Last week we traveled to San Juan la Laguna in Lago de Atitlán. It was not an expected trip and it was super short. We were so happy to visit Ceci and Doña Maria, two experts in natural dyes, and have a conversation about how we could possibly improve the natural hand dye process, in terms of quality, sustainability and infrastructure.
We are soon launching our new clothing collection, and natural dyes are at the heart of this collection, making this a very important trip – to take the time to think together of multiple ways in which this ancient technique could move forward.
That same day we also made an additional stop to visit Lucia, a woman who lives at the other side of the lake. Lucia is the leader of a Wakami group that produces some of the bracelets we sell. She showed us her house, including the terrace where all the women gather to work on the bracelets. The view from her house was so beautiful; you could see the lake and the volcanoes surrounding it.
It is truly inspiring and humbling to meet with these women who use ancestral techniques to create things – bracelets, naturally hand-dyed fabrics that will become fashionable clothing, bags, and more, and to know that we have a part in their success.
As I looked out over the view from Lucia’s terrace, I started thinking of what it really means when we say “handmade by women from different communities.” Many of the products we have are composed of different elements that come from different villages. I thought of all the hands which touch and create these beautiful things on their way to our customers, all the places they come from – many hands in many villages. We are honored by all the magic, the energy, the work, and the love that is placed into each product.
It made me think of how raw materials are turned into products, and the hands that made them are transformed as well.
Each community has its own set of skills and techniques they use, so this made me realize how each decision we make in the design process tells us where this product will be traveling to and which hands will create it.
And I wonder, sometimes, where these products will end up. Will they be a gift for a special person in a far-away land? A personal purchase, to wear with a special outfit – or perhaps every day with every outfit?
We are excited about the natural dye process and the possible changes we talked about – and mostly what the process will do for the beautiful clothing we’ll be producing. When we launch it, we´ll tell you all the details and what we decided together.