These 5 fashion collections honor the beauty and skill of Peruvian artisans and native materials.
Peru, known for the Incan culture and sights such as Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca and the Amazon, also has a rich heritage of textile creation going back nearly 10,00 years. In fact, Peru has the longest continuous history of textile creation of any country in the world, which was invented around the same time as humans started agriculture. Lucky for us, many of the textile traditions that sprung from these early times are still practiced by Peruvian artisans today, as has been discovered by several modern fashion designers and textile enthusiasts. The 5 brands and designers we’ve showcased here are seeking out underprivileged artisans in Peru and having them create gorgeous handmade fashion collections out of local fibers such as alpaca and cotton. Check them out to find your special piece of ‘Made in Peru’.
1. Alternative Apparel
Alternative Apparel recently launched its Made in Peru campaign, which comprises a behind-the-scenes film series documenting the collaboration between Alternative’s design team and their Peruvian partners. During their fall 2013 visit to Peru, Alternative created proprietary fabrics and dyeing techniques featured in a third of the Spring 2014 collection. The label is committed to using certified organic and Fair Trade cotton sourced from Peru, featuring a thinner, lighter and softer organic cotton yarn for its spring collection.
Awamaki is an organization that supports a cooperative of weavers and apparel makers in the Andes of Peru. The organization brings together the traditional weavers, visiting designers, and local seamstresses to create stylish clothing with a distinctive Peruvian touch. You can shop these items at Awamaki’s online store, but what’s even better is that you can actually visit the community of weavers and makers through workshops, home stays and volunteer programs organized by Awamaki.
Indigenous offers a collection of men’s and women’s basics and hand knit sweaters and shawls made out of the finest Peruvian cotton and wool. The label strongly believes in Fair Trade principles and organic textiles, with a mission “to elevate artisans in the poorest regions of South America to world renowned status in the handicraft market while preserving the rich cultural heritage.”
4. Killa Knits
Gorgeous, stylish and incredibly soft, all Killa Knits items are made out of responsibly sourced, Peruvian alpaca wool. All items are hand made by native artisans dwelling in villages along the Peruvian coast and in the Andes with traditional techniques passed down from generation to generation.
Based in the UK, Mamacha offers a range of hand knit alpaca wool basics like hats, jumpers, gloves, shawls, socks and legwarmers made by Peruvian artisans. Committed to providing employment for women living in impoverished parts of Peru, the brand makes sure to sell a certain amount of products each season to ensure ongoing work for their Peruvian crafters. Each item comes with a tag sporting the name of its worker, sharing a small bit of their story and pride with each garment.
Related on EcoSalon
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THREADED: The Awamaki Lab Places Peruvian Handwoven Textiles Front & Center
Images: Alternative Apparel, Awamaki, Indigenous, Killa Knits, Mamacha