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By Emma Tynan
With its strong sense of collectivism and artisanal traditions, South America is well known for producing traditionally made textiles and leather goods; however, perhaps due to their isolation from global markets, these products were not well known for being very fashion forward–until recently, that is.
The economic explosion in Brazil led to some fashion houses originally from that nation, such as Issa and Havaianas, becoming household names today, but other South American countries and their associated brands are also making an impact in the style market.
Peruvian eco-friendly handbag brand Dono di Isis is one such example. The emphasis is firmly on chic design, while simultaneously supporting artisans who use traditional hand weaving techniques.
Dono di Isis was established by Cinthya Olivera out of a deep respect for traditional Peruvian artisans, their ancestral techniques and a love of nature.
Oliveras travels the country regularly, meeting with artisans and sourcing unique fabrics, all of which are hand-woven on a loom and naturally dyed. “I discover the source of the materials we use by traveling a lot and searching artisan’s towns” she says. The fabrics are then combined with locally sourced, high quality leather, and are hand pieced by artisans to create beautiful accessories, each with its own one-of-a-kind design.
“My brand truly benefits the environment and the community of the artisans, because we want to support their commercial activities and to encourage them to continue using their ancestral techniques (producing the fabrics using handloom weaving and dying the threads with natural pigments) so we can avoid their precious techniques disappearing,” states Olivera.
South Americans previously took their fashion cues from Europe and North America. But now, with concern for the environment ever-growing, it seems the time is ripe for South American brands like Dono di Isis to present their proudly unique style and eco-friendly traditions to the rest of the world.
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