“The idea is not to create a constant advertisement of sustainability and ethics but to inform and educate through art and fashion in terms of what we consume, and this is what we do through our stories and designs,” says Grace Huamanchumo Flores, the founder of Graciela Huam Knitwear.
“On the intrinsic side, Graciela Huam represents authenticity and exclusivity, under a common denominator of sustainability. And I’m just a key factor that builds this identity together with a passionate team.”
Speaking with Grace Huamanchumo Flores, the founder and creative director of Graciela Huam, she fully represented the authenticity of Peru and the conscious designs they employ. “Our design work is founded on respect for nature, universal human rights, and economic justice. We follow the principals of responsible and sustainable production, using traditional methods in order to achieve the quality that is superior to industrially made products.”
Moving from Lima, Peru, Grace feels a strong correlation between her home country and The Netherlands. Her discovery of authenticity, natural resources, and human abilities share between both countries, and she visions to curate the Peruvian natural and human resources with the visual, trend, and fashion components that exist in Europe.
“ Nature, animals, the people that surround us, the words, the music, the love the passion, everything is an inspiration for art and design.”
The inspirations and design directions of Graciela Huam come from the everyday life that surrounds Grace and her team. From reading a book to traveling, unique ideas come to mind as Grace states, “The mind has no limits”. Despite the design incentives, Graciela Huam represents very much of the local artisans in Puno, Peru. “We want to show the people here, in The Netherlands, who is behind the garments”, Grace stamps firmly on the values and stories of her brand, which she believes the power of the influences on information. “Maybe we forget to ask ourselves: who made my clothes? Behind a brand, there are designers and teams – There is a world to discover.”
How do you explain your creations and designs in relation to sustainability and consciousness?
We are committed to partnering with local entrepreneur artisans in Puno, the south of Peru. Likewise, our team of 27 colleagues is certified on the principles of fair trade, also they receive training and technical assistance necessary to improve their working conditions, and they have a constant input of European trends mixing their traditional and local methods. This group is our first association, a small team with a big heart, and our goal is to grow together doing what we like.
Another link of the chain is our use of raw material. We employ fair trade principles with our suppliers, and we adhere to the Peruvian production regulations concerning environmental obligations. Our suppliers deliver the finest Peruvian Alpaca and Pima Cotton, empathizing the improvement of the Alpaca and Cotton fiber through breeding programs in the highlands and north coast in Peru, which are essential to raising animals and plants with excellent fiber.
What are your short and long term goals?
For short-term, we aim to have the public know the work of Graciela Huam and our stories, commitment, talent, and creativity.
Our slower approach in relation to clothing production and the challenge of being on trend is our belief and values in upholding sustainable standards. The supply of sustainable materials and components is still relatively limited, and we inevitably face trade-offs, sometimes requiring compromises on design, cut, and material.
And for long-term, we wish to change the perspective that sustainable fashion is boring, simple and creates guilt. Conscious fashion can be fashionable, modern and trendy! Both can stylishly and profitably coexist.
At last, we want to conquer the conscious knitwear market.
How would you recommend and influence consumer markets to become more sustainable-oriented in consumption?
Step by step, most people are aware of this movement, but we can’t change our habits in just one day. For instance, regarding fashion: we can’t even change our whole closet all at once! Fashion trends always return, some trends come back because they work – They are universally wonderful. And why do not we keep our clothes? Take care of them to re-use them again. My ex-boss always reminded me that: “small actions can change the world”.
Little by little, I believe that we can support a type of economy that balances the factors of social, environmental and economical.