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Cool, Contemporary & Authentic Mexican Fashion Accessories

24 September 2015 08:15


Slow-Fashion brand Chilpa has designed a new collection of bags, purses & silk rebozos with the highest ethical and sustainable standards.

UK-based Mexican fashion brand Chilpa is producing a new range of contemporary products made with traditional Mexican scarves (known as rebozos). A rebozo is a long flat garment similar to a scarf, used since colonial times to cover up and carry babies, and for centuries they have been made in small-home based workshops on mechanical foot looms. The use of these weaving looms requires no fossil fuels or electricity so it has minimal environmental impact, and they are dyed by hand in small batches. Chilpa's rebozos are made with a traditional ikat technique (where the cotton is tied together previous to dyeing then untied to reveal the pattern). Each one can take up to thirty days to make and because they’re made by hand, each one is 100% individual.

Unlike other new brands, Chilpa's products champion slow fashion - moving away from the reliance on globalised mass produced garments sold at low prices, in favour of close collaboration with the people they work with and reinvesting a percentage of the profits to train a new generation of artisans. Chilpa treats the artisans who make its products as its own internal employees, as they believe that the fashion business' archaic model needs an upgrade - moving away from low wages and poor working conditions, fostered by many people’s belief that fashion is cheap and disposable. As a way of changing this mind-set, every one of Chilpa’s products celebrates the artisan who made it by including their name and portrait on the label attached to it.

Chilpa is run by Mexico City native, Maru Rojas. Maru came to London 7 years ago and in 2013 she set up Chilpa, based on a desire to bring Mexican fashion and culture to the UK in a way that recognised the artisans who make these beautiful products and have done so for centuries.

“I set up Chilpa because I was tired of Mexican mis-representations in the media in so many negative ways. I had also seen how fashion designers became famous by using rebozo fabrics, without acknowledging the people who made it and I wanted to do the opposite”, explains Maru Rojas, Chilpa’s founder.

Gone are the days when sustainable, eco or ethical fashion was a synonym for tie-dyed organic cotton t-shirts. The aim of this new collection is to incorporate traditional ikat rebozo patterns into contemporary products, so Maru worked with a professional fashion designer and seamstress in London to produce a new range of practical yet beautiful bags integrating the fabrics of the rebozos. The new range is produced in rich deep blues and autumnal tones and includes a large tote bag and several smaller clutch bags. Local seamstresses, working in small workshops rather than factories, manufacture all the bags in Mexico. Most of the bags use eco-friendly jute fabric as an alternative to cotton.

Chilpa is currently raising funds via a rewards-based crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter to help produce this new range of products ranging from tote bags to snoods, to exclusive silk rebozos. All items can be pre-ordered until October 7th, 2015.

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About Chilpa

Fair Trade handmade Mexican accessories (scarves, pashminas, wraps & accessories). Sustainable & responsible slow fashion, we believe in quality design made by people who get a fair price for their work.

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