In our ongoing search for exceptional fairtrade goods throughout the Americas, we’ve been blown away by the artistry, intricate detail and impeccable quality of handmade goods from Colombia. Many of our favorites are the handiwork of skilled artisans from the indigenous Wayuu, Kuna, Kankuamo, Êbêrâ Chami, Guna Dule and Tikuna communities, fusing a wealth of ancestral knowledge and techniques with a fresh modern aesthetic. From the idiosyncratic cana flecha method of arrow cane braiding to the fique process of weaving fibers, these traditions reflect a precious cultural legacy that is increasingly under threat in our age of mass production and mechanization.
Our Colombia edit is curated in collaboration with brands raising the bar when it comes to social impact as well as style impact. These unique items are from our partners Mola Sasa, Hilo Sagrado, Someware and Makua, whose unique designs celebrate the country’s diverse craft tradition while helping to foster peace and prosperity in the region.
Like us, each brand is on a mission to recognize the value artisan communities in Latin America and around the world, by bringing their wares to a global market. The result? Artisans and their families have unprecedented access to education, economic empowerment and sustainable, inclusive development. They’re also increasingly able to generate a living wage from home, instead of having to pick up roots, head for the city, and leave their ancestral lands.
From beaded statement earrings to the ultimate minimalist tote, each handcrafted accessory in this edit has a dual purpose: to help indigenous Colombian artisans take ownership of their work while providing a one-of-a-kind accompaniment to your look.
A country rich with natural resources, Colombia provides its artisans with a wealth of raw materials that add unique texture and character to its locally made goods.
The Vija Tote, for example, is woven by hand by artisans of the Chimichagua community from native Estera palm leaves. Each bohemian chic bag requires weeks of craftsmanship to complete, resulting in a wearable piece of art deeply imbued with cultural tradition and geographic resonance. The country’s plants and wildlife are also an important inspiration: Makua’s Orquidea Roja Earrings, created by the artisans from the Embera Chami indigenous community, are shaped using crystal beadwork techniques to represent local flower and insects.
But while Colombia is the second most biodiverse country on earth, second only to Brazil, its incredible ecosystems are under threat from deforestation, oil extraction and mineral and metal extraction. The sustainable goods in our Colombia edit are all made from responsibly sourced, renewable materials and offer an excellent way to both celebrate and preserve natural beauty.
SUPPORT INDIGENOUS CRAFT AND PURCHASE WITH PURPOSE>
1. Sailor Pom Wayuu Bracelet, $19
2. Orquidea Roja Earrings, $190
3. Nude Provence Bag, $78
4. Natural Maguey Hoop Earrings, $88
5. Stone Mini Wayuu Mochila Bag, $98
6. Luxe Knot Necklace, $54