Castellano is a UK-based fair trade sustainable luxury brand that collaborates with indigenous artisans in northern Colombia. The brand was founded by Colombian born Daniela Castellanos. In Daniela’s own words, Castellano “was born from a desire to use fashion to reconnect women around the world with the elemental factors of nature and spirituality, to inspire and empower them through unique weaves and patterns made entirely by hand”. This brand creates luxury accessories using traditional methods and donates a margin of their proceeds to social programmes which seek to empower women and their local communities in Colombia. They currently work with up to 200 women who are paid 50% upfront in order to assist with their daily needs.
This project supports two tribes: the Wayuu and the Arhuaca. The Wayuu are from La Guajira Peninsula in north Colombia and northwest Venezuela. According to the brand’s website, the Wayuu tribe is one of the most prominent tribes in this area of South America, its members numbering some 700,000 people. In Colombia, a 1997 census counted the tribes membership at 144,003, which represents 20% of Colombia’s Amerindian population and nearly half of the whole population of the La Guajira region. The Wayuu have preserved complex crochet and textile techniques and some Wayuu families rely entirely on craft, that can take over 25 days to produce, for their income. Their designs typically tell individual stories through their colours, patterns and shapes.
The Arhuaca are indigenous to Colombia, descendants from the Tairona culture in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta and Cesar Department. The Arhuaca Mochila is probably the most common representative item of the Arhuaco. A mochila (Spanish for “bag”) is made from 100% organic materials. According to Castellano, the bags are usually weaved together by women for their husbands, as according to tradition the women are the ones who “posses the energy and the wisdom to make [such] unique creation”. In addition to the intricate and time-consuming method of craftsmanship, the bags are unique through the traditions and stories behind their manufacturing. Unlike the colourful Wayuu mochila bags, the Arhuaca Mochila’s are woven in earth tones, ranging from brown and beige to black and grey. These bags are usually woven in shapes of indigenous drawings or representations of animals and other objects of Arhuaca cosmology.
Castellano empowers women in these communities by enabling them to be self-sufficient, and – unlike many other brands – by letting these women set their own prices for the products. These women are able to make a sustainable income through fair trade practices. In addition, Castellano uses profits from their sales to give back water, an essential resource, to these communities. According to Castellano, for every Wayuu bracelet that they sell, they give back 20 litres of water to a child in Colombia. According to the brand’s website so far they have been able to provide 10,ooo litres of water to 15 rural villages (sufficient for about 35 people in each village) twice a month.
I have collaborated with Castellano for a fabulous giveaway! Enter to win a gorgeous Swarovski embellished single Wayuu Bracelet. Each bracelet is one of a kind and is handwoven with love and care by Wayuu artisans in La Guajira peninsula in northern Colombia.
2. Tag 3 friends in a comment on the giveaway Instagram post
Enter until the 18th of July at midnight BST. This is an International giveaway & the winner will be announced on Instagram on the 19th of July.
To check out more of Castellano’s gorgeous pieces head over to their website
Good luck lovelies, and have a beautiful week! x