Here are presentlocker.com we are proud to feature some guest blogs from our artisans. Kicking off we feature Brandnative, who make the most divine handmade bags and accessories of the BEST quality.
Fashion Revolution Week – The story of the Wayuu women
April 18 2016, 0 Comments
This week is Fashion Revolution week! A week to ask the question “who made my clothes” and celebrate the beautiful makers and artisans around the world who work so hard to produce the items we wear!
brandnative wants to use this week as an opportunity to celebrate the beautiful Wayuu women we work with, who produce the amazing bags and accessories you see on our website.
Last time I visit Colombia I documented my trip and would love for you to read the incredible insight in to how these women work and live!
Wayuu women in a new shelter
The Wayuu women of the Guajira Peninsula in the North of Colombia are the most inspirational women I have ever met, they work so hard in poor conditions and always have a positive attitude to life. The products they create are so beautiful and unique that it has inspired me to create a strong company, which can support them and inspires other women to embrace the colours, vibrancy and happiness of the Colombian culture.
The Wayuu is one of the largest indigenous communities in Colombia.
I went back to visit the Wayuu in Colombia in December 2015 and met more amazing women who work tirelessly for their families in poor living conditions with very little, but still have the most amazing positive attitude to life, smiling and laughing and always seeing the positive in every situation.
A typical day for the Wayuu ladies starts very early; they wake around 4am and begin their daily routine. Once up, they’re first job is to organize the coffee and breakfast for the whole family. As they do not have electricity, everything is cooked over a large fire, which burns throughout the day. It is the husband’s job to get up and collect wood and water for the day. As their culture is matriarchal, the women are responsible for handing down their skills, traditions and way of life to their children. The family name and responsibility for the children’s education is passed down the mother’s line rather than the father’s. The Male role in these communities is to support the women and provide them with everything they need in order to work hard and provide for the household.
In order to take advantage of the daylight hours, following breakfast, changing and cleaning the children and general household duties the women begin work on the mochila bags. The particular skill the Wayuu women use is weaving and crocheting. The beautiful women produce incredible Mochila bags, belts and bracelets all made by hand, in wonderful colours and bold patterns – the patterns are called ‘kanas’ and each community has its own kanas inspired by the natural world where they live. The men also help make the straps, called ‘gaza’ and bracelets.
One of the special ladies I always visit when in Colombia is Celina Ipuna. At 54 Celina is one of the oldest “leaders” she has 3 children, Jose Francisco (27), Ana (23) and Maria (16) who she supports with the sale of the mochila bags. As a leader she has built a strong relationship with many of the women who help produce the bags; a fantastic, beautiful inspiration and role model, working with the less advantaged Wayuu, coordinating the production of the bags across Guajira. Being a “leader”, Celina is one of the lucky ones, with the determination to work hard and provide for her family she has been able to raise enough money to send one of her daughters, Ana to a Santander College in the local town to study psychology. This is a great privilege for her as many of the children of Wayuu women can not go to school and spend the days helping the family at the home, the younger girls learning the traditions and techniques of the mochila bag making that has been passed down from generation to generation.
At the end of our first day of visiting the tribe the people celebrated us being with them, by dressing in their special red dresses in honour of the occasion. They performed traditional dances and shared their food – ‘friche’ and ‘chivo’ (roast dinner and goat) offering a traditional homemade drink ‘chicha de maiz’ – a powerful drink made from water, sugar and corn. This kind generosity was so humbling to see, for people that have so little they are more than happy to share what they have in a kind and openhanded way. They also allowed us to stay with them, sleeping in hammocks called ‘chinchorros’.
Every time I visit these communities I am filled with a new passion and energy to help them by distributing their bags throughout Europe, America and more recently Dubai, in order to help them build a better life. Although the individual mochila bags do not bring in a lot of income, the consistency of the orders means they are able to make a small livelihood from making multiple bags every week. It is this determination that enthuses me to develop a strong business that will support these beautiful women for years to come.
Really hope that you enjoy our first guest blog, please do look out for more Brandnative products coming to presentlocker.com.
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