Why The Fashion Revolution Matters
by Hadley Armstrong, Marketer at Ketzali
When I first moved to Guatemala, I knew nothing of its traditional weaving techniques, its artisans… and really nothing about the “fashion world” in general.
I came to Guatemala because I had always admired its strong passion for culture and natural beauty. When you’re in this country, you literally feel like you’ve gone back in time because you’re surrounded by one of the greenest and most untouched environments, with thousands of people wearing stunning traditional Mayan dress. It’s like nothing you’ve ever seen before.
That’s why when I met Maya, the owner and founder of Ketzali, I was more than eager to learn about her mission of employing local artisans to create clothing for her emerging brand.
Maya invited me to visit many of the artisans who work with Ketzali in their rural communities across the country. Some of these artisans—like Pasqual-- have almost a dozen sons and daughters who all work together to weave their products. Within minutes of meeting them, I could tell that their traditional weaving skills had become a big part of their lives—both as a lifestyle and as a career for their entire family. Weaving provided them all with clothing, an income, a skill, and a livelihood. It was then that I truly realized what an impact weaving has on Guatemalan culture. Not only is it a career and specialty for thousands of people throughout the country, but the different weaving patterns also represent what town you are from, your marital status, and how old you are. It’s not just clothing to them—it’s an identity and a way of life. Day in and day out, Guatemalan artisans work to sell their creations, but with the number of artisans and the lack of demand, sometimes families can’t make enough to send their kids to school or even eat dinner at night. Maya’s passion for weaving and textiles combined with her love for helping local men and women succeed are at the very heart of Ketzali.