The Wayuu Tribe
The Wayuu (Why-you) are known as the people of the sun, sand, and wind. They live in the arid Guajira Peninsula in northern Colombia and northwest Venezuela.
They survived the Spanish Conquest and they are one of the few Latin American indigenous people that have resisted European culture and language, sticking to their own heritage.
The women of the Wayuu tribe have been hand-weaving mochila bags for generations. Every single bag is different and unique, with intricate tribal designs and colors.
The elaboration of crafts is an important social practice in Wayuu society. During a rite of passage when a girl menstruates the first time, her female relatives will provide an integral education on how to become a woman. A special emphasis is put on acquiring weaving skills during this time. Weaving skills are taught to prepare women to be economically self-sufficient since in general, the Wayuu woman is brought up to be independent.
Ethical fashion with a social mission
Wayuu people suffer from extreme poverty, malnutrition and child mortality. One of their main activities is the production of crafts. Unfortunately, the lack of capital, remote location, and great need, in general, are big market barriers for the Wayuu women, who end up earning $2 USD per elaborated bag or on average 50 cents per day.
We are working personally with the Wayuu women who hand make each bag, and have therefore cut out the middlemen, making sure they are fairly paid, work in good conditions, and are taken care of.
The popularity of these bags is a great thing for these women who sustain their villages’ economy by hand making these pieces and selling them.
Our main goal is to make our customers relate with the story of each bag and the amazing traditions from the Wayuu tribe women who hand make them.