"This is like a two-in-one piece, it is designed like an open sweater with long lapels that can be wrapped like a shawl," explains Guatemalan designer Luisa Villavicencio. The wrap sweater is knitted with cotton in a natural ivory hue, which is harvested at Villencencio's farm.
THIS PRODUCT IS ARTISAN-MADE
ARTIST: Luisa Villavicencio
"Nature gives the color and we give it shape….
"I'm a Guatemalan woman, born into a family where respect for the environment and for our country's culture have always been a part of our daily life. The story of why I'm here and do what I do is really the story of my whole family, beginning with my parents.
"Don't ask me why my father was always so passionate about growing cotton. No matter how small the harvest, no matter how bad the weather, he never wanted to grow coffee or corn or anything else. He was an agronomy engineer and was enthusiastic about cotton and with preserving the cultivation of a crop that originated with the Maya culture.
"Cotton used to be abundant in Guatemala but it's been slowly disappearing over the years. Today, our 17 acres of cotton fields are the only ones left in the country. We are the only cotton farm in Guatemala.
"All our creations are 100% ecological, 100% natural undyed cotton that reveals the natural shades of the fiber. People are sometimes surprised to learn that we use no dying process at all, but it's true. What's more, the color becomes more intense when the garment is washed.
"We work with only three pure colors. Apart from the crude cotton color everyone is familiar with, we also use a seed known as ixcaco in the Maya language. It produces brown cotton. We call our third color jade. My father and brother researched a way to obtain it by modifying the brown cotton seed and they were able to! All the rest of our colors are a result of combining fibers and threads from these three when weaving the fabric.
"All our crop is destined for our own designs except for a small portion that we donate to the Ixchel Museum in Guatemala City. This museum works to preserve Guatemala's native textiles and clothing, a cause we strongly identify with. Also, my mother collaborated with this museum for many, many years because she had the soul of an artist and loved our country's textiles. She helped the weavers and it was there that she learned to work with them and teach them quality, design, etc.
"In 1995, my father and brother founded our fashion workshop. Once they had achieved the colors and been able to maintain them, they had been thinking about the final product they could create with our cotton. They contacted artisans who gave them ideas, created samples, and the first designs were sweaters.
"Despite my mother's knowledge of weaving and textiles, she didn't want to become involved in my father's project… I don't think he did either. But he became ill in 2001 and so my mother decided to lend a hand with the work. We owe her our quality, our image and the design of our Maya cottons.
"My parents began this project and dedicated their entire lives to the work. There were no Sundays or holidays for them.
"I lost both my parents in a period of only two years. After my mother died, I decided to help my father with his work. He passed away just one year later. Those were very difficult times but I'm happy I can carry on their work.
"There are 80 artisans working with us. Some are civil war widows, others always felt that they couldn't do anything and we've been able to change that negative self image. Some of them work on a traditional loom, others in small family workshops… and of course others help cultivate the cotton.
"We couldn't leave all these people without jobs. A lot of families depend on us. I feel I have a great duty to them, to my parents and to my country, whose textile tradition should not be lost. And I'm happy to have a goal like this in my life.
"Today, I am the designer and we have a lot more items in our clothing line because that's what I enjoy doing. My inspiration comes from the love my parents instilled in me for preserving our Guatemalan culture. Today, my greatest challenge is to keep my parents' story alive and expand our horizons."
A friend who works with her says, "Luisa is a very special person. She does everything with her whole heart and always finds time when someone needs her help."
EVERY PURCHASE HELPS PROTECT PEOPLE, PETS, AND THE PLANET
We work to alleviate and address the root causes of world
hunger and food insecurity; to detect and treat breast
cancer and other health concerns.
We support thousands of shelters and rescue groups all over
the world through the various programs aimed at
improving the lives of homeless pets.
We are on the front lines protecting our planet. We purchase
land to protect endangered species, conduct
conservation studies, and plant trees in deforested areas.
This item qualifies for FREE SHIPPING!
Only valid on the Normal shipping option for shipments to 48 Lower US states.
Discounted shipping price may not be applied to previous orders.
This item ships with a free artist storycard, so you can remember who you impacted today. Customized gift messages are also available with every order.
We want you to be 100% satified with your order, so if you are not completely happy with your item, you can return it within 60 days of receiving it.
We pack, ship, certify and 100% guarantee the quality of this item. Watch this video to see how.
This item is available for backorder and will ship within 2 to 8 weeks. Although we cannot guarantee availability, we do expect to be able to fill the order within the timeframe indicated.
If for any reason we are unable to ship the item within this timeframe, we will notify you.
This item has a special shipping flat fee which means that due to bulk, duties, or other special requirements, the item will be shipped to you via one of our special one-rate services. Shipping is only available to the United States (lower 48 States only).
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FINDING YOUR SIZE
Take your measurements with the tape measure over your under garments. If your measurements fall between sizes you may prefer the next larger size. Inseam, skirt and dress lengths vary by style and will be listed in the item description. Our sweaters are knit in standard American sizes, however actual measurements vary by style.
BUST / CHEST
Measure around the fullest part of chest under the arms and over the shoulder blades keeping the tape measure level.
Measure around the smallest part of the waist keeping the tape measure comfortably loose. Most garments use the low waist measurement noted below.
Measure around the body approximately 1.5" below the natural waist (above). This is the area where most pants and skirts actually fit.
Standing with your heels together, measure around the fullest part of the body approx 7"-8" below the waist.
Measure around the base of the neck keeping the tape measure comfortably loose.
Bend elbow slightly and starting at the center back of the neck, measure across the shoulder, to the elbow and down to the wrist.
Our standard inseam length for women is 32" and 34" for men; however inseam measurements will vary slightly by style.
Download our printable ring sizing chart to find the perfect fit!
We refer to these items as "discounted wholesale". Such items carry a deeper wholesale discount than other items, and have greater potential to provide your business with healthier resale margins.
Triple 'Win' Pricing
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WIN # 1 You Save!
Handmade goods from developing nations usually pass through a series of intermediaries before being purchased by retail consumers. Each of these intermediaries adds cost to the product, and that cost is passed on to the customer. The #rc.config.settings.storefront.name# partnered with NOVICA, who works directly with artists through their regional offices in Asia, Africa and Latin America, allowing purchases from UNICEF Market to go directly from the artisans to fulfilling customer orders. By skipping steps in the traditional supply chain, you can buy high quality items for less than the regular retail prices.
WIN # 2 Children Benefit!
Each item purchased from #rc.config.settings.storefront.name# will benefit UNICEF's programs that provide lifesaving nutrition, medicine, education, clean water, emergency relief and more to children in need.
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