The Manuelas are alpaca herders who live in the high Andean region of Peru, highlands of distant horizons at more than 4,000 meters high, where cold and pure air blows and where they raise their alpacas.
In collaboration with international artists, knitted textile pieces are created that are impregnated with the hand and the stamp of the people who made them.
… products with soul, that tell the story of their origin and accompany for life.
Las Manuelas, a group of women, an initiative, an international community, a collective journey.
Impulsed by the Peruvian organization Movimiento Manuela Ramos, under the creative direction of Isabel Berz
from IED REC, a collaborative methodology and a new sustainable and transparent design & manufacturing process have been created.
Over the years we have developed an inclusive tool, the Co -Design Platform, a digital platform that allows the alpaca herders and artisans from Peru to connect with artists and creatives from around the world and co-design textile pieces that are made in a careful process traceable to the animal.
LAS MANUELAS tells the story of a community of people who propose a different way of designing and producing, based on the following values:
The ultimate goal of the Las Manuelas initiative is to empower women living in the remote high Andean lands of southern Peru; Alpaca herders and artisans who own between 30 and 300 animals and have learned to transform their precious wool into unique products.
PROMOTION OF BIODIVERSITY
A wool database gives information on the availability of the wool in real time. This system respects the natural cycle, avoiding any type of alteration in the processes and times of alpaca rearing.
The women use only 100% natural alpaca wool from their own animals and naturally dyed with the local flora. We optimize the use of wool by shearing operations by mixing the finest wool from older animals with Baby Alpaca from younger animals, thus redefining quality standards.
Each piece is made by one woman, from caring for the alpacas, shearing, spinning and dyeing, to the final knitting of the product. A transparent and traceable process to the animal. This in itself is exceptional!
The digital platform allows direct connection between women and artists who are at great distances, avoiding having to invest in travel. The digital platform has been proposed as an attractive and easy-to-use tool, for both artists and artisans.
The Co-Design Platform offers a co-creation system so that artisans can intervene in the design process and contribute their stamp. Each woman imbues each piece 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 eliminates the hierarchy, which traditionally exists between designers and producers: the platform recreates the original artisanal process of design, going point by point, exactly as artisans weave, point by point. A new dimension of equality has been built that requires the same amount of time for design development as for production.
SINGULARITY AND PERMANENCE
Each piece is unique and timeless, with the idea of staying in time. Regardless of the seasonal calendar, it is only produced on demand. Its versatility offers the possibility of using it as a fashion or home accessory, or simply as a piece of art hanging on the wall.
Although our objective is to provoke the concept of durability and longevity, we plan to offer a collection service for all our products and to reuse the material for a new edition: LAS MANUELAS Recycled. All parts are made from a single material, which makes the product highly efficient to recycle.
This initiative makes it possible to improve the lives of alpaca herders and offer them the opportunity to use their wool, apply their skills, enter the professional market and have direct access to economic income. All profits from the project are used exclusively for the improvement of their working conditions, training in the raising and maintenance of alpacas and to offer support in the education of their children.
Founders: Alicia Villanueva & Verónica Galvez, Movimiento Manuela Ramos
Co-Founder and Creative Direction: Isabel Berz, IED Madrid
Co-Design Methodology: Irene Alonso, Rosa Rubio, Carmen Delgado, IED Alumni
Web and CoDesign Platform development: Margot Matesanz
Visual Communication: Andrea Sánchez, IED Madrid
Local production coordinator: Nelida Cruz Choque
President of Artisans Collective: Herminia Herminia Perca Calizaya
Thanks for the support:
Economistas sin Fronteras España, Movimiento Manuela Ramos Perú, Fundación La Caixa, IED, Première Classe Paris, Museo de Arte Contemporáneo MAC Lima, Concento Japan
And the commitment lives on!
LAS MANUELAS continue with new collaborations,… attentive to our latest edition:
LAS MANUELAS ART SERIES, a unique project carried out in collaboration with 11 international artists.
We hope to grow our initiative internationally. Sign up and follow us!