The brand empowering women through slow ethical fashion.
So many of us nowadays have got no idea where our clothes are made and who is making our clothes. We are completely unaware of the journey our clothing has taken to get from the production line to our wardrobes. Fast fashion seems to be taking over the world with many fast fashion brands offering very easy pieces that are easy to purchase from online retailers that arrive either the next day or a few days after purchase.
Sometimes fast fashion can seem beneficial if you are looking for a last minute piece. However, the rise of the slow fashion movement has gained massive support from brands and people globally and the idea of supporting this movement means that brands like the one we speak to today have a voice that is widely listened to and supported.
We came across the Almawa Project via Instagram and were amazed at how well the women in the collective are supported whilst making beautifully embroidered pieces that are sold via their Instagram page and Etsy.
We wanted to give the Almawa project a voice to discuss how important it is to support
What is the Almawa Project and why was it started? and can you tell us the meaning of ‘Almawa’?
Almawa.Project is about slow fashion, embroidery art, women empowerment and sustainability. We are a group of 12 talented women from Ecuador. Our production of our slow fashion clothes is in La Esperanza, Ecuador and since 2021 we sell the products in Germany and Europe. Almawa honours the indigenous culture, motivates local entrepreneurial spirits and empowers women, their families and communities through the slow fashion and the embroidery art. Our goal is to support the creativity, talents and passion of our local female artisans while preserving their indigenous culture, traditions, the embroidery art, and their natural territories. Our artisans use the art of embroidery to express her cultural identity, create her unique clothing, and generate income for their families.
The name Almawa has a special meaning for us. “ALMA” means “soul” in Spanish We are giving our souls by creating new products and ideas. WA is in honor of our indigenous language Quechua, which is spoken in our communities. The sound of “wa” is present in many Quechua words.
Why was the ‘Slow Fashion’ movement important to you all?
The Fashion industry is one of the most polluting industries. We want to be a part of the change for the people and protect the mother earth.
In Ecuador, Embroidery is poorly paid and people do not appreciate the art and the value of it. Our Goal is to find new markets around the world, responsible consumers looking for an alternative to mass production, and avoid fast fashion. Since April 2021 we are selling our slow fashion products in Germany and Europe.
Our products are made from natural fabrics, recyclable materials and produced with eco-friendly processes with minimal waste in our small workshop in La Esperanza. We want to create an outlet for socially responsible consumers who are seeking a sustainable alternative to mass-produced clothing and accessories, and caring for the environment, diversity, and indigenous people.
How do you think of new designs and where does the inspiration come from for each design?
Our designs are inspired by the richness of the nature, flora, and fauna of Ecuador. Every design is drawing by hand by our designer Andrea Bonilla making it unique and one-of-a-kind. We use the gorgeous technique of hand-embroidery to create our slow fashion product. The entire handmade process of embroidery is100% dependent on human touch, not machines!
How is production different for you than larger brands?
All Almawas collections are 100% artisan-made, meaning in small batches in our small workshops.
At Almawa, you know where your goods are coming from, how they are made and exactly who made them. We share with you the true story behind each item, including the artisans’ history and the traditional technique used to embroider every piece is our way of empowering our artisan partners and giving them a voice. We want our responsible consumers to feel connected with the purchased piece and they love and care about it.
How is production different for you than larger brands?
All Almawas collections are 100% artisan-made, meaning in small batches in our small workshops. At Almawa, you know where your goods are coming from, how they are made and exactly who made them. We share with you the true story behind each item, including the artisans’ history and the traditional technique used to embroider every piece is our way of empowering our artisan partners and giving them a voice. We want our responsible consumers to feel connected with the purchased piece and they love and care about it.
Do you believe that your artisans make the Almawa project what it is?
Yes absolutely, every member at ALMAWA.Project is an essential part of the project. Our artisans and designer Andrea Bonilla are the heart of Almawa. Project. Almawa. Project shares their story and products with the world in order to get them more orders to support the work of the artisans and generate income for them.
What is next for the Almawa project and where can our readers shop Almawa?
Currently, we have a new collection 2022. Our ESPERANZA collection is inspired by the fertility of women and nature, female empowerment, and our menstrual cycles. ESPERANZA connects all women and mesntrual people in the world.
ESPERANZA means “hope” in Spanish. This t-shirt is inspired by female fertility and empowerment. It was designed by Andrea Bonilla, a womb design using elements from the nature of the Andes. The design has been hand embroidered by artisans in La Esperanza, Ecuador. Esperanza is also a woman’s name, which represents each one of us.
By the purchase of your ESPERANZA t-shirt we were able to give a workshop to our artisans and their daughters about menstrual health in collaboration with “Red de Mujeres Imbabura”. In addition, Einhorn GmbH from Berlin donated one menstrual cup for each participant.We have the “Esperanza” (hope) that every woman has a dignified menstruation.