Threads of Peru Blog

Eliane expanding Threads with a capsule collection

Hola – Hoi – Hey – Salut

My time with Threads of Peru has exceeded my expectations. Visiting the communities and learning how to weave with a back strap loom myself has greatly inspired me. I was able to closely watch the weaver’s habits, their styling as well as the way they transport and wrap their belongings and purchases.

I immersed myself in the Andean culture trying to translate their textile tradition into the modern world. I was searching for a design language that both cultures – the Andean, and my own culture (which I would like to call European) will understand. 

Eliane out and about near the community of Chaullacocha during an entrega

Eliane out and about near the community of Chaullacocha during an entrega.

I am a fashion designer from Zurich, Switzerland, however for the past two years I have been living in Paris, France. I moved to Paris to work for the fashion designer LUTZ HUELLE. After two years of assisting the creative director, I decided that I was ready to take the next step and built up my own company and brand. 

Elaine learning to weave on a backstrap loom

 Elaine learning to weave on a backstrap loom.

However before embarking on this new chapter in my life, I wanted to widen my horizon further by seeing a corner of the world that is still unknown to me. Being passionate about textiles, design, pattern making and fashion, I applied to Threads of Peru proposing to design a little capsule collection for them. 

Eliane and Armando working on creating the prototypes for her capsule collection

Eliane and Armando working on creating the prototypes for her capsule collection.

As a result I used traditional pallays (textile designs) and known combinations, such as their black skirts with the colourful Golòn (a work-intensive and difficult ribbon), combined them with leather and gave them a modern, clean shape. I paid a lot of attention to finishings and details, which I believe are the essence of a clean, luxurious product. 

Sewing the prototypes with new shapes and sizes has been a fun adventure for the team in Chinchero

Sewing the prototypes with new shapes and sizes has been a fun adventure for the team in Chinchero.

I fell in love with Cusco and the surrounding communities and even though I don’t know what the future will bring and if I ever come back to this area, it has greatly impacted my life. It has also inspired me to travel and explore all traditional and unique textile techniques in the world. I would love to continue collaborating with other similar organizations around the world.

Eliane piled up in the back of a truck to make her way to the community of Parobamba

Eliane piled up in the back of a truck to make her way to the community of Parobamba.

I am very grateful to the team of Threads of Peru, Sarah So (volunteer coordinator) who made me feel at home and helped me wherever she could from the minute I landed in Cusco and Dana Blair (project coordinator) who took along to all her community visits and faithfully trusted in my design decisions, and all the other volunteers, Stephanie Pardi, Alexa Jones, Giulia Grassi and Harrison Ackerman who enriched my work but also private time in Cusco.

Giulia connecting Threads to the European market

Hola! My name is Giulia and I am from Italy. Currently I am living in London and studying Marketing at the London College of Fashion. It was my passion for both textiles and fashion that originally brought me to discover Threads of Peru. One day during a class called “Fabric and Fibers” at Central Saint Martins School, I discovered my interest in weaving and I wanted to know more about the process and Peruvian textiles in general.

Weavers from the community of Uppis. Photography by Giulia Grassi

Weavers from the community of Uppis. Photography by Giulia Grassi

When I first heard of Threads of Peru, I instantly connected with the organization’s mission of maintaining a population’s cultural tradition through innovative and efficient initiatives. Here at Threads of Peru I am doing a three-month internship, in which my main task is to analyze the organization’s current brand image and its current marketing plan. Threads of Peru is looking to expand its network and throughout my time here I have analyzed the European market in order to understand how to integrate Threads of Peru into this market. 

Natural dye workshop in Huaran. Photograph by Giulia Grassi

Natural dye workshop in Huaran. Photograph by Giulia Grassi

It is really interesting working with such a young organization like Threads of Peru because unlike working with most other start ups, working with Threads of Peru also involves discovering the world of Andean artisans, along with their culture and traditions. This type of understanding is what makes my work here so interesting. 

Volunteers Stephanie, Giuia, Eliane and Alexa riding in the back of a pickup truck in Quillabamba. Photography by Alexa Jones

Volunteers Stephanie, Giuia, Eliane and Alexa riding in the back of a pickup truck in Quillabamba. Photography by Alexa Jones

Working here at TOP has been a very exciting experience, moreover the team has been really friendly and there is such a good connection between all of us. 

Street in San Blas. Photograph by Giulia Grassi

Street in San Blas. Photograph by Giulia Grassi

Cusco is an amazing town. I love to walk through the streets of Cusco, especially the neighborhood of San Blas and enjoying a nice coffee there. Here people are nice and very friendly. Cusco is a town where it is easy to become inspired just about anywhere, with streets full of artisans selling amazing handcrafted jewelry and textile products, almost all artisans open to sharing with you their personal stories and skills. I really enjoyed my time here and when I leave I will really miss Threads of Peru and Cusco!

The wonders of the alpaca poncho

Ponchos have truly survived the currents of history, making its original debut as a clothing piece over 2,500 years ago, and still making an appearance in modern fashion. The Poncho has a long history dating back to 500BC worn by a Pre Incan people known as the Paracas. Though nowadays ponchos are worn in the Western world primarily as fashion pieces, ponchos were originally distinguished for their functionality. Their simple yet utilitarian design made them practical for agricultural work as well as for keeping the wearer protected from rain and moisture. Today, alpaca ponchos are reserved for more special occasions such as weddings and festivals.

Inca Poncho

Inca Poncho

Nevertheless, one can still find an poncho being sported as casual attire, especially on the streets of Cusco. Locals as well as tourists from many corners of the world often wear ponchos made from anything ranging from synthetic polyester wool blends to pure fine spun alpaca. After the sun sets in Cusco, temperatures plummet nearly 40 degrees within hours. Therefore, an alpaca poncho is an essential item to keep well-insulated during frigid Cusco nights. 

Jose Luis Poncho

 Jose Luis Poncho

In fact, ponchos do such a superb job of keeping the wearer warm that we feel fortunate that we have ample access to ponchos here in Peru. Luckily for those outside of The Land of the Incas, Threads of Peru provides you access with some of the highest quality artisan-made alpaca ponchos. Each alpaca poncho we sell is crafted by a talented artisan from one of the five communities we work with. The Jose Luis, Alejandro and Inca poncho feature neutral colored fibers and is perfect for cold weather climates. Bring a piece of Peru to your home!

With over 2,500 years of history woven from high quality alpaca fiber, the poncho is, and will always remain, a classic piece.

Where can I buy an alpaca poncho like this one?

Check out the alpaca ponchos found in the Threads of Peru store. 

Sources:

http://www.clothestellstories.com/index.php/telling-stories-with-clothes/ponchos

http://www.myperu.org/traditional_clothing_peru.html

ORG by vio joins Threads of Peru as a Partner NGO

This month, we are thrilled to announce that we will be featuring indigenous jewelry items by like-minded organization ORG by vio ® in our store!  ORG by vio is a non-profit that works in partnership with indigenous artisans in the Amazon to promote their culture and artistry and providing a sustainable source of income.  Just like Threads of Peru, ORG by vio sells fair trade items with the goal of increasing the livelihood of indigenous artisans.

Designer Violeta Villacorta founded the non-profit and designs collections of handmade jewelry, accessories, and eco fashion items using plant materials native to the Amazon.  She believes that “adornment connects us to something higher … it honors the beauty of the Earth and power of nature.”  We couldn’t agree more!  Here are some of the ORG by vio items we are featuring in our online store:

Collar 

AWAJUN BEA NECKLACE

NANTU BRACELET

NANTU BRACELET

ORG by vio joins other non-profits we are already working with to support indigenous Peruvian artisans on the path to economic empowerment and cultural preservation, Awamaki and Q’ente.

Founded in 2009, Awamaki’s mission is to “collaborate with the greater Ollantaytambo community to create economic opportunities and improve social well-being.”  They are committed to empowering “highly skilled Andean women artisans engaged in the market economy, running successful cooperative businesses, and leading their communities out of poverty.”

AWAMAKI 100% ALPACA BABY BOBBLE HAT

 

AWAMAKI 100% ALPACA BABY BOBBLE HAT

The Q’ente Textile Revitalization Society is “an incorporated British Columbia not-for-profit society, which works directly with over 100 weavers in the Sacred Valley region of Peru by providing an outlet to sell textiles in North America. The aim of the project is to establish sustainability in the Sacred Valley region through the textile tradition, which is an integral part of the Quechua culture, history, and economy.”

Q'ENTE APU BELT

 

Q'ENTE APU BELT

From the handmade textiles of Awamaki to handwoven wool purses of Q’ente, the fair trade jewelry by ORG by vio adds to the variety of our products and showcases talent and culture of Peruvian artists in the Andes and the Amazon.

Announcing the Launch of Threads of Peru's 2013 Wholesale Catalogue!

Are you a retailer who is interested in high quality hand-made goods, traditional culture, natural materials and the principles of fair trade? Are you a business-person looking to invest in some traditional artwork for corporate headquarters, or a hotel owner looking for new, ethical and culturally-inspired decoration ideas?

If so, you might be interested to browse through our freshly minted wholesale catalogue! 

Poncho Models

This catalogue features some of our finest and most highly sought items, a refined selection curated from the regular collection of textiles featured on our website and online shops. 

Ponchos

 Here at Threads of Peru, we aim to offer a more authentic and sustainable view of fashion, one that interconnects textiles, people, and the world, according to the principles of the worldwide Slow Fashion movement. [border] Slow Fashion is about providing a more sustainable future for the textile and clothing sector, linking fashion with awareness and responsibility, shifting value away from consumption to a conscious valuation of quality and durability in the products you buy and use.

Weaver hand

Weavers

 Each Threads of Peru textile is carefully woven one at a time according to centuries of tradition. Our products foster ecological and cultural integrity, as we focus on producing unique pieces from 100% natural materials.

Contact us today for your very own copy of Threads of Peru’s 2013 Wholesale Catalogue!