… women, strong and joyful.
These women live in the alpaca region in the region of Puno in Peru, highlands of a far away horizon at more than 4,000 meters in altitude, where pure and cold air blows as they tend to their alpacas.
In collaboration with international artists they develop unique knit pieces impregnated with the hand and essence of the people who create them.
… unique, soulful artefacts tell the story of their origin and accompany us through time.
A mission, an international community, a group of alpaca herders …
Promoted by the Peruvian organization Movimiento Manuela Ramos and developed by IED REC Research and Education Center in Spain, a methodology and digital tool, the Co Diseño platform, has been created.
This system allows alpaca herders from the high Andean region in southern Puno in Peru to be connected with artists and creatives from around the world to design special pieces that are made by hand in a careful, traceable and sustainable process.
LAS MANUELAS tells the story of a community of people who believe that it is possible to make beautiful and luxury artefacts in a different way, by developing a design and manufacturing system that integrates significant values.
The final goal of the Las Manuelas initiative is to empower women living in the remote Andean highlands of southern Peru; women alpaca herders who own between 30 to 300 animals, who have learned to transformed their precious wool into beautiful products. Our initial research has been focused to identify methodologies and processes to elevate these women by valuing their work and providing tools to be economically independent.
IED REC is developing a real time wool database of this herder community to give designers information of the availability of the wool. This method respects the alpaca wool cycle avoiding any type of alteration to the environment, its natural processes, and the production times of the women alpaca herders. Each series is created based on the availability of the different qualities and original colors of the wools to preserve biodiversity.
ONE SINGLE NATURAL MATERIAL
The women of the LAS MANUELAS Collective use only 100% natural handspun alpaca wool, from their own animals that is naturally dyed with local flora. Not only do we use Baby Alpaca, which is only available in the first skilling with very young animals. We optimize the use of the wool by mixing in the finest wool from older animals with the Baby Alpaca to preserve its preciousness, softness and beauty.
Each woman performs the whole production process for each of the pieces. From caring for the alpacas, shearing, spinning, and dyeing, to the final knitting of the product. This in itself is exceptional and extraordinary. Each woman impregnates each garment with a piece of her soul, telling a very unique story. This is a key value of the Las Manuelas Project: One Design · One Story!
The Co-Design methodology is created by means to eliminate the traditional hierarchy between designers and producers. It offers a scenario of equality, and generates a system of building true connections between them brought to life in the design of each piece.
The digital platform enables collaboration over large distances, avoiding investing time and cost for travelling. By developing the tool the REC Team worked on making it easily accessible for both artists and artisans.
The platform recreates the original artisanal process of design, by going point by point, exactly like the artisans who knit point by point. A new dimension of equality has been built that requires the same amount of time for design development as production.
UNIQUENESS AND PERMANENCE
Each piece is unique and timeless, occupying a permanent space within Las Manuelas. Independent from the seasonal fashion calendar, it is only produced on demand.
The extraordinary quality of the pieces are sure to accompany you for life, their versatility offers you the possibility to use it as fashion or home accessory or just as an art piece hanging on the wall of your home.
This initiative allows the alpaca herders to improve their lives by offering them an opportunity to use their wool, apply their skills, enter the professional market, and have direct access to economic benefits. All earnings go directly to the project by improving their workplace conditions, training in alpaca raising and maintenance, and hopefully offering education for their children in the future.
Las Manuelas is an open collaborative initiative where all information is accessible.
The digital platform is open source and free of charge, available online on the website for everyone interested.
And the commitment stays alive!
LAS MANUELAS continues, with new collaborations, … be attentive to our latest edition: LAS MANUELAS ART SERIES, an unique project developed in collaboration with 11 international artists.
Looking forward to making the initiative grow internationally.
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