After many months of hard work from our London office, I decided to go back to the root of the brand and spend a few weeks travelling across the beautiful lands of Peru. Every trip to Peru nurtures my creativity and I constantly find new inspiration in the rich history of this country and in the work of the ancient villages of artisan weavers that our brand is supporting. It is in these inspiring and humbling meetings that I feel most happy and fulfilled. I returned to London revitalised with beautiful memories and a renewed creative energy that led to the creation of our most recent Resort collection.
The first stop of my trip was the beautiful city of Lima, where I had the pleasure to be invited by the Peruvian government to attend Peru Moda, one of the most important textile fairs in the country. As a brand we are constantly working on introducing new sustainable practises and the inspiration to work with new materials has been brewing for some time; the fair was the perfect opportunity to meet various artisan companies that supply local sustainable materials. This season we have introduced the use of Alpaca fleece, a truly unique and sustainable fiber from Peru which offers a unique sensibility and an over tactile element to our accessories.
After a few days focused on sourcing new materials and exploring new techniques I finally had the time to dive into the city and immerse myself in the local culture. Lima is the magical union of the present and the past and, with a multiplicity of museums and exhibitions, it is the perfect place to learn more about the ancient Peruvian history and the pre-Colombian era. Peru has an incredible textile history which I was further able to appreciate through a private visit to The Amano Textile museum. The endless collection of examples of the textile mastery achieved by the pre-Colombian Peruvian cultures, together with items demonstrating the different uses to which fibers were put, have been an incredible source of inspiration.
The second stop of my creative trip was the beach of Puemape in the Pacasmayo province, a stunning coastline where the Pacific Ocean meets the desert. Here I met with our Peruvian based Sophie Anderson creative team that works alongside our local communities of artisan weavers, providing ongoing training and support.
We based ourselves in this remote and wild location to design the new collection. We spent 5 days sourcing, weaving swatches of crochet in Alpaca and our other yarns, revising folds of forgotten materials covered in dust found at our various workshops. Our inspired ideas grew into physical swatches further inspired by the simplicity and peaceful beauty of our surroundings. We worked by taking my simple concepts and transforming them into statement pieces with a unique story. We introduced the Mercato bag, a hand loomed, over-sized, unusual market bag that comes from an ancient loom technique tradition, local to this area, which we have reinterpreted with a modern and contemporary twist.
The surfing waves to wake to and fall gently asleep to, and the delicious Peruvian food, including fresh ceviche and other typical costal dishes, made this collection’s creative process exceptionally memorable.
From Puemape we were able to travel out into the desert and highlands of the Pacasmayo province to meet the various communities whom we work with. Visiting the numerous artisan workshops and the women who make Sophie Anderson come to life is always a joy and my favourite part of these trips. Seeing, talking and laughing with these women fuel my energy and love for the positive social impact my brand supports.
We have shared this immersive Peruvian experience with a very exciting US swim brand team, with which we are collaborating to launch a sexy, sustainable swim line based on the ancient net weaving techniques of remote Peruvian fisherman villages… but this will be part of another exciting story that we will reveal soon.
In the meantime we have just dropped a preview of the new Resort Collection, inspired by my time spent in the beautiful lands of Peru. Hope you enjoy it!
I like this trips notes.😘