Sustainable Fashion Brand Andeana Hats is Empowering the Andean Women of Peru
Andeana Hats is making a statement in a big way! The concept for “Andeana Hats” was born because of the shared affinity for the Sacred Valley, Peru, its land, culture, energy and people by both founders, Laura Grier, and Pats Krysiak.
While trekking together on the infamous Ausangate trek across the Rainbow Mountains, Pats and Laura came across many amazing Andean women and were captivated with their unique hats and weavings. Determined to share the energy of the Sacred Valley with the world and to help bring awareness to these female artisans and their cultural practices, Laura and Pats came up with the concept of combining their personal hat styles with their traditional weavings to create apparel that captures the energy and culture of the Andean people and infuses it into the everyday life of those who wear them. Andeana Hats has partnered with Awamaki, a non-profit organization based in Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley, who work closely together with multiple indigenous communities in the remote mountains of Peru. Awamaki invests in women’s skills, connects them to global marketplaces and supports their leadership so they can increase their income and transform their communities. The passion of founders Laura and Pats and the mission behind the creation of Andeana Hats is to empower women and help support global artisans to continue their vanishing crafts and enabling them to support themselves and lead their communities out of poverty.
Every Andeana Hat and Intention Band is hand shaped or woven out of alpaca wool by Quechua artisans living in the Andes Mountains of Peru. These descendants of the Inca people are practicing what National Geographic refers to a “vanishing art”; an ancient weaving tradition that has been passed down through the centuries by the women in their culture. Without a global marketplace to share and sell these goods, these traditions will die out. The Quechua language is an oral or woven language; not written, so by keeping these weaving designs alive we are essentially keeping their language and history alive. Founder Laura Grier explains, "Each woven “Intention band” has a different Quechua meaning and can be changed on any hat allowing the wearer to choose the intention they want to wear. We wanted to pay homage to Pachamama, or Mother Earth, by acknowledging the energy and spirituality of the Andean people through each woven design on our hats. What makes our hats so unique are the subtle imperfections of the Quechua artisan’s work. Due to the traditional nature of our craft, no two hats or bands will ever be exactly alike. We are very committed to not disrupting the flow of their village life and allowing them the freedom to weave and work at their own pace that allows for their farming and families’ schedules."