Tag Archives: slow fashion

Las Sanjuaneras Huipiles are Here! Shop Open!

Las Sanjuaneras huipiles are here! Below are 14 beautiful pieces. On July 29, 2020, I posted the first batch of huipiles and we sold-out on the same day! Thank you for supporting this incredible cooperative of weavers from San Juan Colorado, Jamiltepec, Oaxaca on the beautiful Costa Chica. You can read more about them by clicking on the link above.

SOLD OUT! Next group arriving in 3-4 weeks.

To Buy: Please email me normahawthorne@mac.com with your name, mailing address and item number. I will mark it SOLD, send you a PayPal link to purchase and add $12 for cost of mailing. Please be sure to select Send Money to Family and Friends!

Note: All measurements are in inches. Width is across the front (one side). Please double for circumference. Length is shoulder to hem. Most necks have an 8″ opening from shoulder to V.

First come. First served. First email in gets first choice.

SOLD. #1. Andrea. Wild marigold with iron oxide bordado. 37″ w x 44-1/2″ L. $345
SOLD. #2. Maria Lucia. Mahogany, nanche, banana, indigo, 31w x 29L. $265.

These textiles are airy and gauzy. They drape beautifully. Even though they are wide, they are beautiful flowing works of art. In summer, wear with a tank top or bra. In winter, layer over a long-sleeve T-shirt or dress. The texture and colors are delicious, just like the natural dye materials used.

SOLD. #3. Camerina. Mahogany, beets, avocado, wild marigold. 31w x 30L. $265.
SOLD. #4. Camerina. Indigo, beet, mahogany, marigold. 31w x 38L. $285.
SOLD. #5. Camerina. Guava, iron oxide, indigo. 34-1/2w x 34L. $325.

The cotton is all locally grown in small plots, hand-picked. The cotton is rolled inside palm mats and then beaten with sticks to soften it. Women sit cross-legged to take out the debris, pods and seeds, caressing each cotton ball as they work. A few women are experts using the malacate or drop-spindle used to make the thread. This is a laborious process. All the threads used in these garments are made this way.

To Buy: Please email me normahawthorne@mac.com with your name, mailing address and item number. I will mark it SOLD, send you a PayPal link to purchase and add $12 for cost of mailing. Please be sure to select Send Money to Family and Friends!

SOLD. #6. Brisaida. Indigo, guava, iron oxide. 37w x 30L. $265.
SOLD. #7. Camerina. Indigo, banana, mahogany. 31w x 26L. $265.
SOLD. #8. Rufina Nicolas. Mahogany, banana, natural. 30w x 34L. $310.

A back-strap loom is warped with this cotton. Then, the weft is woven into the warp threads. The designs are achieved using a weaving technique the Mexicans call bordado. These designs are not embroidered, but actually woven into the garment — a technique weavers know as supplementary weft. Often, as with some of these, the rayas or stripes add diversity to the design and an opportunity for color variegation.

SOLD. #9. Aurora. Wild marigold, indigo, banana, iron oxide. 34w x 32L. $240.
SOLD. #10. Camerina. Indigo, mahogany, banana. 30w x 33L. $240.
SOLD. #11. Andrea. Oak, marigold, indigo, natural. 33w x 29L. $265.

Before the loom is warped, the weaver will decide on the primary color of the piece, along with what colors to use for the patterning. She will take the raw white native cotton and dip it into dye baths she has prepared herself from native plants. Weavers here use wild marigold (sempesuchitl or pericone), mahogany bark (caoba), oak bark (encino), avocado leaves and dried fruit (aguacate), indigo (añil), beets (betabel), guava (guayaba), nanche (a fruit), and baby banana pulp or banana tree bark.

SOLD. #12. Aurora. Beet, marigold, iron oxide, banana. 37w x 36L. $285.

To Buy: Please email me normahawthorne@mac.com with your name, mailing address and item number. I will mark it SOLD, send you a PayPal link to purchase and add $12 for cost of mailing. Please be sure to select Send Money to Family and Friends!

SOLD. #13. Cleotilde. Oak, avocado, indigo, nanche. 37w x 31L. $240.

Sometimes these may be prepared in an iron pot to yield a dulled color or gray that results from the iron oxide chemical reaction. The plant world is in your huipil!

SOLD. #14. Brisaida. Mahogany, marigold, indigo. 32w x 29L. $345.

Thank you very much for your caring and support. We all appreciate it!

Please let me know if you have any questions. norma.schafer@icloud.com

Best of Oaxaca’s Biodiversity at Ejido Union Zapata: Day of Plenty

Oaxaca celebrates indigenous food and handmade at the annual Agro-biodiversity Fair in Ejido Union Zapata. This once a year event is building traction. The main street of several blocks, cordoned off for booths and foot traffic, was packed by noon. The natural food color was beyond belief.

Day of Plenty: native corn varieties with tortillas

Criollo, organic-natural tomatoes + More

Billed as a seed exchange, farmers came from as far away as Chiapas, the Coast of Oaxaca and the Mixteca Alta, the high mountain range that borders the states of Oaxaca and Guerrero. Weavers working in natural dyes and mask makers joined in. For sale were seeds, fruit, vegetables, flowers, tortillas and tamales.

Coconut from Oaxaca’s coast. Have you tasted coconut crackers?

Fitting for Thanksgiving Weekend, it was a day of plenty.

Amaranth seeds, protein-rich, makes sweet treat

There is a big and growing movement in politically active Oaxaca to conserve native food: chiles, tomatoes, corn, peppers, squash, coffee, chocolate, amaranth, jicama and more. There are so many different varieties of each.

Sierra Mixe handmade ceramics, utilitarian beauty

One of the leaders, Rafael Meir, was present along with government representatives of Oaxaca and Mexico. Leaders are becoming more conscious about the importance of keeping GMO contained to what has already infiltrated the commercial tortilla business. Yet, there is still much more to do.

Public education has so much to do with the success of programs like this one.

House made sesame crackers — yummy, or buy seeds and make your own.

Backstrap loomed textiles rom San Juan Colorado

I was so happy to see Yuridia Lorenzo and her mom, Alegoria Lorenzo Quiroz from the Colectivo Jini Nuu in San Juan Colorado. They were selling their beautiful blouses and dresses made with native coyuchi, white and green cotton and natural dyes. Participants in my Oaxaca Coast Textile Study Tour will visit them in mid-January.

Alegoria Lorenzo Quiroz and me.

If you missed it, I hope you will mark your calendar for next year. Although the dates may float, so I’m not sure exactly when it will be held. Check out these Facebook pages to keep track: Rafael Meir, who is director of Fundacion Tortilla de Maiz Mexicana. Watch a VIDEO of the fair. 

Zapotec words describe native food

Another benefit of attending is to taste and buy mezcal, Oaxaca’s organic, artisanal alcoholic beverage distilled from fermented agave.  I bought a bottle of sylvestre (wild) jabali mezcal grown and distilled in Teozacoalco in the Mixteca Alta  by Mezcalero Javier Cruz. Que Rico!

San Juan Colorado Katyi Yaa coop, native coyuchi cotton, natural dyes

I’m noticing that Oaxaca is becoming inundated with foodies and followers of What’s Hot on the food and beverage scene. We’ve got free walking tours led by guides holding colorful umbrellas and flags downtown who get paid with tips. We have USA restauranteurs coming for cooking classes to bring the cuisine home. Rent prices are escalating in the historic center. If one lives on the peso, everything is at a premium now. Those of us who live here always ask if the influx of tourist dollars trickles down to the pueblos, the makers, the field and kitchen workers.  What is your experience?

Corn, snake, cacao symbols on wool, back-strap loom

Back-strap loomed wool, San Pablo Villa de Mitla, corn, snake, cacao symbols. That’s why fairs like this one are so important — to buy direct from those who produce.  Slow food. Slow fashion. Slow mezcal. Saludos.

Know the Natural Richness of Mexico

Chiles, squash, Mexico’s gift



Oaxaca, More than Fashion, A Place of Rootedness and Identity: Video

I am an admirer of Eric Mindling who has, over his 30-year relationship with Oaxaca, documented her people with glorious photography, and introduced many travelers to regions far off-the-beaten path. Thank you for this beautiful tribute to life, the grandparents, culture, survival and identity. It gives us pause to think about whether we are sagebrush or tumbleweed — and what we appreciate. I hope you enjoy and share.


Who Made My Clothes? Digging Deeper Into Fashion and Consumption

Who Made My Clothes? is a program of the Fashion Revolution. I’ve been following them and its co-founder Carry Somers since she came to Oaxaca in February 2016 to take one of my natural dye and weaving textile excursions.

Pedal loom weaver Arturo Hernandez, San Pablo Villa de Mitla, Oaxaca

I introduced her to some of the weavers who make my clothes and the rugs that adorn floors and walls where I live in Teotitlan del Valle and Durham, North Carolina.

When I got notice of an online course Who Made My Clothes? produced by Exeter University and Fashion Revolution, I decided to sign up.  The first of three sessions over the next weeks went online yesterday. I’m eager to tell you about it.

But first, what also prompted me to pursue this course was the discussion we had during the WARP Conference about recognizing and naming the people who make our garments.

African indigo tie-dyed cotton that I sewed into dress and skirt

This is true here in Oaxaca, where many of us value, buy and wear beautiful locally made dresses and blouses. If we can afford it, we might buy from Remigio Mesta’s Los Baules de Juana Cata, from the Textile Museum Shop, or from Odilon Morales at Arte Amuzgos. Buying fewer pieces and choosing better quality can be one justification for paying a higher price.

This is a mantra of the Fashion Revolution: the high cost of fast fashion, disposable clothes. Who is paying the price? Our planet and the workers.  In the end, we are, too because we are contributing to a system of over-consumption.

  • 75% of garment workers are young women
  • the world purchased 400% more clothes than we did 20 years ago
  • in the USA in 2012, 84% of unwanted clothes ended up in the landfill or incinerator

If we buy on the street, we have no idea who made the garment or what they were paid for their labor. Usually, it’s a reseller who takes this work, either buying outright or on consignment.

  • What are we doing to make our own clothes?
  • What are we doing to mend our own clothes?
  • What are we doing to buy at up cycle/thrift sales?
  • What are we doing to buy directly from the maker?
  • Do we read labels? Check clothes “ingredients?”

The WARP conference was also about fashion designer theft, talk of label switching by designers in the NYC fashion industry, and mainstream appropriation of indigenous cultural patterns.

A challenge in this week’s online lesson was to read about the 2013 tragic Rana Plaza building collapse in Bangladesh, when more than 1,100 people died, mostly young women. From this rubble, the Fashion Revolution was born.

The women in the building were making clothes for brands we all know: Gap, Walmart, H&M, Sears, Tommy Hilfiger and more. Questions came up: Who is ultimately responsible for worker safety? The brands, the subcontractors, the government? All of the above?  How does one person make a difference?

Family mourns death of loved one, Rana Plaza, Bangladesh

So, the course developers are asking me to look in my closet, evaluate what’s there, choose my favorite garment(s), ask whose lives are in the making of these clothes? What materials: cotton, synthetic, linen, flax? How old is the oldest thing in my closet?

The dress and skirt I made (above) last week, took me hours of labor, a total of about four days. I’m particular. I like French seams. I also made my own pattern. I appreciate good garment construction and fabric.

There may still be room in the course.  We have a week to finish the first module, and its insightful, reflective and purposeful to ask: Who made my clothes?

If we care about the food we ingest, we can also care about what we choose to say about ourselves in what we wear.