Empowering Women Through Design in Rural Peru

by Awamaki
Mar 5, 2012

Season 2 Collection: Lab Goes to Market!

Workshop Intro
Workshop Intro

Awamaki Lab finished up 2011 with lots of creative momentum, thanks to the passion and energy of our wonderful design and cooperative teams.  Andria Crescioni and Courtney Cedarholm worked closely with sewing instructor Paula Huillca and members of the knitting and sewing coops to complete their Fall/Winter 2012 samples, which we presented this January at the Textile Arts Center in Manhattan. 

The Textile Arts Center (TAC) is an educational space that provides support to fiber artists, and everyday people interested in working with fiber, by acting as a resource facility and creative meeting place.  The TAC generously extended its services to Awamaki Lab, gifting us with a five-day residency to share our story with community artists, media, buyers, and fashion enthusiasts.  

We began our program with a hands-on workshop to simulate the Lab design experience in Ollantaytambo.  We wanted to demonstrate how the tactile production process transforms a studio space into a dynamic social environment that creates purposeful work, which helps to build confidence.  Participants were guided by Lab sewing instructor Nayantara Banerjee to develop up-cycled accessories from textile remnants produced in the cutting and sewing of our Season 1 skirts.

The following night, we launched Andria and Courtney’s Fall/Winter 2012 collection with a presentation that paid homage to the local fiesta rituals of Ollanta.  Our friends modeled and mingled with attendees underneath colorful Peruvian party banners, while huayno music – re-mastered and remixed by Andria’s cousin Frankie Crescioni – played in the background.  Kate Reeder’s landscape and portrait photographs framed the garments, providing a point of reference for our design activity in Peru.

We concluded our week at the TAC with a three-day trunk show; a pivotal moment for Awamaki Lab as we introduced our merchandise to market.  Here, we offered pre-sale orders of our Fall/Winter 2012 collection as well as sale of our Season 1 skirts and jackets.  These orders, along with those placed by small boutiques, buoyed Lab and have contributed to the program's long-term self-sufficiency. 

Meanwhile in Ollantaytambo, our seamstresses Justa, Florentina and Estela returned to work after a month-long holiday.  They’ve begun Season 2 production with their own bag designs, each responsible for sewing their signature Q’ipi Satchel to complete our first 20-unit order.  They continue to improve their computer literacy with support from Awamaki’s education program and through weekly skype meetings facilitated by our technical and quality control associate Krissa Henderson.

As we look ahead, we remain committed to promoting sustained, measured growth through our program, to honor and satisfy the needs of our coop members.  If you would like to place a pre-sale order for any of the Season 2 pieces (50% off retail price for our extended Global Giving family!) please visit our site and email Annie@awamaki.org.

Workshop Sewing Circle
Workshop Sewing Circle
Workshop Upcycled Project
Workshop Upcycled Project
F/W 2012 collection
F/W 2012 collection
Model Stage
Model Stage
Series of Presentation Photos
Series of Presentation Photos
Trunk Show Set Up
Trunk Show Set Up



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Organization Information


Location: Ollantaytambo, Cusco - Peru
Website: http:/​/​www.awamaki.org/​
Project Leader:
Mary Kennedy Leavens
Ollantaytambo, Cusco Peru
$23,505 raised of $28,000 goal
428 donations
$4,495 to go
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