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Coleccion Luna: Fair Trade Guatemalan Inspired Designs

Dazzling and vibrant, the boots, clothing, and jewelry from Coleccion Luna are a true testament to culture. Founder Stephanie Jolluck uses her explorations and fascinations with indigenous cultures, particularly those of Guatemala, as inspiration for her products.

A self-described designer, explorer, adventurer, and social entrepreneur, Stephanie embarked on a business endeavor in 1999 when she founded Coleccion Luna (translated as Moon Collection). The idea for the company emerged during some of her first travels to Guatemala in 1997 when she was backpacking solo throughout the country, as well as volunteering with a Maya women’s cooperative. Her travels came soon after the end of Guatemala’s 36-year civil war, which “left a bloody legacy of approximately 200,000 people dead and 40,000 disappeared.” While volunteering, she witnessed firsthand “the strength and resilience that these women displayed after they had witnessed such horrors.” Coleccion Luna was primarily inspired from the profound impact this season had on Stephanie.

Stephanie’s love of art, and curiosity for learning and experiencing different cultures, led her to create relationships with the Maya Indians, who, for the past 16 years, have worked directly with her in developing products. They use reclaimed indigenous clothing in addition to traditional indigenous handicrafts and “combine the vintage and culturally rich with [her] contemporary touch.”


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“In Guatemala, weaving is an integral part of a Maya woman’s daily life and is an important responsibility that is passed on from generation to generation. Mayans have been weaving for over 2,000 years. Although the textiles have evolved and there have been changes in types of threads, dyes, and designs over the centuries, the basic back strap loom has changed very little. Many types of fabric are handwoven on these looms, and every woman makes her own unique huipil, the traditional blouse still worn in these regions. The design of the huipil expresses cultural identity, role in society, and personal aesthetic. All of Coleccion Luna boots and denim jackets are created from these beautiful and intricate cloths. We don’t use the huipils we purchase that are in very good-excellent condition for boots, jackets, bags; [instead] we sell them on our Etsy shop: Coleccion Luna Vintage,” explains Stephanie.

Photo Shooting of the boots and bags that Coleccion Luna promote and sell. Photo: Leonel [nelo] Mijangos :: http://nelomh.com

Photo: Leonel [nelo] Mijangos // www.nelomh.com

Coleccion Luna also supports and enforces Fair Trade practices in their production process. “A long-term supporter of Fair Trade and humanitarian work, I am fully committed to ensuring the people (both men and women artisans and suppliers) I work with are fairly paid for their expert craftsmanship. I also aim to help preserve the skills of the producers in the region. We purchase all the elements for our necklaces and the huipiles at and above fair market value from our suppliers directly.”

 

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Currently, Stephanie is working on expanding her vintage Mayan textile yoga and meditation line. Her current collection of necklaces is seeped in history. She explains, “Like all of the pieces I design and co-create, my newest addition is a reflection of my personal style… My latest collection is a line of ‘chachales’ based on an ancient tradition. The word ‘chachal’ in Quiche language means necklace. These beautiful objects have a fascinating tale of history, culture, art, and economics that… are a blend of Pre-Columbian native elements with the influence of the European conquerors. We are using antique Spanish Colonial coins and crosses, vintage Guatemalan coins, coral, and vintage trade beads from Italy and Czechoslavakia to make our chachales. I love working with these elements and studying their history and origins…what an amazing journey they have made from Europe to the Americas. Like our other items… each necklace is one of a kind and has a unique story.”

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By Michaela Garretson