Fresh Eyes

Mexico City

By Rebecca Dalzell

Marriott Hotels and VSCO, a community of creators, asked a Mexican photographer to share her observations about Mexico City’s lively, enterprising spirit.

03 Min Read Time


Forgive Mexico City for preening. Long overlooked by tourists, it has become a destination for stylish jet-setters drawn to its exciting food scene and creative vibe. There’s a palpable energy in the teeming streets, which are filled with immigrants from across Latin America. Chilangos, as the locals call themselves, are newly confident, mining their rich culture for design inspiration and business ideas.

Ashley Frangie has witnessed the capital’s transformation over the last decade. Raised in Guadalajara, the Los Angeles–based photographer returns to Mexico often to shoot. Mariott Hotels and VSCO, a community of creators, asked her to see Mexico City with fresh eyes and talk about its enterprising spirit.

Mexico City is like a lot of worlds together, smashed into one city. There are so many modern things going on — artists, pop-up shops, galleries, startups, new ways of interpreting Mexican food — and the old-school taco trucks that have been there forever and this guy who only fixes boots. It’s this mix between being the hub of Latin America but also a bit of a small town. That’s the magic.

There are a mixture of modern buildings by international architects and beautiful colonial buildings. In Condesa and Roma there were huge abandoned houses, with center patios and high ceilings, that people have bought and transformed into shops. But there are also poverty belts with tons of shacks.

We don’t only eat tacos. On the street people sell huaraches, potato chips, little churros, papaya or dried fruits with chili. There’s a coconut guy that rings a specific bell and knows which houses will buy a baggie of coconut at a specific time.

Chefs like Enrique Olvera are revolutionizing the food industry. There are new places where they make ceviches out of fresh seafood but combine them with ingredients from all over the world. Coffee is also becoming huge. There’s tons of modern coffee shops with Chiapas or Oaxaca coffee. You sit and read Vogue, but at the same time the plates are beautiful ceramics from Oaxaca.

Over the last 20 years, I think what happened is the world started looking at Mexico. People are becoming proud of Mexico. The young generation is more educated, active and extremely entrepreneurial. They are conscious of how amazing our country is.

At Marriott Hotels, everything we do is guided by the principle that travel feeds the mind and inspires new perspectives. For the second year we have partnered with leading art and technology company VSCO to create a new digital visual series designed to inspire creativity, tapping into the VSCO global community to capture images and moving-image stories of different people, lifestyles and cultures across the world.