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 collective.

Recognizing the next generation of design talents, Awamaki Lab offers selected participants an unparalleled opportunity to develop a capsule collection in the serene environment of Ollantaytambo, Peru. Designers incorporate traditional Andean textiles into a series of unique, one-off garments, sourcing these textiles directly from Awamaki and its association of 36 Quechua women weavers. Over the course of three months, designers cultivate their unique vision and showcase their aesthetic versatility by combining vibrant, hand-spun weavings with their own contemporary patterns and silhouettes.

Bridging the material-culture gap, Awamaki introduces designers to the prominent iconography and art history of the Sacred Valley, with trips to museums, artisan markets, and indigenous weaving communities. Designers can use these visits as a point of reference for their work, or further their education by taking hands-on courses to learn local craft techniques, such as the art of natural dyeing. Designers receive mentorship from leaders in the socially responsible design sector to
gain insight into fashion-market trends, volley design ideas, and finalize collection details. Designers also work with a fashion photographer – whom they pre-select from a dossier of portfolios- to
develop a lookbook during the last month of Lab, which will be publicized by Awamaki’s PR agency of record, DMD Lab.
DMD Lab works closely with an established network of editors, buyers and industry stakeholders to build and elevate brands, connecting with consumers to establish a market presence.

Through an iterative process, designers hone their artistic skills and lend a modern perspective to Awamaki’s range of products. The fashion design consortium gives designers invaluable press coverage and practical training in supply chain processes. This will improve the organization’s marketability and help to stimulate economic growth in the isolated, rural communities where Awamaki works.

Please contact Annie Millican at for further inquiries.

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Comment by HAND/EYE Magazine on June 7, 2010 at 17:36
Very interesting project. We look forward to watching its evolution. Please keep the EFF community updated.

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