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Slow-fashion Mexican bags & scarves made with love

Chilpa, the first Mexican brand to bring ethical fashion accessories to the UK is raising funds to train a new generation of artisan weavers and preserve one of Mexico’s oldest traditions.

New startup Chilpa announced that it is raising funds via a rewards-based crowd funding campaign on Kickstarter to help produce a new range of contemporary products made with traditional Mexican scarves – known as rebozos. The company set out to raise £6,000 on Kickstarter to finalise the production of a new range of bags, purses, snoods and scarves closely aligned with the principles of slow fashion.

After only 6 days on the site they have exceeded 17% of their initial target.

A rebozo is a long flat garment similar to a scarf, used by women mostly in Mexico. It can be worn in various ways, usually folded or wrapped around the head and/or upper body to shade from the sun, provide warmth and as an accessory to an outfit. It is also used to carry babies and large bundles. 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). The new products featured on Kickstarter make use of the rebozo in contemporary products such as tote bags, clutch bags and snoods.

Chilpa’s Kickstarter launch coincides with the Dual year of the UK and Mexico and a renewed interest for all things Mexican, from food to art to fashion.

Unlike other new brands, Chilpa’s products champion slow fashion – moving away from the reliance on globalised mass produced garments sold at low prices to favour close collaboration with the people they work with and reinvesting a percentage of the profits to train a new generation of weavers. Chilpa treats the workers and weavers as its own internal employees as they believe that the apparel business’ archaic model needs an upgrade – moving away from low wages and poor working conditions, fostered by the consumer’s belief that fashion is cheap and disposable.

Chilpa was set up in Nunhead, London in 2013 and is owned by husband and wife Maru Rojas and Joel Diamond. It has been featured in the Fashion & Textile Museum 2014 exhibition and is currently sold at the V&A Shop and smaller retailers. The singer Molly Smitten-Downes has worn and featured one of their earlier models.

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