Awamaki Lab
  • Female
  • Ollantaytambol
  • Peru
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Profile Information

Profession / role:
Design Mentorship Program
Company / organisation:
Website (if you have one):
My primary role in relation to fashion is:
Designer, Buyer, Retailer, Manufacturer, Tutor
I am looking to discover or buy
About me / About business or organisation:
Awamaki is a Peruvian non-profit working with indigenous Quechua women weavers to improve their skills and increase their access to market, thereby revitalizing an endangered weaving tradition while affording Quechua women a reliable source of income.

Awamaki Lab is a four-month fashion design residency that gives young designers an opportunity to develop a capsule collection in partnership with Awamaki and its weavers’ association. The goal of Awamaki Lab is to create value-added channels of growth for the Awamaki Weaving Project, provide economic opportunities to women in the district of Ollantaytambo, Peru, and demonstrate the innovative potential of traditional weavings.

Fashion designers cultivate their unique vision through mentorship with leaders in the sustainable design sector, and showcase their aesthetic versatility by combining vibrant, hand-spun Andean textiles with their own contemporary patterns and silhouettes. Their work, in turn, will both support the weaving association by augmenting textile sales and help us to finance a sewing cooperative in Ollantaytambo to create a sustainable enterprise for local women.

Awamaki Lab is committed to:

Creating new sales channels for the Patacancha weaving association, which will:

• Broaden Awamaki’s consumer base by appealing to a new consumer demographic.
• Provide safeguards against an unpredictable tourism market.
• Continue Awamaki’s efforts to empower and provide a stable source of income for indigenous women weavers.

Introducing concepts of socially-responsible production practices to the next generation of fashion designers, which will:

• Help promote consideration of humanitarian and environmental issues within the design community.
• Encourage greater compliance to fair-trade and/or environmental standards in the fashion sector.

Facilitating job creation and providing employment opportunities for the most economically marginalized women in Ollantaytambo by investing in a sewing co-operative. This will:

• Diversify the job market and provide work opportunities unrelated to tourism.
• Provide a reliable source of income for members of the sewing collective so that they may attain financial autonomy.
• Enable women to develop the professional skills and self-esteem that will ultimately lead to social transformation.
• Encourage female entrepreneurship by allocating a percentage of sales to a co-operative fund, in which members are primary stake-holders and over which they have complete decision-making power.
Career history / Company history:

Annie Millican joined Awamaki in the Fall of 2009 to explore product development opportunities that would thoughtfully and holistically benefit the Patacancha weaving association. With a keen interest in the material culture of textile art and a growing appreciation of papas, cui, and huayno music, Annie is happy to call Ollantaytambo and looks forward to continuing her work there in the coming years.

Annie has previously worked in the sustainable fashion sector in New York City as a sourcing and production associate at Bodkin, a PR and social media troubleshooter at DMDinsight, a textile researcher at Earth Pledge, and a blogger for Hand/Eye Magazine. She holds a Bachelors of Arts in International Development Studies and Art History from McGill University in Montreal, Canada

Meet your Mentor:

Awamaki Lab welcomes Tara St. James, owner and creative director of Study as its first Design Mentor. Tara imparts 7 years of experience as a pioneer in the socially responsible design sector to Awamaki’s inaugural Lab designer, assisting with design concept and brand development via correspondence work. Tara will help designers realize their artistic vision through bi-monthly critiques that consider collection cohesion and point of view, sustainable practices and processes, and consumer market trends.

Tara St James was born and raised in Montreal, Canada but has lived and worked in New York for the past 7 years and she now calls Brooklyn home. Formerly the creative director of Covet, a mainstream eco-friendly sportswear collection for men and women, Tara now owns and designs Study, a high-concept brand designed and produced primarily in New York City. She also works with local artisans in India to create very limited runs of special edition pieces and is looking to expand this very specialized type of production to other artisans around the world.

Season 1 Designer:

Neili Vallin went abroad to see Paris and stayed for 5 years to work in fashion, but the luxury sector proved inadequate. She quit and then met and worked with a woman who’s severe paralysis and courage taught her to seek change of social injustice. Now, still a curious world traveler, she hopes to change her industry with ethical business that promotes cultural preservation and diversity

Neili studied fashion at the Chambre Syndical de la Couture. She worked at Première Vision (in artisan and vintage textiles), YSL, Dominique Sirop and Rue du Mail as saleswoman, pattern drafter, colorist and seamstress, assisting photo shoots, fashion shows and showrooms. She recently showed reconstructed vintage kimonos in Chicago for both charity and to promote cultural diversity.

Comment Wall (9 comments)

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At 19:18 on November 7, 2010, jacqueline said…

I would love to participate in your September drop next year. please do send me more info.
I can message you my personal email once you add my friend add.

At 16:38 on October 18, 2010, steph steele said…
Hi, this sounds very interesting. I'm currently in my final year and don't graduate until July so would be looking either for the July-September program you have or later. Could you send me some more information on yourselves and a bit more detail on what would actually be expected please? Many thanks
At 17:28 on July 5, 2010, N.J.Bond said…

How is your progress in the green goods in textiles .What can you buy from us . my web is Any items intrested let me know.
At 11:11 on June 30, 2010, Sharnita Nandwana said…
Hi! Yes I am definitely interested - would love some more information please.
At 2:23 on June 16, 2010, N.J.Bond said…
Yes, most welcome for mutual help each other. We are exclusively for Virtue based Organic and natural ethnic live processing of dyes with out man made chemical.With in this scope we are willing.

Please give more details and we will find ways creatively .
At 21:46 on June 7, 2010, Nadina 'Obina' Ali said…
Thanks for the add! This looks really good! Sounds like a great project to get involved in! Would definitely be interested in taking part!
At 20:09 on June 7, 2010, Honey Malaolu said…
wow love what you are doing i might be interested to join to i have to pay for the three months.
At 16:14 on June 7, 2010, ANUSHKA DAS said…
Thanks a ton for adding me ....amazing work....
At 4:43 on June 7, 2010, Noelle Samantha Quanci said…
thanks for the add! looks like you have a fantastic program going! :D

Awamaki Lab's Blog

Awamaki Lab: From Llama to Line

Posted on November 2, 2010 at 22:33 0 Comments

Awamaki Lab aims to empower and provide a stable source of income for indigenous women weavers and single mothers in Ollantaytambo, Peru through a fashion design collective that promotes fair-trade ethics.

The project is… Continue

Awamaki Design Residency in Peru

Posted on June 6, 2010 at 20:00 1 Comment

AWAMAKI LAB: Connecting Cultures Through Innovative Design

Awamaki Lab explores the intersection of sustainability, ethical sourcing and product innovation through a fashion mentorship program that fosters cross-cultural partnership between young designers and Awamaki’s indigenous weavers…


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