Fashion Bytes


Image via Forbes

Forbes had a wonderful article on Friday about a 72 year-old grandmother in Cosoleacaque, Veracruz, Mexico, who has almost single-handedly preserved and revived her native form of loom weaving.  Despite living in a region where opportunities were few and only for men, and where most indigenous arts and crafts were abandoned or lost when oil was found in the area, Leocadia Cruz has kept loom weaving alive. Ms Cruz was able to create her own weaving workshop with an initial loan of $150, she now employs 15 people full-time, exports her cloth to markets in China, Cuba and the US, and in 2006 was awarded the “National Prize of Science in Arts” by the Mexican government.

The article does not mention where Cruz received the initial loan from, or when. However, the internet is making such assistance more and more possible through sites like Kiva, enabling “average” people to directly help one another around the world.  The Vancouver-based textile and clothing company, Maiwa, has expanded to become a foundation for preserving traditional textile arts, largely in India, hosts a yearly symposia, and makes textile lectures available as podcasts. Even Etsy has enabled First Nation moccasin makers to reach a broader clientele.  And Scotsweb, an internet-based Scottish goods distributor, was able to save DC Dalgleish, the family-run tartan manufacturer that created Nelson Mandela’s tartan, and which weaves 90% of worn tartans.

Image via the Maiwa Blog

All of this seems to be in direct contrast with the cheaply manufactured, mass-distributed goods that make up “fast fashion” and are found in most high street retailers such as Primark in the UK, or Walmart or Old Navy in the US.

Is the quiet trend toward preserving these traditional hand-made textiles and garments a backlash towards the mass marketing of fast fashion?  Is it a desperate attempt to stop it from destroying these traditions?  Or are the two trends completely distinct? Are there any stories of preservation or loss you can add to the above list?

Special thanks to Raquel Laneri, Pauline Loven, and Lizzie Bramlet for many of the links in this week’s post.

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  • Worn Through » Fashion Bytes
    August 30, 2011 - 5:02 am

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