Exactly one year ago, Threads of Peru launched its 2013 wholesale catalogue, in which it reiterates the connection between the mission of Threads of Peru and the Slow Fashion movement. Having heard of the “Slow Movement” before, I wanted to investigate in a bit more detail and elaborate on how Threads of Peru also embodies the values of this worldwide endeavor.
The Slow Fashion Movement is rooted in the belief that all stakeholders in the fashion and textiles industry should emphasize social, economic, and ecological responsibility. By encouraging individuals to slow down consumption, which eases the detriments that today’s “fast fashion” trends have on workers and the environment, the movement seeks to create a more sustainable future for the fashion and textiles industry.
One value of the Slow Fashion movement, as identified by Slow Fashion Forward, a consultancy, is the emphasis on locality: utilizing local materials and human capital in the production of textiles and garments. Threads of Peru purchases directly from indigenous weavers that source all of their materials from native plants and insects, found on the mountain peaks and fertile valleys of the Peruvian Andes. By doing so, the weavers claim little to no environmental footprint in their production process.
Juana Paola, former president of the Huaran weaving association, proudly claims knowing 280 traditional designs, for which she only uses her memory as reference.
Valuing people is central to Slow Fashion. The movement requires that workers are paid fair wages and it encourages their economic and professional development. Threads of Peru pays fair trade prices to weavers and reinvest all profits, after covering minimal administrative costs, back into the communities through skills building and professional capacitation projects. They also respect not only the time necessary to weave, estimating at least one month production for each piece, but also the time of the weavers themselves, as responsibilities including childcare, tending to their fields, household cooking and cleaning, are also integral to their well-being.
Superior quality is both a value and, in many ways, a result of the Slow Fashion movement. For consumers, there is a clear choice: to buy large quantities of cheap items that may survive a few wears, or to invest in a few items that are made to last a lifetime. Threads of Peru strives to produce only textiles of the finest quality, believing the luxury and story of each piece will make it an unforgettable heirloom for generations to come.
Threads of Peru then takes the Slow Fashion movement one step further, having made the commitment in its founding mission to preserve a cultural tradition. The core values of the Slow Fashion movement pertain to responsibility, respect, and awareness. By marketing the incredible products that Andean weavers are able to create, Threads of Peru is spreading awareness about weaving traditions and providing the monetary means for these traditions to be passed on.
Written by: Meredith Baade
Photos: Jose Díaz and Hannah Lowndes (http://josediazcontrer.flavors.me/)