The Andean Mountains of South America are home to a diverse group of indigenous peoples tracing back to the Inca Empire. So it makes perfect sense that today the Andes are a hotbed of craft communities, each with a unique history of creativity and a repertoire of local materials and artisanal techniques honed over generations.
Our Andean edit brings together one-of-a-kind finds handcrafted by masterful makers in remote areas of Ecuador, Southern Peru and Chilean Patagonia, from Calcurrupe to Puerto Varas. These artisanal goods are created the traditional way — utilizing ancient looms, slow fashion methods and many sets of skilled hands — and with utmost compassion for the livelihoods of the artisans themselves. In particular, this edit highlights wares crafted by women in underdeveloped communities where other types of employment are scarce; this work empowers these female artisans with a living wage while also serving as a source of pride.
Each of our brand partners — Shupaca, Chilote and Ariana Bohling — insists on ethical production practices and a handmade approach that puts the beauty, quality and legacy of Andean culture front and center in bold, modern designs. From our bestselling, luxurious alpaca slippers to the ultimate hypoallergenic teddy bear, these fairtrade finds are a phenomenal ways to bring home a piece of this inspiring region.
In addition to showing reverence for a heritage of craftsmanship, our Andean edit showcases deep respect for local materials and sustainable, responsibly prepared resources. Case in point: alpaca fur, the cruelty-free wool of an animal long revered throughout South America. The alpaca — a relative of the llama — has been raised in the Andes for thousands of years, providing the indigenous peoples with an important source of both food and clothing. To the Incas, this fiber was even more evaluable than silver or gold, highly treasured by royalty.
Today, alpaca offers an exceptionally luxe yet durable alternative to cashmere, which has been linked to catastrophic environmental damage thanks to the hooves and grazing habits of goats. (Alpacas are far gentler on the planet.) Supremely soft and warm, lightweight, sustainably sourced and totally hypoallergenic, our alpaca products are all responsibly handmade by artisan partners and ranchers who ensure the compassionate treatment of their animals, shearing their wool year after year and only utilizing the pelts of animals who have died of natural causes (a practice that enables ranchers to minimize financial hardship). Cozy with a conscience, alpaca is especially perfect for those with sensitive skin and makes an ideal baby gift.
SHOP THE ANDES EDIT
1. House Shoes, $69
Handmade by female artisans in Patagonia.
2. Sheba Hat, $259
Handcrafted in Peru.
3. Baby Alpaca Bear, $35
Ethically sourced and made in Peru.
4. Lieve Handknit Cable Crew Sweater, $625
Handknit in Peru.
5. Suri Blush Slipper, $198
Handmade in Peru. Click HERE to shop all alpaca slippers.
6. Gardenia Alpaca Throw, $94
Handmade in Ecuador. Click HERE to shop all alpaca throws.