The Wayuu people of Colombia are known as the people of the sun, sand and wind. According to the legend, the Spider Wale'keru taught the Wayuu women of Colombia their trade.
For generations, the weaving technique has been passed on and developed through matrilineal lines. The women are the centre of the family and the cultural leaders of the community, one that has not been erased by Spanish or Dutch colonisation.
La Guajira, on the northern peninsula of La Guajira is surrounded by the blue Carribean sea. It is the ancestral home of the Wayuu indigenous people. The Kanaas, or patterns, woven into their work, including in the Mochila bags from which SolAzul bags have evolved, represents the physical world and Cosmos for the Wayuu people. Their culture is based on legends, myths, stories, traditions and customs.
A sustainable project fusing fashion and culture is serendipitously woven when Rossana Redondo, normally residing in Italy is visiting her homeland and family in the Guajira area. When COVID 19 hits the world she is forced to stay remain there for months. This unforeseeable event finally gives her the time to develop her dream project of designing accessories with the Wayuu women and assisting them out of poverty and dangerous conditions, which their government has failed to do.
The Wayuu's economy is largely based on Mochila bags, goat herding and fishing. Rossana ensures that the women are paid decent market rates for their incomparable work. She imparts her 20 years of experience and connections working in the fashion industry in Italy with the skills and wishes of the Wayuu women to help take them out of poverty.
Fora Studios x SolAzul Handmade
Through Fora Studios, Australians now have access to sustainable Mochila designs of the Wayuu women and SolAzul which celebrate the culture and vibrancy of this land, its icons, and its people.
Each SolAzul bag sold in Australia is a one-off piece. Prices vary based on the amount of work that goes into the bag, the pattern intricateness, and the fineness of the thread giving rise to the amount of time it takes to create a bag. It can take over a month to make just one bag.
The cherishable Icontec bags are allowed to be made by just a select group of Wayuu women who have the skills and certification to do so. This is in order to protect their craft and the tradition.