HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE IDEA OF PROTEO?
Whenever I finished fashion school, my first brand was a very high quality tailored suit project. It was something I loved doing; My main type of clients were politicians, business men and in general very conservative guys. In Mexican culture being “macho”is the most desired quality for anyone to have; and the recurring comment I got from my clients was that I had their respect because I didn’t look “that gay”. This made me so unhappy, made me feel I was hiding who I really was in order to be successful and also made me feel I was giving up to my true self to be respected.
That’s when I decided I had to rebel in some way, I couldn't just drop my business and run away, I had to do something to feel I was being honest somehow. So that’s when I started wearing lingerie under my very fancy suits. If I had a meeting with some senator or any other big shot, I would wear the most beautiful lingerie underneath. That made me feel like I was winning, cause even without them knowing. I felt sexy and powerful in this “typically” feminine way. It was a secret and it empowered me.
Time went by and I realized it was much more than just clothing. It was something that made me feel complete. But as obsessive as I am with patterns and fit (because of my training) I realized most of the things I bought weren’t particularly practical to wear “all day long. So I started developing my own patterns, to fulfill my needs so it would be beautiful and also wearable in large time frames. This remained a secret for anyone in my workshop, I had to do all the samples whenever everyone was gone, and erase track of everything by the time they came back the next day.
Until one day I decided I was proud of myself, what I've accomplished as “a man” but also realized there shouldn't be just “one way” of being a man. I knew it was going to be something that could hurt my reputation in a bad way, because people woulndt want to be involved with me workwise if I “came out” as a lingerie designer for men.
But at this point, 3 years later I was ready and willing to take the consequences.
That’s when in december 2019 I made the first collection and decided to launch it to the world, it was all or nothing. I could fail miserably and also “stain” my name. Or succeed and show the world how many different ways of “being a respectable man” exist. And that wearing lingerie is one of them too.
WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO GIVE THIS NAME TO THE BRAND?
Proteo is the mix in between two very important important things for me, fist of all is my favorite flower “king protea” which is a very rare and expensive flower that looks tough and intimidating on the outside, but happens to be very soft and delicate on the inside.
That’s how I see men in general, we’re expected to develop this tough armour on the outside to fulfill whatever being a “man” means, but the ones that are lucky enough get to shelter their feelings intact in this very soft core that is our heart.
The second one is “proteus” (greek mythology) sea God, guardian of the sea. Often portrayed as hybrid in between human and snake. As you know, snakes in history resemble phallic symbols and sex, so it seemed appropriate to honor this god as well.
WHAT IS THE MESSAGE YOU WANT TO SPREAD WITH PROTEO?
Our main goal is to let anyone know there are different types of masculinity, and embracing your fememine side is the most powerful thing. That these stereotypes of toxic masculinity are dated and that feeling sexy in lace is for every person who wants to experience it.
Who would you like to see posing with their Proteo lingerie?
DEFINITELY LIL NAS X, and as a fictional character. It would have to be James Bond, he is the “ultimate man’s man”. So he is powerful enough to show the boys they’re capable of wearing lingerie too and save the world while doing it.
What are your future plans?
Actually with these past collections I think i’ve gotten to understand what the client really wants, and also I’m confident enough to make whatever I want.
So we’re really going for what lingerie stands for. Top parts included.
Our next collection is so thoroughly crafted people will really gag.
Also, theres a future “art + wearable” piece coming. You’ll be able to display it in your living room and wear it as well.