The Desert Wears Prada- Marfa, Texas

Ironically I heard the biggest buzz about the Prada Marfa Installation while I was living in Europe.  Being from Texas, especially West Texas, I knew I wanted to check it out- but much like everyone else, I assume, I didn’t realize that it was really in the middle of no where. It’s not a place you just happen to be driving through. It’s hours away from any big city, or city big enough to fly into. There aren’t tons of interesting stops along the way. It’s pure dirt devils, eagles, and tumble weeds. If you only knew 1 out of those 3, it’ll be an experience for you. I’d imagine if you threw in some horses, cowboy boots, and guns- it’s exactly how the outside world pictures Texas to be.

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Yet, once you arrive in Marfa you come across so many wandering people who simply aren’t from there. Austin-ites, Californians, New Yorkers, maybe even some Europeans (well, if they’re not there- they want to be). So how did this happen? What pulls all these people, myself included, to drive a crazy distance into the middle of nowhere?

Could art be the answer?

I sincerely wish it was. However, I believe this was largely made possible by social media- or the spread of things on it. It took a couple awesome artists, who made a couple noteworthy installations, a couple celebrities stopped by, maybe a few instagram influencers, and boom- Marfa became the place to visit. Especially in the fashion world.

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I almost felt as if the town was an art installation entirely. Like it wasn’t even a real place. I partially grew up in West Texas so I am accustomed to predominantly Mexican/Mexican American towns with little to no people, casual small town life, tons of dirt, and authentic Mexican food. Throw in (probably well traveled) art loving hipsters from all areas of the world and I am confused. But not in a bad way.

By this point you’re probably just as confused about what I think of Marfa. Just so you don’t misunderstand me, I loved it. I never realized how much I missed the desert until I got excited about seeing a tumbleweed while on our drive. I’ve never truly appreciated the uniqueness of this area in Texas until now.

If there is anything so special about Marfa, it’s that these people from all over are waiting in line to order a burrito, attempting Spanish, embracing the desert, and the life of the area- whether they know it or not.

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Driving around, it’s like any other tiny Texas town- small buildings, a city hall, maybe some railroad tracks, but then you come across innovative stores that you’d expect to see in Brooklyn. You’ll find some posh boutique hotels and glamping tee-pee’s. Some of the best food. Then about 37 miles outside of Marfa, in what is technically Valentine, Texas- is one of the biggest highlights.

The Prada Marfa Installation.

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For some odd reason I expected it to be larger, to stand out more, to have more than a couple people in front. But I suppose that is the most alluring thing about this little marvel. Truth be told, you might just blink and miss it. There was no one there. We parked outside and had it completely to ourselves for a good 10 mins until just one other car stopped. We marveled, took some pictures, browsed the products (actual Prada from the fall/winter 2005 collection). And then we continued on to El Paso to visit family without a hint of regret for the stop that added an hour to our travels. Keep in mind, its an art installation. You can’t go in, it’s not closed, and it will never open.

 

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Courtesy of Google Reviews. Sarcasm or not- don’t get your hopes up as much as this guy.

 

While I know there’s been some issues with an influx of visitors. I don’t think Marfa will lose it’s character. Maybe they’ll be an influx of people, maybe the locals won’t like it, but I’d be so proud of my little town if it was deemed special enough to bring in people from all over the world, regardless of a remote location.

I’ll be back for glamping and a view of the Marfa lights. I just know it.

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Planning on visiting soon?

While our visit was more of a pit stop. We got just enough of a taste to want to come back. We ended up in Marfa on a Monday, so most of the stores were closed. Maybe this could also be why there was no one at the installation when we got there? Perhaps.

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Having driven 6 hours from Austin, we had worked up an appetite. Hearing so much about Food Shark, it was our original plan to eat there, but as our luck goes- it was closed. No big deal. Our first stop ended up being Marfa Burrito, which offers a selection of huge delicious burritos served straight from an Abuelita’s kitchen. Or atleast that’s what it reminds me of. Run by Ramona Tejada out of her personal kitchen with two other women helping. It’s brought in lots of people, including celebrities. {See Gram’s? I told you we should’ve turned your kitchen into at least a drive thru!} It’s casual, it’s authentic, and while it may not be the most remarkable burrito I’ve had. It’s a novelty and the overall experience was great. You can’t go wrong with a bean and cheese. I’m no wimp when it comes to chile. I said yes when they asked if I wanted it in the burrito, but it was HOT.

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We drove through the town to get a taste of what it had to offer before heading out to the Prada Marfa Installation. I highly suggest driving/walking/exploring the town.

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As far as the installation goes. We parked on the same side as it. I know there are others who prefer to park across the street, but the highway was a little too fast for me to feel comfortable standing in. Even if you can see the cars coming from a distance.

Overall it was a cool experience, it had tons of character. I just never knew that a location similar to my childhood upbringing could bring the likes of Matthew Mcconaughey and Beyonce.

 

 

Be safe out there and enjoy the oddity, folks!

 

 

 

 

No relation and I definitely do not get any profit, however if you would like to read more from Vogue on the making of the Prada Installation, you can do so by clicking here.

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