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.
On the 2nd-8th November, Kensington Olympia housed the Spirit of Christmas fair. The largest fair in the UK, in association with House& Garden magazine, prides itself on carefully selecting brands for their originality, quality, and style. Castellano Ethnic Origins was lucky to be one of the 400 boutiques selected to exhibit. We had an amazing eight days on stall GH23. We loved meeting some great new buyers and bringing in important sales!
It was another terrific opportunity to increase our brand awareness and share our passion with keen buyers. We were also overwhelmed by the interest in our brands’ social project. Each of our beautifully crafted bags has a story and is made by an incredibly gifted pair of hands. It was heartwarming to see our buyers agree that these artisans deserve a fair price for their fair work. All this interest means we can increase our social project.
We will be showcasing our new collection at Spirit of summer 2016! keep in touch days will be announced soon.