The most sustainable material is the one that already exists. This is why our collections combine artisanally made textiles with upcycled materials. We scout them at secondhand markets in Quito, where our clothes are assembled by Hadid Vargas, Daniela Llulluna and Patricia Ninahualpa.
Additionally, our box of fabric waste has still never filled up. We continuously use leftovers to make garments using patchwork to create zero waste collections.
All of our garments are made with biodegradable and/or upcycled materials.
Upcycled textiles (pre-loved blankets, curtains, jeans, etc.) & leftover pieces from other garments
UPCYCLING & ZERO WASTE DESIGN
Quito, Pichincha - Ecuador
This fluffy and cozy material is made by KUN Ecofibers. Founder, Karla Rodriguez, has done field and lab research since 2013 to develop the ideal ecosystem for this premium material to be available.
In their own words: “The devastating impact of mass producing synthetic materials on the planet makes us rethink the way we relate to the environment. Noticing it is not enough, that is why at KUN we observe and take inspiration from the wisdom of nature to create intelligent products, 100% organic, with low environmental impact and zero animal cruelty. To achieve this balance, we work under a total traceability scheme. We advise and accompany our suppliers throughout the production of our natural textile fibers. This allows us to minimize our carbon footprint, and in turn raises our quality standards to the maximum.
“Our products are the result of the joint work of a large network of people. This network is made up of sheep and alpaca caregivers, vegetable fiber producers, farmer associations; as well as by support entities that strengthen the economic and social development of rural communities and businesses for social purposes.”
Learn more at www.kunecofibers.com
100% organic alpaca wool
HAND-MADE ALPACA FELT
Cotopaxi - Ecuador
Woven on Matico's pedal loom in Peguche, Imbabura province. She and her daughter, Paola, run a project conformed by indigenous Kichwa weavers called Huarmi Maqui, "women's hands”.
Since 1990, they have resisted the wave of lowering prices by sacrificing quality, replacing hand-work by machines, and substituting natural fibers by synthetics. This phenomenon is still happening in their surroundings due to increased competition and bartering at the famous Otavalo crafts market, the largest in the country.
Huarmi Maqui is one of the few projects in the whole province that still prioritizes tradition, quality, and dignity, selling exclusively at their workshop where the processes can be appreciated. They also share traditional gastronomic experiences with their visitors.
Learn more at www.casamaticoecu.com
100% organic cotton
PEDAL LOOM WEAVING - COTTON
Peguche, Imbabura - Ecuador
Hand-spinning wool is a technique that is almost extinct in the world, and our friends from Andes Materials are working to revitalize the craft in Ecuador. Their team in Salasaka owns the whole process: from sheep to fabric. They provide us with thread for embroidery and fabric for garments.
All their animals live with families in Salasaka - they eat well and receive proper veterinary care. The artisans use their hands in every step of the process: washing, carding, hand spinning, weaving and dyeing. They give colors to the threads with plants they cultivate in their own backyard.
Our team of embroiderers all the way up North uses their thread for our pieces. Both teams have met and shared their experiences as carriers of ancestral techniques in the modern world - from remembering how their grandparents’ relics were given away as invaluable, to sharing plant dye recipes.
Additional to their hand-spun wool thread, Andes Materials custom-makes fabric for us through pedal loom weaving. The result is a top-quality, premium material that is 100% organic and a direct product from Mother Earth.
Learn more at www.andesmaterials.com
HAND SPINNING WOOL & PEDAL LOOM WEAVING
Salasaka, Tunguraghua - Ecuador
Fabric - 50% hand-spun wool, plant dyed and 50% cotton
Thread - 100% hand-spun wool, plant dyed
Buttons - tagua seed buttons, plant dyed
‘MAKANA’ - IKAT WEAVING ON BACKSTRAP LOOM
Bullcay, Azuay - Ecuador
Ecuadorian ikat, also known as “makana”, was declared Immaterial Cultural Patrimony of Ecuador by UNESCO in 2015. It takes about three days to hand-weave a shawl on the backstrap loom, plus one or two days of dyeing through a complex process of knotting threads (similar to tie dye), which defines the pattern of the fabric.
The makana textile on this collection was woven by Piedad Ulloa, her husband and their children. They work together at their home and workshop in Bullcay, Azuay. Unfortunately, most of the weavers today are over 50 years old. Piedad’s children are some of the few weavers of their generation.
Due to the high prices of makanas, local demand is low and the craft is no longer profitable. Hope for makana weavers is in connecting with international markets, and widening the uses of the textile beyond traditional shawls. Creating garments out of makanas has sparked curiosity and motivation amongst weavers. We expect to innovate together for years to come.
100% cotton exterior, Ikat technique
Buttons - coconut shell
Lining - reclaimed crepe
Jacket sleeves - wool
Angla & Ugzha, Imbabura - Ecuador
The art of hand embroidery in the region of Imbabura dates back to the pre-Inca traditions of the Caranqui people, though today’s manifestation of the craft has a complex story.
Before colonization, embroidery was a language - shapes and colors a had meaning that represented the person wearing them. This was lost during the Spanish invasion that reached the area in the 1500s, when traditional dress was replaced by work “uniforms”.
In the 1940s, within one of the largest haciendas, Zuleta, the Landlady encouraged indigenous women to embroider tablecloths inspired by designs she had encountered in Europe. Since, women in the surrounding areas decorate their shirts with embroidery, and embroidered tableware is an important source of income for many of them. The current designs are strikingly similar to Hungarian embroidery, though it is difficult to pinpoint the exact sources of inspiration.
With the rise of machine embroidery, women like Estela Cacoango and Tránsito Nóques have a difficult time selling hand-made product. Estela has been involved with Allpamamas since day one, as our firmest believer. She has known our Co-Founder since Vanessa was 4 years old. Both are the first two embroiderers on payroll out of over 20 women who want to join us. They chose this employment method over payment per piece since it provides a stable income that is difficult to achieve through agricultural work, their alternative source of income.
In order to remove this craft from it’s complex past, we co-create the embroidery illustrations, which tell stories about our experiences together.
100% cotton, plant dyed. 100% organic wool, plant dyed.