Two years ago today, the Rana Plaza collapsed, leading to the worst industrial disaster in Bangladesh’s history. 1,133 workers lost their lives and over 2,500 others were wounded. This event exposed the harsh realities of the garment industry that many of us have heard about, but chose to ignore. It also spurred an international movement and conversation about who is making our clothes and the conditions they face at work every day. We at Maya Traditions are excited to be a part of this movement by celebrating and preserving the art of backstrap weaving and by providing an alternative, ethical choice in the international market.
If you have ever visited Guatemala or seen pictures of the rebosos, huipiles or cortes worn by many of the Indigenous Maya, you know that handmade clothes are a key element of this culture. The traditional dress for both men and women are all made by hand, using either a backstrap loom or a foot loom, and require a unique set of skills that sadly are rapidly disappearing. These art forms are practiced at home, providing a safe and comfortable working environment and also allowing these women to be mothers, wives, and artisans. With the influx of low cost ‘American’ clothes—t-shirts, pants, blouses, and shorts, more and more people have moved away from wearing the traditional dress. With this, we are seeing fewer women practicing the traditional weaving crafts. Maya Traditions is working to counteract these changes by providing women with a fair price for their backstrap woven textiles and also working with their children, encouraging them to be proud of their heritage, culture, and traditions.
We are also working to provide consumers with an alternative to accessories made within the old garment factory paradigm. We are collaborating with designers, retailers, tailors, and artisans to create beautiful, high-quality and justly made accessories and home furnishings. Our goal is to be able to answer easily and openly the question of #whomademyclothes, or in this case, accessories and home furnishings.
We invite you to join the movement! Here are a few easy things you can do today and every day to support the Fashion Revolution movement and producers all over the world.
- Be curious, mindful and deliberate with your purchases.
- Make sure that the things you buy with your hard earned money are in in line with your values.
- Support our artisans at Maya Traditions by purchasing products available through our fantastic retail and design partners.
- Contribute to our #growmayatraditions Indiegogo campaign to support our expansion and reach in order to become an even bigger players in the movement.