The People We Work With
We proudly work with 10 groups of artisans in the highlands of Mexico's southernmost state, Chiapas. It's here, in this quite mountainous area, that our Tunics and Huipiles are woven on backstrap looms and our Sol Bands are braided by hand.
The Huipil is a garment that comes from an ageless and respected tradition. It's origins date back 3000 years and variations of them have been worn by the indigenous men, women and children throughout Mayan Mexico and Central America for many generations. The shape essentially remains the same as it was all those years ago - rectangular front and back panels with openings for the head and arms and distinct brocades as embellishment.
At Sol Sublime the fabric used on our tunics and huipiles is made using the traditional method of backstrap weaving. This is an ancient technique where threads are attached at one end to the weaver (by way of a strap around the waist) and the other end to a tree or secure structure. This can be up to 55cm wide and 3 metres long. The weaving is an under-over-under-over process of horizontal threads attached to a bobbin/wooden rod that, row by row, form a beautiful smooth fabric (see below). Thickness varies depending on the number of threads woven together at any one time. The brocade is applied as the fabric is woven and is equally as intricate with beautiful hand knotted icons. Each State and each village have their own very distinctive brocades that clearly differentiate their region.
This production process is slow but authentic and the attention to detail is meticulous. Setting up the loom itself takes 8-10 hours. Our garments can take up to 5 weeks to make but it's this age old process and skill that makes our tunics and huipiles so special and treasured. We fully support fair trade and the time it takes for this labour intensive process. Our prices reflect the hours put in to each piece.
"I truly value the relationship I've built with all our makers in Chiapas over the past 4 years and am proud to bring their fine-tuned craft into my business. I love that we've combined our skills to create these new and striking interpretations of Mexican backstrap fabrics for our customers." Andrea Stark
Below is a selection of photos of one group of artisans - Maria, Martha, Nayeli and Martha - from the San Andrés Larrainzar Community.