EcoChic Launches Alpaca School Accessories
by Deborah Miarkowska
Welcome to our new and beautiful range of School Accessories, handmade in Peru.
All of the range has been chosen for it’s ethical credentials and use of alpaca luxury yarns, making the items, soft to touch, beautiful on the skin and durable with a mix of fibres beign 55% Alpaca & 45% Acrylic.
Handmade and ethically produced by skilled artisans in Peru where the making of textiles and use of alpaca is a cultural tradition going back centuries.
Around 2,200 families are involved in alpaca farming above 3000 meters, an estimated 12-15,000 people in all who, if not for alpaca would have no other means of earning a living.
The factory where our range is produced employs twenty two people, many of these people’s lives are blighted by poverty, poor education and violence in the home. Having a stable job really does change lives and this work also offers employment rights of a fair wage, health care and a pension, which is rare in Peru.
The factory owner is very active in contributing towards the community by taking on apprentices through an NGO. At the end of the training period, the apprenitces are often taken on into full employment. We hold a direct link with the factory and have validated the ethical credentials against our rigorous criteria.
Our supplier who works directly with the Peruvian Knitwear producers describes her work as Fairly and Sustainably Trading. Our relationship and decision to launch an Alpaca range with our Peruvian based supplier is based upon her assurances and direct working relationship. Here is our suppliers description in her own words:
We spend a lot of time putting together the collections in situ and this is an ideal way to see first hand how the factories work in an ‘unchecked’ manner as we personally visit the factories in Peru where our garments are produced. As we speak fluent Spanish, we talk with the artisans as they work on our pieces that we develop whilst out there based on conceptual and preliminary designs worked on prior to our visit. As the product development takes place over a few weeks, the working conditions and treatment of staff are viewed at first hand treatment of staff and we get a real feel for the factory environment. In addition, factory owners are interviewed on their working conditions”.
The factories which supply Peruvian Knitwear pay their workers a fair wage and give them guaranteed rights, such as health care and pension”.
“Social and environmental concerns:
The work that is brought to the areas of manufacture benefits the communities as the income earned goes towards improving the living conditions of the artisans whose lives are often blighted by poverty, violence in the home and poor education”.
“The use of the alpaca fibre is environmentally-sound because up in the Altiplano (high mountain plateau of the Andes) at 3,000 metres and higher, nothing else grows - so the alpaca utilises land that is otherwise unusable. In this way it provides an income for communities who live just on or under subsistence levels and, has done so since time immemorial. Around 2,200 families are involved in alpaca farming above 3,000 metres - an estimated 12,000 to 15,000 people in all who, if not for this, would have no other means of earning a living”.
For thousands of years, weaving has played a central role in Peruvian society. During pre-Columbian times, textiles were the most sought-after trading commodity in the Andes. We design garments and homewares in contemporary styles and colours, (often taking Inca and traditional Peruvian colours and patterns as inspiration) where the artisans use traditional skills and techniques that have been passed down generations together with modern additions such manual knitting machines in order to create the beautiful handcrafted products”.
All our range can be viewed and purchased at: http://www.ecochiccollection.co.uk/department/school_uniforms/