have to look for a life, and then you can’t take on big projects because you’re already involved in Carnival and they’re counting on you to go back to work in September,” she says. With the uncertainty about whether the Carnival would return or not, Laura had to choose, “it is not worth risking what I have now, without the security of having enough work,” she explains. She insists that she does not give up on sewing, I like it a lot, but when I go back to it it will be with more security”.
In a similar situation is Theresa Hernandez, although in his case he has been able to combine work with his workshop, despite the pandemic. She is an expert pattern maker with more than 20 years of profession, at 61 years old, she combines her sewing workshop with her employment in giving workshops by the City Council of Candelaria. She has always worked with the Valkirias, making the patterns of the designs that the formation chooses.
“In this case, they are simple patterns, since they only wear jackets,” he explains. Teresa is in the middle of moving. “I’m going to live in Arafo, and he took everything there, including the workshop.” During the pandemic, the possibility of teaching a Textile PFAE in Candelaria allowed him to save the stoppage imposed by COVID. Even so, she has already put her batteries to sew the orders that come to her. She is also a member of Tenerife Moda.
On the other side is Cristina Toledo, responsible for the textile company Texture Canarias SL. Although his activity is much greater than supplying the Carnival with designs, he admits that it is an important part of his business, especially in the normal months of the festival. They usually work with Mamluks. “That Carnival is in June does not mean more work for us, although it is true that we are not used to deliveries in this month. Perhaps the only difference is that we opt for simpler designs because the Carnival will be shorter”, she explains.
She says that “we are a company, we manufacture fabrics, we are not the typical seamstress who works at home during Carnival, we work in many textile areas and one of them is Carnival. Yes, it is true that when we started with the first classifications we thought it would be at its normal date, but well there was that small change but it was also a respite, because we are always against the clock, ”he comments with a laugh.
Even so, “it is true that at the time of Carnival we increased the work a lot and we can give more work to seamstresses”. In the pandemic, precisely because of having a broader activity, he says that “as textile manufacturers, and that we also print fabrics, we had the option of making masks, of printing them, of running the company in other areas. So in the pandemic we made masks, we made donations, suits for the doctors…”.
Another aspect of clothing is accessories, especially in groups such as murgas, which have become essential parts of their designs. Juliana and Brenda thrive in that field, who recognized that these days are full, almost without time for anything. “We take care of the accessories such as shoes, headdresses… Both for this time of year, and for the situation in general, it has been quite complicated to deal with the orders, to which we have to add the shortage of materials, the delay in transportation, and less help in the workshops because it is summer”, says Brenda.
He admits that “also the groups, due to this situation and due to the little that fantasies can show off, want simple things, there is also a shortage of money and it shows. Carnival means working non-stop. “We haven’t had rest days for about three months, and from 8:30 to 9:00 p.m. we don’t stop.”
She admits that this year without Carnival affected them, but, like most of those who are dedicated to sewing in one way or another for Carnival, “we have a business that is a tattoo studio, which we keep closed during Carnival, and the Rest of the year we open it. We also do theater, and now we are also in a production of a Canarian Television series, with costumes and art direction, and we are not only dedicated to this Carnival thing, depending on the time of year we are dedicated to one thing or another, but undoubtedly the year of the pandemic turned everything upside down.”
In traditional workshops such as Virginia Castro, in which, in addition to groups, they also sew for the street, engines are already heating up for group costumes, although she admits that this year people are not so excited “I have two groups for Carnival, but nothing more. It is clear that the pandemic has taken its toll on many families.”
He says that every year he works permanently with two groups that participate in the Santa Cruz Carnival, the murga Clandestinas, and the group Las Chicas del Coso, from Puerto de la Cruz. This year, Clandestinas has decided not to go out, so their work for the Carnival has also been reduced. Unlike the rest of the cases, the owner of Miss Trabas assures that the pandemic has been her “best year”. “I closed 15 days, and when I reopened the doors I had a queue of clients waiting to make clothing alterations. Fortunately, I don’t live only from Carnival”.