Co-founders Isabella Domínguez and María Paula Vargas talk about their inspiration coming from the jungles of Colombia, the connection they have with the artisans, their families and stories. They work everyday to empower local communities, protect traditions for the future generations and produce ethically while involving in fair trade.
Reading time: 4mins
What is the inspiration behind your brand and your ‘jungle’ inspired designs?
Our main source of inspiration is Colombia’s wildlife. We love its colorful and diverse fauna and flora and we feel the most connected to ourselves when we are in any of these tropical environments. We had the opportunity to grow surrounded by different types of trees and big gardens, so it is just normal that nature plays a big role in our life. We decided to make it ever present through our brand.
Who makes your accessories and beautiful bags and how are they produced?
We believe strongly there is a treasure trove of wisdom and beauty in the handcraft techniques that local tribes and artisans have been using over the centuries. We constantly seek to work hand in hand with them in new, respectful ways that allow them to find new perspectives for their abilities. We seek to empower local communities and small artisan workshops and we are interested in preserving for future generations their time-honored artisanal traditions. At the moment we are working with artisans, indigenous communities, and single moms across Colombia, Mexico, Ecuador, and Guatemala. We are also committed to making everyday decisions that are guided by durability, ethical practices, fair trade and next-to-zero waste. Therefore, the incorporation of natural fibers had become an essential part of our design and production process.
How do you empower artisans and what is your pledge to them?
We seek to connect with our artisans in a human way. We hear them, we care about them, we meet their families, we know their stories and dreams. They also care about us and our wellbeing, so it’s a genuine relationship based on respect and support for each other. We often present them with innovative design ideas and then they add their skillful artisanal knowledge. We prototype and create together a new product, then we do market testing. When it is successful and we start producing that piece in high quantities, we have seen how artisans feel so proud about their work in this new invention we have made together. We believe this sense of belonging empowers them – and also us. Besides our commitment to fair trade, our pledge to our artisans is that we will show up. Even when things get tough (as it did last year when the covid-19 pandemics begun), we will continue to do our best to improve this enterprise and give them constant work and therefore a constant income.
You have a variety of accessories and fashion items. What are your favourite items and how do you style them?
At the moment we have two favorites, the first one is our Mini Pájarito hat, made by female artisans in Nariño, Colombia. You can wear it by the beach with our white caftan for a tropical look or style it for the city with an all-denim outfit. Our other current favorite is our Tigre Totem. It represents intuition and it is skillfully handmade by women from the Kamentsá tribe in Putumayo, Colombia. This one is a very versatile piece that will add a pop of color and fun to any outfit. Our clients have also stated it is a conversation starter ;)
Us at ARTIZAANS, a few of our favorites, which we're definitely getting for the summer: