‘People always ask if our designs are traditional or contemporary,’ explains Véronique Tesseraud, the founding member of El Camino de Los Altos (ECLA). Based in San Cristobel Mexico, ECLA links local textiles with both Mexican and international buyers, as well as traditional techniques with modern designs.
The organisation is composed of 130 weavers belonging to five different municipios (municipalities). ‘Each municipio has specific knowledge of its textile heritage.’ But the business initiative and general design concept for each season comes from France, where Véronique and her band of six experienced designers are based.
Véronique tends to spend up to six months of the year in San Cristobel Mexico, while the others travel less frequently. ‘All new products are based on the weavers’ heritage and samples produced in workshops held in the villages: this way we work with the collective memory.’ This enables the weavers to take ownership of the products as they recognize it as their own. Through supporting an ancient craft and providing Spanish and literacy lessons, the not-for-profit organisation gives weavers a financial and social independence.
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Styling by Nelson Sepulveda / photography Mark Eden Schooley