Mister Freedom® “MERIDANA” Shirt, Indigo Linen & Oatmeal Chambray Hemp-Linen-Cotton, SS2020 mfsc “Yucatán” collection. Made in Japan.

Mister Freedom® “MERIDANA” Shirt, Indigo Linen & Oatmeal Chambray Hemp/Linen/Cotton (50/25/25).
SS2020 mfsc YUCATÁN Collection.
Made in Japan.

Visitors of the ol’ MF® pile o’ rags know they can always count on a curated vintage selection of “South of The Border” textiles and garb from the Americas, like hand-woven Guatemalan huipiles, embroidered campesina blouses, vegetable-dye wool Mexican serapes, Caribbean-print tourist shirts… and, of course, old Guayaberas. The rare vintage specimen we score get snapped-up quite quickly at our store, and I always have my radar on while rag picking. I can’t pass in front of a rack of used, contemporary shortsleeved poly-cotton Guayaberas (a common feature of California ‘vintage’ stores and markets) without scoping the selection for an OG, an abuelo, an elusive all-cotton 50’s-60’s hidden specimen! It’s always a thrill when one pops-up, and a ¡Caramba! usually follows.

As with most iconic designs rooted in 19th Century traditional clothing, old folklore and history, the Guayabera’s tale remains unclear even for costume scholars. Its disputed origins are found in Cuba (a Spanish military garment was apparently called Guayabera, and the Guayabana was sported by guava farmers…), the Dominican Republic (the traditional chacabana), Spain, and Mexico via the Philippines (the barong shirt)…
The HistoryMiami Museum held an exhibition in 2012, with research leading to interesting conjectures and displayed artifacts.

In Mexico, the style is sometimes referred to as camiseta de Yucatán (Yucatán shirt), making it quite an inevitable fitting candidate for one of our Mister Freedom® SS2020 mfsc line-up, a capsule collection called Yucatán, initially introduced during Spring 2019.

The design of our shirt is heavily inspired by a vintage 1950’s specimen from our archives, sporting an obscure “Meridana” label that read: “Hecho en Mexico, Merida, Yuc.” That original white cotton shirt (made in Mérida, capital city of Yucatán State, Mexico) had all the bells and whistle of traditional Guayaberas: the characteristic four patch pockets, front and back tiny pleats (alforza), arcuate shoulder and bottom yoke, side vents, and enough decorative buttons to set-up a notion store.

On a side costume history note, it is believed that the famous pointy “western yoke” familiar to all western-wear aficionados actually finds its origin in the guayabera shirts allegedly sported by 1800’s Mexican vaqueros and rancheros, whose horsemanship, cultural heritage, and style are known to have influenced the American cowboy. If this is true, the arcuate is more likely to have come from Spain, as the scalloped yoke is not an uncommon feature of vintage European clothing from the period.

Back to our Guayabera. If we kept the overall vibe and essence of that vintage shirt for our humble fashion interpretation, we decided to replace the tight rows of stitched vertical pleats (called alforza, and by the intricacy of which the status of quality tailoring traditionally depends) by appliqué panels, racing-style, respectfully leaving the title of “King of the Guayabera” to Señor Ramón Puig, while we stick to the dune buggy fever flavor of our theme.
We added a 1950’s style “loop” collar, no top stitch, typical of early models and classic open collar mid-century sport shirts.

For front closure, we tried sourcing-out the classic Mexican “souvenir shirts” oblong grooved buttons, but to no avail. Couldn’t even figure-out what they are called. So we had a limited batch custom-made and replicated from a vintage specimen, opting for actual ox bone material instead of the usual plastic. As these have to be attached by hand, not machine, they might have to be re-stitched occasionally, a minor operation accessible to anyone who can thread a needle, not a bad skill to acquire for anyone who finds benefits in prolonging the life of a garment, rather than discarding it.
Our MERIDANA would be good practice over time, as it features twenty-eight (!) buttons, a combination of two styles: the oblong hand-sewn ones aforementioned, and a vintage 1930’s new old stock model of Portuguese manufacture from our archives, also made from ox bone. We still had a few boxes from our 2012 Prairie Shirt production…

The fabrics we opted for are new to the world of traditional Guayaberas, as far as we know. We are introducing our MERIDANA in a beautiful indigo-dyed fine linen, quite similar to the fabric of the MF® Liquette M35. The second option is a métisse oatmeal selvedge selvedge chambray, a fancy mid-weight blend of 50% hemp, 25% linen and 25% cotton. Both fabrics drape very differently, but have the classic crispiness and wrinkly quality associated with linen/hemp fibers.

Style-wise, these untucked tropical shirts are quite versatile. Our MERIDANA can be paired with dressy gents’ trousers, cool Californian colored jeans or blue jeans, chinos, vintage slacks… eventually complimented by a pair of huaraches (the traditional Mexican ones, not the made-in-China Swoosh brand stuff) or Spanish/French espadrilles. And a Panama hat for good measure.
Visual inspiration abound, the classic 1956 shots of Papa Hemingway with buddy Gary Cooper in Cuba, Phil Stern’s photos of the Duke in Acapulco circa 1947 (some with Cooper again, apparently sold on the style!), and countless other old snapshots of cool dudes.

The mfsc MERIDANA is designed in California by Mister Freedom®, and manufactured in Japan by Sugar Cane Co., from fabrics milled in Japan.

GARMENT SPECS:
PATTERN:
Inspired by traditional Guayabera-type shirts and other vintage tropical garments, revisited with a 1940’s-1950’s twist.

FABRICS:
Two distinct options:
a) Dark indigo-dyed plain weave, 100% linen, lightweight and breezy, milled in Japan.
Note: This indigo fabric is prone to “bleeding” (color transfer) and is very light sensitive. The indigo color will rub-off on lighter colored fabrics, skin, and furniture. Exposure to the sun will rapidly alter the indigo blue hues, and the shirt should be stored away from sunlight.
b) Mid-weight métisse oatmeal selvedge chambray, very slubby blend of 50% hemp, 25% linen and 25% cotton, milled in Japan.

DETAILS:
* Vintage-style tailoring and styling.
* Elegant long-sleeve model.
* Four front patch pockets.
* Vertical stitched-down paneling strips, racing style, front and back.
* Buttoned side slits.
* Attractive arcuate shoulder yoke, bottom hem, and pocket yokes.
* Genuine ox-bone Mexican “souvenir shirt” traditional oblong buttons.
* Decorative vintage NOS ox-bone 1920’s classic buttons.
* Combination of 28 functional and decorative buttons.
* 1950’s-style “loop” open collar pattern, no top stitch.
* Original mfsc “YUCATÁN” woven rayon label.
* Made in Japan.

SIZING/FIT:
Both fabric options of the MF® “MERIDANA” come raw/un-rinsed.
We recommend the usual protocol before wearing:
* Cold soak for about 30-40mn, with occasional hand agitation.
* Spin dry and line dry (not in full sun for the indigo version.)

Both versions will fit approximately the same following the above procedure. Both indigo linen and oatmeal chambray fabrics are so distinct in texture, weight and drape that they will feel quite different, but technically fit the same. The chambray tends to have a bit more mechanical stretch, due to the looser weave. The classic crispiness and wrinkly quality associated with linen/hemp fibers is expected and normal.
I am usually a Medium (15½) in mfsc shirting, and I opted for a comfortable Medium in both fabric options. The fit picture features a Medium in both fabrics after one cold soak/line dry, and a bit more shrinkage and fabric torque/puckering might be expected down the line. 

We recommend matching the measurements below to a shirt you own, of similar untuck and comfortable style, in order to figure which size will work best for you. For reference, this is how we measure our garments.
When using a cloth measuring tape, make sure the tape has not stretched overtime and is accurate.

CARE:
Launder when needed.
a) Indigo linen model: Fully un-button before laundering. Treat as a delicate fancy shirt. Hand wash recommenced, or machine wash on gentle cycle, cold water, minimum eco-friendly mild detergent and line dry.
Attractive patina will potentially develop according to activities and frequency of wear.
Note: This indigo fabric is prone to “bleeding” (color transfer) and is very light sensitive. The indigo color will rub-off on lighter colored fabrics, skin, and furniture. Exposure to the sun will rapidly alter the indigo blue hues, and the shirt should be stored away from sunlight.
b) Oatmeal hemp chambray model: Fully un-button before laundering. Treat as a delicate fancy shirt. Hand wash recommenced, or machine wash on gentle cycle, cold water, minimum eco-friendly mild detergent and line dry.

Available RAW/unwashed.
SIZES:
14½ (Small)
15½ (Medium)
16½ (Large)
17½ (X-Large)
18½ (XX-Large)

Available from our Los Angeles brick & mortar HQ, from www.misterfreedom.com, and fine retailers around the World.
Email sales@misterfreedom.com or call 323-653-2014 with any questions unanswered above.
Thank you for your support, and stay safe.

Christophe Loiron
Mister Freedom®
©2020

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