The needle and thread behind Fiesta fashion

Fiesta Council honors retiring seamstress Linda Medina

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Linda Medina’s work is known throughout Northern New Mexico and has been carried by fiesta queens and courts for over three decades.

The Taos seamstress retired this year as the woman behind the clothing for the Taos Fiesta Council and the royal court’s traditional dresses. She is letting someone else piece together the intricate fiesta fashion.

"Linda is one of the few people who, as a seamstress, has the talent and the art to make Northern New Mexico attire,” said Fiesta Council President Don Francisco Trujillo II.

Medina began her craft many years ago and has perfected the art. After one of her aunts taught her the art of the dress, she began turning out her own pieces and maintained the traditional style seen across New Mexico.

The traditional white dresses with colorful additions are worn each year by fiesta queens and their court as a symbol of the culture and heritage of Northern New Mexico. Each dress is hand crafted to fit the girls. Each member of the royal court must wear one outfit for ceremonial appearances.

Over the years, Medina has sewn dresses for Taos and Santa Fe fiestas and has become the envy of the state in her designs and patterns. 

“I just wanted the girls to look really good,” she said. “I wanted everyone to say ‘wow look at the girls from Taos.’ ”

Most of the time, Medina would even sew the dresses for free just so the girls would be able to wear them and not have to worry about the financial side of it. 

“It’s just something I wanted to do for my community,” Median said. 

Medina added that she never wanted to be on stage with all the court and instead, avoided the spotlight by sticking to her craft. Over the years, people became keen to her talents and the dresses continued to be seen on floats, fiestas and events across the state.

Each year she sits back and watches the parade go by with her dresses worn by court after court.

"All the neighborhoods get together," she said about the fiestas. "Its just a very special time and everybody wants to look their best."

Medina is being honored for her countless contributions over the years. She said it could not have been possible without the past and present Taos Fiesta Council members.

"Even through the most trying of times for her, she insisted on making the outfits for the girls,” Trujillo said.

She currently lives in Albuquerque and said driving back and forth would be too much. Instead, the torch has been passed to someone she said is talented and able to continue the tradition of the look of the fiestas.

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