Updated: Jun 22, 2021
Peruvian artisans, designers, and artists collaborate to create contemporary designs inspired by the myths and legends of Peru.
Stories of ancestral heritage told through mythological moments are part of the core ethos of the multidisciplinary design platform Mito Studio. Mito Studio creates collections that are inspired by a particular Peruvian myth or legend. The platform, directed by Yurac Fiedler and Justo Bejar, and promoted by the Sustainable Fashion Association of Peru (AMSP), seeks to promote the Peruvian identity internationally, giving visibility to a new generation of designers, who use ancestral textile knowledge and techniques. The true beauty of Mito is that each designer is guided by the same ideals: that of preserving the environment and investing in the people of Peru the ecosystems of each unique region and territory.
We caught up with Yurac Fiedler Co-Founder of Mito Studio in New York City during the recent Pop-Up event at Selina Hotel in collaboration with Global Fashion Exchange.
1. Where does the concept of Mito come from?
Mito is a multidisciplinary design platform supported by the Sustainable Fashion Association of Peru (AMSP). It showcases the collaboration between artists, artisans, designers, and brands. It is a timeless concept with a sustainable focus that promotes Peruvian culture through contemporary design based on popular myths that showcase relevant social and environmental concerns.
2. There is a huge emphasis on cultural preservation why is that important? Especially with the communities, you bring together with Mito?
Peru has more than 5,000 years of textile history. Being so rich in culture, traditions, techniques, and materials invites us to value them to preserve them for future generations. We all share the role of being culture keepers.
3. How does the fast fashion industry negatively impact the artisan communities you work with?
There's a big question in fashion, where is the limit between cultural appropriation and co-creation? Fast fashion promotes massive fast consumption without giving the full spectrum of information of each garment, accessory, or piece. Mito Studio encourages co-creation and honest conversations with all the different actors of the fashion scene. We are a platform designed to create from a safe environment free of judgment and with full knowledge. In a near future, we hope to invite international designers and artists to co-create with our beloved communities.
4. It’s important to understand what investing in communities can do, how do you do that through fashion, and what do the positive steps forward come from it?
Responsible and conscientious design plays an important role in fashion working in collaboration with communities, through the fashion industry we can help to improve their living conditions, especially with female artisans, because their work supports the whole family. Also, artisan design pieces serve as a vehicle to recognize, validate and appreciate with identity the artisan work in a globalized world. Finally, fashion in collaboration with communities helps create objects capable of capturing a moment in history. The present is combined with ancient knowledge through colors, materials, textures, and ancestral techniques.
In Peru, we have many success stories especially of high Andean weaving teachers such as the Asoc Mapani Jarapampa in Pitumarca Cusco who with their self-management help 12 families in their community and whose works travel the world as representatives of the Quechua culture.
5. Peru plays a very important role in the world of fashion, the Mito project works to bridge the gap between craft, culture, and contemporary. Why are these three aspects so important for the future of fashion?
Equilibrium and transparency. Keywords for all of us as a society to move forward in time. We cannot expect a future to build the way we have been existing. We seek the balance between our ancestral traditions and culture with contemporary artists and designer's interventions to keep them relevant and updated to the needs of these times. Learning from our past, valuing our culture, designing our future. 6. Each detail of the Mito Collection has meaning, do you work with each artisan to refine design and aesthetic while maintaining the beauty of the history that is woven into each item?
Co-creating is a magical process where you learn as much as you teach. Every designer, artist, and artisan lives this experience as an opportunity to grow, not only in the creative space but as humans.
The process involves weekly calls and workshops, where we as part of the Mito team of mentors help to manage the steps for the development of each capsule collection. 7. You’ve mentioned that Mito is a new kind of luxury, can you explain what that means? We consider that luxury today starts from the intention, from the personalized creation using the best fibers and raw materials, passing through the hands of our allies, the artisans, to create the best product. This process adds value and energy to an already unique and unrepeatable piece.
8. What do you want people to know about the history of Peru and the people?
MITO- STUDIO is interested in showing sustainably the diversity and multiculturalism that is Peru, this complex mixture full of contrast in combination with the high-quality materials that we have in the country makes Peru the ideal setting for creating identity in America. 9. What do you think the fashion industry needs more of? Less of?
The fashion industry needs to look critically and constructively at the consumer mechanism constantly being created in the market to educate and help reduce the waste generated in this process. Using more sustainable materials and respecting the liberties of those involved in the production chain. 10. How do politics play into fashion from Peru? Knowing that the elections coming up could negatively impact exports from the country, what happens to the people who power the textile industry there?
Now the country is in a complicated situation in all areas of society, the discontent of the most remote areas of the country showed that they need to be visible more empathetically. As promoters, we are committed to continuing to support the social cause and it is in our hands to be able to show the quality and versatility of the craftsmanship in Perú because many families depend on this industry. In this way, MITO aims to show this variety and quality of Peruvian artisan design to global markets that are aligned with a more sustainable society and thus generate new fair trade alliances with the world.
11. Can sustainable fashion be chic and glamorous or is that against the message for positive people and the planet?
We consider that we must seek balance in everything and of course we can be chic and glamorous being socially and environmentally responsible.
There is a huge emphasis on cultural preservation why is that important? Especially with the communities, you bring together
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