In a world of fast fashion, one company seeks to shift the paradigm into a more supportive, sustainable industry. We talk with Putchipuu co-founder, Giovanni Ferro, on this new way forward.
How did you first find yourself interested in supporting the Wayuu community? I first became fascinated with the Wayuu during a trip I made in 2014 with my fiancé to my birth place, Bogota, Colombia. We went to the Museum of Gold in Bogota and saw an exhibition on the culture of the Wayuu. Seeing all the colors and designs made me fall in LOVE instantly.
What is the inspiration behind PUTCHIPUU? After careful and thorough research, I noticed a need for connecting the artistry of the Wayuu with the world. Putchipuu is an independent and socially conscious brand. We work closely with artisans from the WAYUU tribes of Colombia bringing you their crafts and their stories. Putchipuu is for those who care about what they buy, where it came from and how their purchase is helping the artisans and their communities.
Cross Body, $145
What has this work brought to you both personally and as a career path? Creative freedom. Being able to work on our own schedule, the ability to create something out of nothing while helping a community in need has been more than rewarding. Its hard to describe in words. Its something that we do with lots passion and love. Not a day goes by that we feel like we are working. We wake up each day full of the desire to accomplish something big and ask ourselves, “okay whats next?”
How has the mission behind PUTCHIPUU helped to improve the lives of Wayuu people? We have met with the local mayor of the city of Riohacha and informed him of our mission. We are building water tanks and looking at ways to provide solar power within the indigenous communities to help the families of the Wayuu who we sell the items for. We also bring school supplies each trip we make to La Guajira, Colombia.
Medium Cross Body, $225
Describe the current collections available and the process and inspiration: Our current collection is very simple. Since we just started in Oct of 2015, we wanted to keep things simple and organic. Staying true to the Wayuu culture and design esthetics has been my vision for this collection. The inspiration came from visiting the “rancherias” it’s what they call the area in which they live in.
How can we best work towards a more fair and sustainable fashion industry? As consumers, we should care more about where the items are being made and how the company who is selling the items treats the artisan who create them. It’s very simple, instead of purchasing a fast fashion item, consider buying a one of a kind, handmade item. Not only does this come with a story but it’s helping the artisan and their community. It all starts with you.
What advice can you offer those willing to embark on the unknown in pursuit of their dreams? Just do it. I spent 15 years working nonstop with many talented individuals and saw how their dreams became a reality with the hard work and help I put in. It wasn’t until one day I realized, if I can do this for someone else, why don’t I do this for myself? And with only $500 in savings, lots of passion, support of friends and family we embarked on our mission to help the people of the Wayuu and I have never been happier then I am now. Each day I wake up and think, “wow, whatever I accomplish today is for the benefit of my own business.” It’s not all peachy, trust me, we have had our setbacks however, every time, we learn from it and think about how to do it right the next time and in this lies the secret to success. Learning from your mistakes. The end reward tastes so much better then having it easy.