Empowering Women Through Design in Rural Peru

by Awamaki
Mar 6, 2012

Collaborative Design with Season 2 Lab Team

Season 2 Team
Season 2 Team

In the spirit of Peruvian summer, Awamaki Lab has been abuzz with creative activity. This September, our talented Season 2 fashion designers, Andria Crescioni and Courtney Cedarholm, joined us in Ollantaytambo to begin their four-month residency. The recent Parsons graduates are working side-by-side with members of both Lab's sewing cooperative and Awamaki's new knitwear association to develop their collection. As Awamaki invests in the expansion of its Women's Cooperative Program, Lab likewise extends the scope of its operation to support more female artisans in Ollantaytambo. Season 2 reflects this holistic growth, as Andria and Courtney experiment with a greater ambit of raw materials to focus Lab's collaborative effort and showcase the handiwork of women weavers, seamstresses, and knitters.

The new design team has had an invigorating presence in the Lab studio, introducing Lab's seamstresses to a wider range of design processes and inspiring them to test the limits of their sewing capabilities. Within this setting, Justa, Florentina and Estela have mastered their second Lab garment, completing production on the very detail-oriented Season 1 tie-front jacket. Advancing their skills further, they've begun to study design and construction with pattern maker Hannah Flor. One of the core values of Awamaki Lab is the encouragement of women to develop the professional skills and self-esteem that will ultimately lead to social transformation. Engaging the seamstresses in more challenging design projects, and teaching them the skills that will allow them to contribute directly to the design process is the first step to achieving this. Hannah has therefore been both professor and mentor to Justa, Florentina and Estela. She has created a hands-on curriculum that complements the seamstresses' learning style and amplifies their skills, while tying in techniques from Andria's and Courtney's collection to bridge the design-production gap.

Just this week, Justa, Florentina and Estela finished sketching, drafting and sewing their own bag designs, which will be sold as part of the Season 2 collection next year.

Thanks to your generous support, we've been able to continue to invest in these kinds of capacity-building workshops needed to expand our program, enabling women in rural Peru to develop a sustainable income for themselves, their families and their communities.

To see further examples of our cooperatives' work and get a jump-start on holiday shopping, visit our online store to view the S1 Lab skirts.

Florentina working on S1 tie-front jacket
Florentina working on S1 tie-front jacket
Hand-sewing detail
Hand-sewing detail
Finished jackets!
Finished jackets!
Prof Paula with mini pattern pieces
Prof Paula with mini pattern pieces
Justa working with mini pattern pieces
Justa working with mini pattern pieces
Florentina during first class with Hannah
Florentina during first class with Hannah
Seamstresses with their muslin bag samples!
Seamstresses with their muslin bag samples!



About Project Reports

Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.

If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating.

Get Reports via Email

We'll only email you new reports and updates about this project.

Organization Information


Location: Ollantaytambo, Cusco - Peru
Website: http:/​/​www.awamaki.org/​
Project Leader:
Mary Kennedy Leavens
Ollantaytambo, Cusco Peru
$23,190 raised of $28,000 goal
417 donations
$4,810 to go
Donate Now
Donating through GlobalGiving is safe, secure, and easy with many payment options to choose from. Learn more.
Add Project to Favorites

Help raise money for this important cause by creating a personalized fundraising page for this project.

Start a Fundraiser

Learn more about GlobalGiving

Teenage Science Students
Vetting +
Due Diligence


Woman Holding a Gift Card
Gift Cards

Young Girl with a Bicycle

Sign up for the GlobalGiving Newsletter

WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.