A handwoven textile is more than just a piece of fabric; it’s a piece of history. Peruvian textiles can be traced back for thousands of years. Careful preservation has kept this art form alive today, and the skilled artisans who create the woven fabrics used in our designs, do so by combining heritage techniques passed down through generations, with technology that ranges from traditional to modern.
The process may seem simple enough–one set of threads is interlaced with another. However, the act of hand-weaving is anything but. Hand-weaving is a time-consuming task, and achieving the delicate balance of tension required to produce straight lines and even borders is challenging to master. In ancient times, weavers created panels of fabric using only their hands and some simple tools. Lap looms were some of the first devices designed to weave yarn into cloth. A lap loom is a simple wooden frame that allows the weaver to keep one set of threads stretched taut while passing a second set of threads through with the help of a spindle-shaped tool known as a shuttle. As technology advanced, the backstrap loom was created, allowing artisans to produce more complex designs at a quicker rate.
During the Industrial Revolution, the power loom industrialized weaving, turning textile production into a completely automated process. In spite of this invention, present-day artisans in many parts of Peru continue to utilize the heritage techniques handed down from their ancestors, creating stunning textiles by hand on wooden looms. Producing textiles in this way allows for one-of-a-kind pieces while preserving centuries of artistry, history, and tradition.
Like threads within fabric, handwoven textile design is intertwined within Peru’s cultural identity. The art of weaving tells a story. Images of everyday life, along with sacred symbols, are woven into the fabric to produce a true expression of cultural heritage. The patterns, designs, and materials used represent the lives of the artisans, the ancestry of their people, and even the geography of their land. Weavers depict their lives through their textile creations—vividly capturing memories, preserving history, conveying values, and sharing customs—one piece of fabric at a time.
Now you can start your own story with a beautifully handwoven garment that you’ll treasure for years to come. This year we’re excited to add soft, handwoven, organic cotton styles to our spring line of sustainable fashion. Fall in love with the texture of handwoven organic cotton hand-loomed in central Peru; each piece adds softness and sophistication to your wardrobe while telling a story. Choose from our new Woven Poncho, with a textured mid-weight perfect for all seasons; the Woven Bell Sleeve Sweater, with an artisan-knit bodice and woven cuff accents; and our new Crossover Drape Pant - available in Undyed Natural, and Garment Dyed Moss Green and Black. These new pieces are spring styles you can wear right away while celebrating people and planet with the artisanship and quality of ethically made clothing.
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Or Preview our Spring '19 Sustainable Fashion Collection
Shop the looks above by clicking the images.
Written by Julie Benefield for INDIGENOUS