Sustainably Chic

Fair Trade Commerce Changing Lives for Zapotec Artisans

Fashion, Fashion Pt. 5Natalie Kay

Manos Zapotecas

One of the first brands I encountered on my journey in sustainable blogging, Manos Zapotecas has been and always will be a favorite of mine. Every piece they produce is so unique with some of the coolest patterns around {I can spot one of these beauties a mile away!}. I have my own collection of totes & small handbags, and hope to start working on my MZ casa collection very soon! YES - that's right, they now have rugs and pillow covers!! I am constantly impressed with the quality & aesthetic, and it has been exciting watching them grow over the last few years. Us conscious consumers can't get enough of Manos Zapotecas & I'm here to share with you why...

Manos Zapotecas was founded by Shelley Tennyson, who saw an opportunity for the weavers of Oaxaca when she was volunteering with a microfinance non-profit in 2009. Shelley taught business classes to female loan recipients, and quickly realized no matter how beautiful the product or business savvy they were it was nearly impossible for them to fully support themselves and their families through their craft. By bringing the product to a global market, the weavers would finally have a chance to create sustainable income and use their talents to the fullest. Today, Manos Zapotecas employs 50 weavers in Oaxaca!! 

I fall for the bright & bold - I love my designs loud, yet timeless. There are several Zapotec traditional designs you can see - here - but several of the MZ patterns are created by weavers themselves and are modern interpretations of their tribal patterns, as well as a few abstract expressions. They use bi-peddle treadle looms, and a completed woven piece is called a tapete {woolen tapestry}. The wool is colored using natural dyes from plant, animal and mineral sources, like nuts & flowers, cochineal bugs & indigo. The colors come out stunning!

I've been eyeballing the Fringe handbags for the last year, and have become quite fond of my Camino Palomita bag - it's pretty gorgeous, right?! My MZ bags never disappoint, and I'm already itching to get my hands on some decor for next year. Which MZ piece is your favorite?

To shop all of MZ's collections click - here - & stay up-to-date with all the pretty photos & prints on Instagram