This summer has been amazing! We have been a part of numerous summer fairs and festivals across the UK including the Spirit of Summer in Olympia-London, the Embankment Summer Market, the Pure London trade show and having fun at Wilderness Festival in Oxford. Our journey never stops. We keep sharing the life stories of the Wayuu artisans from Colombia and raising awareness of their culture and heritage.
The Wayuu women make the most decorative and highest quality mochila bags on our planet. Their craftsmanship and living conditions are much to be admired and if you haven’t had the opportunity to meet us personally please check our YouTube/Vimeo channels to learn more about their livelihood. We are constantly posting new clips and interviews from our trips to Colombia which are supported by English captions.
This year we introduced the new Water and Macrame bracelets which gave jobs to more than 20 women in Risaralda and Bogotá in Colombia and helped our monthly water supply donation to 3 different villages in La Guajira Desert. It is important to clarify that we are not a charity. We are a consumer brand with a social mission that supports local artisans and helps to provide jobs to women living in challenging conditions.
For the rest of the year we at Castellano have one last challenge. We are launching a crowdfunding campaign on the Kickstarter platform which has supported the growth of a number of creative projects globally. Many of you may not be familiar with Kickstarter but let us take a second to teach you it works. We will create a campaign based on a new backpack which with your support will be launched into production. The backpack is one that we have designed over the past two years and will be sourced by the highest quality materials. The campaign will support the Wayuu women further in their search for improving their living standards and we hope to make a real difference with your help.
We will send you more details when we launch in September but I leave you with this clip of how we can give back water supply to the Wayuu families in La Guajira -Colombia.
This is a question asked last week by a journalist who wanted to know about me and how I started CASTELLANO. In my office in London I decided to write the following letter to let you know the objective behind my company.
What make us unique is the human emphasis we put on each bag we sell. It’s not just a bag – it’s a life story!
We empower Colombian indigenous women and we strive to make a positive impact on their society.
Our ultimate goal is to gain the trust and respect of people everywhere, just as we have done with the local tribes and communities. We want you to believe in us and identify with our mission. We want to touch your heart and connect you to a far-away corner of the world.
We are different because we have spent time living with the Wayuu and Arhuaca women and communities, in their precarious conditions to understand how they live, why they weave bags, and what are the main social issues they face daily.
We asked ourselves: 1) How can we help to solve their problems through our products? 2) How can we tell their story to the world while showing the beautiful side of their craftsmanship? 3) How can we make consumers aware of the issues?
We are also different because we want to connect two worlds - the indigenous, native world (origins and culture, traditional handmade items) and the world of luxury fashion (wealthy, high-end consumer fashion).
Castellano aims to keep alive the heritage, tradition and the culture of the Colombian indigenous tribes.
We want to demonstrate to the world of fashion that we can design luxurious and innovative products that are still 100% crafted by hand. Products that enhance and celebrate the traditions, while helping today’s communities.
We also want to show the humanity behind each piece of art. We want to be game-changers. We want to be a brand that respects human dignity. We want to disrupt the status quo of high-end fast fashion.
We believe in cool, ethical, luxurious products with a strong social mission. This is what Castellano is all about. I want to make a real impact and I want CASTELLANO to be popular because it raises awareness and can help to make our planet a better place.
I want to challenge big corporations and brands. Through my example (and success I hope) I want to challenge them to do more for the communities with which they work. My project is a clear representation of the millennial generation.
My mission in life is to make my idea become a reality.
Follow me on twitter: @DaniCastellanoM
I am Daniela, founder of Castellano, and I would like to share with you our latest experience living with the Wayuú women, what we achieved and our goals for this year 2016.
Our last trip in La Guajira was unique, and I could say it was probably the best one in the last 2 years since we started our project. We spent 10 days in the vast desert, and gave back water and food provisions to more than 60 families from the Wayuu tribe. We also worked on our latest collection developing a new range of 100% handmade bracelets that embrace a social cause and contribute to social change through each purchase.
When you live like the Wayuú people without: running water, electricity, bathrooms, showers, internet connection and sufficient food supply, you are able to understand their lifestyle, traditions, and scarce living conditions. The Wayuú people live in an area where water is almost gold in the 45.000 km of land, and children have limited access to food and educational resources. La Guajira, is one of Colombia’s poorest and most forgotten regions.
While I was sitting on the soil, next to a group of boys weaving bracelets, I asked how often they could drink clean water and where they get it from. A boy pointed a big water container with a capacity of 1000 litres of water and said, "We fill the container once a month, but it should be filled four times each month."
Moments like those are what inspire me to do something for the children and the families who are less fortunate than us. I decided since January 2016 to launch a water project and donate 20 litres of water from each bracelet we sell. I also decided that we can donate 100 litres from each handbag and backpack that we sell and bring to your hands.
Thanks for supporting our project and buying bags and bracelets that no only empower the Wayuú women but also that give back to its manufacturers.