Role of the Artisan
Latín America has an abundant and rich culture in terms of its ancestral and traditional arts. Beyond being a differentiated and congruent sociocultural entity, the region is a producer of a variety of incredible handicrafts native to the continent. As manifestations of living cultures, handmade objects are constantly transforming. The handicrafts produced in Latín America can be seen as symbolic and emblematic pieces that leave behind a cultural footprint. Handicrafts have the capacity to disseminate the image and cultural identity of a nation, a region or a group of people to the world. They are used to tell a story, to show evolution of cultures and belief systems to the observer. Today, the ancient techniques used in craftsmanship allows us to get closer to rich traditions. The added value of one object as a single piece, is tied up with the memory and the knowledge of each artisan. Traditional artisanal techniques are incorporated into the notion of heritage and require both the assistance of governments and the support of local communities if they are to be preserved over time.
The current state of cultural heritage
The current global economic model does not value ancestral arts and techniques and the precarious situation of most of the communities producing these works is worrying. When profitability is valued above authenticity and the preservation of cultural heritage, it leads to the loss of local traditions and ancient knowledge passed down through generations.
Because of the lack of recognition, formal education, communication and financial support artisans are unable to enter the market and make a living from their crafts.This process leads to a reduction in the capability of communities to keep hold of their traditions and pass on knowledge.
The merging between ancestral knowledge and contemporary styles
Artisans and designers need to include a contemporary vision of craftsmanship, and thus achieve a harmonious encounter between tradition and modernity that allows them to stand out and value both design and quality.
The Ethical Fashion Forum of Latin America seek s to strengthen the work of artisan groups through their arts and crafts centers. These centers, together with experienced designers, organize clothing workshops to train vulnerable sectors of society. At the same time, they promote the exchange of experiences within groups of rural artisans. The focus, as always, lies in sustainable design, recycling and recovery, as well as uniting ancestral knowledge with contemporary styles.
Artisan products are part of this flowering industry. Indigenous communities have knowledge, skills, art, and a message for the world.
Our participation in the artistic and cultural value of the craft product
Animaná is aware of this value. Through its alternative business model in the world of fashion, design and decoration, it seeks to contribute to the social development of these communities and to environmental conservation. lt has set in motion the production and commercialization of unique, timeless and handmade products.
Hecho x Nosotros provides the artisans with training, administration skills, design, commercialization and marketing in order to help them become self-sufficient and to compete in the market.
Projects such as the research center and observatory of interdisciplinary sustainable business trends are also included. Through these entities, local, regional and international seminars and conferences are held, which promote sustainable principles for professionals, designers, consumers, children and young people.
The Latin American Fashion Forum is a platform created by the NGO. lt is open to all sustainable fashion projects with its main objective being to promote ethics in fashion, innovation and sustainability.
In addition, networking through institutional alliances between NGOs and IGOs is carried out, with the aim of empowering the local workforce and preserving the environment. AII this work is presented to the UN, through events carried out by the NGO.
Moving towards an ethical and sustainable industry
How to achieve a responsible and respectful industry for the marketing of artisan products?
At the beginning of this new century, a new path for the industry has emerged, one that would devote more time to craftsmanship and be able to rescue cultural legacies that will otherwise be left behind.
Sustainable design respects artisans and promotes the cultural traditions of local communities. Ethical fashion promotes the work of local communities ancestral techniques and empowers communities by valuing their traditions and skills whilst generating fair working conditions.
In addition, sustainable design aims for a sustainable economy that generates better living for the producers as well as for the consumers, while respecting the environment.