Behind The Design: The Contla Collection

Our newest addition just dropped, and we are stoked on all the ways to rep the Contla region this summer.  Inspired by the native serapes of the region, championed by Ensenada’s own Alan Ampudia, and woven with the rich history of the Mexican culture and generosity of the Ampudia Family, melin’s Contla Collection is as meaningful as it is unique. 


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What’s Contla?

Short for Contla de Juan Cuamatzi, Contla is a municipality in south-eastern Mexico, made up of the San Miguel and San Bernardino villages.  Located just outside Mexico City, and relatively central within the country’s mainland, Contla served as a crossroads through the wars, history, migrations, and conflict that Mexico has experienced. 


What was born of that storied timeline? 


The serape, or what you may know as a “Mexican blanket,” is actually a direct descendant of the Contla region, and each one tells its own story.  Every characteristic, from color, pattern, thickness, and shape can all be traced back to why that serape was woven and where it came from.  The serape is 100% Contla, and we are humbled to be able to showcase such an illustrious piece of tradition.


For instance, serapes hailing from mountain regions are thicker and woven with darker hues thanks to the sheep from that region producing a darker and denser wool.  However, the iconic and striking serapes of today are quintessential of traditional Mexico City.  A darker hue, with a vibrant weaving together of bright colorways and bold patterns, intended to stand out amongst crowds, rather than staying warm in the highlands.


Serapes bear strong ties with war, family, and honor as well.  During conflict, each regiment would have their own serape, identifying their unit and banding them together as brothers.  Upon returning home, those same serapes would be honorably displayed to showcase wartime bravery and symbolize a dedication to one’s country.    


While Mexico was subject to Spanish colonization, serapes once again played an honorable part in times of unrest.  Former soldiers, townspeople, and those who stood against colonization would wear serapes to represent ties to their Mexican homeland, and conceal weapons for protection against the oppressive Spanish colonization. 


When we see a serape, we see history, culture, and an inspiring and emotional connection to triumph along with tightly woven fabrics bonding the region to the people, the past to the present. 



Ampudia, The Racer.

When your dad is a Baja 1000 and short course racing legend, and you’re the middle of 3 brothers, competition and racing are ingrained from the very beginning.  When your family also happens to own the infamous Papas & Beer Beach Club in Rosarito, you know how to have yourself a damn good time. 


Meet Alan Ampudia.  The family-first, high-RPM’s and even higher-octane personality with whom we have partnered to bring you the Contla Collection.  Alan is a born and bred product of Ensenada, a Baja 1000 Champion, a brother to two, and the loving son of Rodrigo & Patricia Ampudia.  He’s also our friend and we’re gearing up on our Spanish in hopes of getting that VIP invite to Papas & Beer this summer. 


Born December 1990, in Ensenada, and carrying on the racing legacy of his father, Rodrigo, and his older Brother, Rodrigo Jr., Alan grew up in a lovingly competitive home.  By 4 years old he was racing dirt bikes and it wasn’t until a major injury in his teenage years that he even started racing cars. 


Fast forward to 2019.  Alan has carved out a name for himself in the SCORE International Circuit.  His momentum is building, he’s winning races and listed more and more as a perennial favorite to podium.  Well, COVID hits, and racing stops.  Unsure of what’s to come, Alan does his best to stay fit throughout the pandemic; running, body weight workouts, anything. 


There are grumblings that the BAJA 1000 may still race that year, November to be exact, 8 months after the shutdown.  Alan and his team show up, ready to go. 


The Baja 1000 is 1000 miles, in one day, traversing terrain and extreme weather, and widely considered the most dangerous race on the SCORE circuit.  Amidst a year of adversity, and racing through his native Baja, Alan wins.  And not only does he cement himself in Baja 1000 lore, but he does so on home soil, much to the delight of his countrymen. 


Similar to the serapes his ancestors wore, being a Baja 1000 Champion is a fabled accomplishment and a badge of honor symbolizing bravery, courage, and an unwavering attitude to see a goal, embark toward it, and not stop until it’s reached. 


Alan is a born and bred competitor, a sportsman at heart, and fueled by the love of his endearing family, and fighting fiber of his native Mexico. 


We’re lucky to have you, Champ. 



La Fundación Mujeres Que Viven.


Translated as ‘The Living Women Foundation,’ the Ampudia’s charity is how they fight the good fight against breast cancer.  Alan’s mother, Patricia, is a breast cancer survivor and now champions her own fight against the disease with the help or her husband and three sons. 


With their resources from Papas & Beer, and successes in racing, the Ampudia’s have devoted themselves towards giving back to the women of surrounding municipalities by providing them the treatment necessary to combat breast cancer.  Centering around the medical, physical, and emotional aspects of treatment, the Foundation provides early check-ups, intensive treatment throughout, and the necessary adjustments along the way, whether they be clothing, wigs, outings, support, and most of all, love and community. 


The Ampudia’s not only do everything in their power to help treat and try to prevent breast cancer, but they also ensure that no one goes through this process alone.  Just like their family, and their racing team, they know that strength comes from those that surround you, and with their foundation, they can strengthen women with love, education, and support. 


Proceeds from each Contla purchased will be donated to the Foundation and we are so grateful to be able to assist in any way possible. 


No Two Are Alike.

In true homage to the handcrafted uniqueness of the traditional serape, and the individual obstacles we encounter along our own races and journeys, no two Coronado serape prints are the same.  Each one different, each one bearing a different starting point to the journey that begins each time you put your Contla on.