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Textile studio empowers women and fights climate change

A sustainable textile brand in Mexico is combating fast fashion as well as poverty by employing  indigenous women to make eco-friendly textiles.

KOUA-STUDIO was founded by Erika Alvarez (a native of Mexico) in early 2021 as a reaction to the ongoing climate crisis. The brand is committed to providing sustainable eco-friendly fashion with a transparent production process. At the same time, KOUA-STUDIO aims to give jobs to impoverished Mexicans and preserve the country’s traditional methods of making clothes by hand.

The brand is currently working with 150 women across Mexico, all of them skilled artisans across different communities who produce the studio’s four lines of textiles. To empower these women, all intellectual property rights of the textiles belong solely to them.

Every year, 85% of textiles end up on landfill sites across the world. KOUA-STUDIO uses organic, recycled and locally-sourced materials in their craft. The women create the textiles using traditional ancestral techniques of hand-weaving, meaning there is little-to-no environmentally-unfriendly energy used in their process.

Alvarez commented:

“Mexican women in low-income areas are often taught embroidery techniques from a young age. It’s a part of many family legacies. It’s their cosmovision, heritage and culture embodied in a piece of fashion and we should respect that. We obtain our wool from locally-raised sheep. Our artisans brush the fabric and use a spinning wheel to craft the design. All our dyes are from sheep wool, indigo extracted from plants, flowers, fruits, seeds, tree bark, moss, and insects.

Local women usually have to leave school early to take care of their siblings, and a lack of education keeps them stuck in the generational cycle of poverty. Working with KOUA-STUDIO means that they can generate income selling their textiles. Slowly but surely we can eradicate poverty and the fight against gender-based violence by empowering these women.”

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