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REFLECTIONS FROM PERU | REFLECTIONS FROM PERU | REFLECTIONS FROM PERU | REFLECTIONS FROM PERU
For the first time since Covid, I returned to Peru. Before, and for many years, I took seasonal visits, until it became part of the rhythm of work. I would go for research: to visit our partner workshops, to learn more about knitting and dyeing techniques, to design the next season. To learn. The oldest known hue of Indigo comes from Peru, and the Amano Museum in Lima holds textiles dating back to 3000 BC. It is in their blood.
I still went to learn, and immerse myself in design and color and pattern, but more than that, I went to see my friends, and be with people.
I came to see Froilan. Froilan runs Alpafina, a second generation, family-run workshop in Lima that specializes in locally sourced pima cotton and alpaca wool. Their blended yarns are dyed and spun in-house, techniques passed down through his family and from his time studying textiles in Philly. He’s the best DJ in Lima, too, can talk your ear off over a drink about yarns or surfing or house music. He’s for real.
And Eunice. She runs Innovative Knitwear - a women’s collective in Lima which knits the majority of our styles. I met Eunice ten years ago when we were both working in stockrooms, I in the lower east side and she in Peru. Now she oversees an entire enterprise of hand knitters and dye houses, where the yarns are dyed by hand, 20 colors in a thread. Her employees are mostly women, single mothers: designers, hand knitters, all engaging in meaningful, dignified work. Artisans doing it their way, organically.
With Eunice I traveled to Arequipa, 8000 feet up in southern Peru, where a 10 person family business - a small dye house called Calicompo - hand-dyes our space dyes. Every inch of that mountain, every winding dirt road, has a deeply grounding spirituality. All the land is public land.
More important than any new design or weave or textile, I came home reinforced with the notion that we are working with the right people in the right way, that our products and our manner of working are making a difference in the lives of everyday Peruvians. This is our impact on the world - helping people engage in meaningful, artistic work.
We are all interconnected, all part of a larger circle: The farmers who raise the alpacas, the dyehouses, the knitters, we the designers and you, our customers. By supporting us, you support them. It is a beautiful thing.
Thank you for coming along.
The photos included are also from a town north of Pisac, Arequipa, and Lima.
"EVERY INCH OF THAT MOUNTAIN, EVERY WINDING DIRT ROAD, HAS A DEEPLY GROUNDING SPIRITUALITY. ALL THE LAND IS PUBLIC LAND."