Conscious Consumption: Awamaki Labs

I went to Peru a few years after graduating college, and fell in love with it there, which is saying a lot considering I came home sick as a dog and having had my camera and wallet stolen on a bus ride. There was just something magical about every part of the country I visited. My time at the sand dunes and actual oasis in Huacachina, the seriously amazing (and cheap) guided horse ride taken in the hills outside Ollantaytambo, and of course, the truly miraculous sunrise hike up to Machu Picchu, had me dazzled. Maybe it was because we were backpacking, living on the cheap, staying in hostels and flying by the seat of our pants (which I don’t do often), but either way, I was completely charmed by the culture and color of it all. I’d share some photos to prove my point, but like I said before, I came home sans camera.

That being said, 5 or so years ago when I caught wind of Awamaki, “a nonprofit social enterprise that empowers Andean women with skills training, connects them to global market opportunities, and enables them to earn an income to transform their communities,” I was 100% in love. What is NOT to love about that mission statement? They have a lot of different programs to achieve this goal, but the one that I want to highlight is The Awamaki Lab, which pairs designers up with the weavers and knitters from these often tiny and remote villages in Peru to empower women, their trade and their communities through the sale of the goods produced. Some of the villages they work with are places I myself have traveled through, in utter awe of what a different kind of life a rural Andean woman has from an Angeleno woman. If I ever get a chance to go back, it is nice to think that these women might still be there weaving as they have for thousands of years. To know that they have an organization that cares enough to protect their way of life and make it even more sustainable, is nothing short of awesome. Take a look at the designs that are coming out of it all, and I guarantee you will most definitely want to support them too… xo Cait

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LLAMA BABY VEST ANYONE?! Yea. I thought so.

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