We love sharing meaningful, insightful and inspiring style stories with you. We love stories like these. Like Alexandra and Marian. Two Colombian sisters who work with a socially responsible ethic to bring Maleiwa Aikat to the fashion scene. A fashion conscious brand that has been promoting the work of different Colombian tribes since 2009. For the sole purpose of their cultural survival. 2010 was a breakthrough year for the sister’s when a-listers including Alessandra Ambrosio, Uma Thurman, Shakira, Katy Perry among others were photographed carrying their beautiful bags. Maleiwa Aikat bags are handcrafted works of art and each possess a unique spiritual essence that cannot be replicated. We asked Alexandra and Marian a few questions like…What it’s like working together as sisters, their fashion philosophy, Colombian beauty rituals and more. Check out the full interview with MA below. Their bags are lovingly sold all over the world; to discover more about their brand or to purchase one of their beautiful mochilas follow Maleiwa Aikat on Instagram @Maleiwa.Aikat –SoS
SoS: What Does Maleiwa Aikat Mean?
MA: Maleiwa Aikat means the union of the two sisters (Marian and Alexandra) for one dream: to promote Colombian tribes`s work for the sake of their cultural survival.
SoS: Tell Us A Little Bit About The Sisters Behind The Brand?
MA: Alexandra is an architect with a strong passion for fashion and design and Marian is an engineer who believes that social responsibility is the most important and powerful ingredient to transform relations seeking business success. When we first started our project, our aim was to bring out of Colombia genuine works of art made by our aboriginal communities in order to get people to know our culture and more important, make it last. By buying their products, we participate to strengthen their ethnic identity and give them the opportunity to empower their ancestral creations at an international level. We mainly compromise with three native groups in Colombia: The Wayuu, The Arhuacos and The Embera Chami Puro. We are proud to sell genuine products without names or labels, only tags informing the client about all the history and the background behind each piece and more important, the people who produce them. For the reasons mentioned above, we have been against labeling our products to this day.
SoS: Describe Your Ctomer?
MA: Our customer wants something unique with a spiritual essence.
MA: Our Wayúu handmade bags.
SoS: How Long Does Each Bag Take To Complete?
MA: Some require three months to complete, others only one month, depending on the complexity of each piece.
SoS: Favorite Color Combination Or Design?
MA: Our favorite color combination is Vivo: bright colors that reflect the sun and the beach. We are from the Colombian north coast!
SoS: Fashion Philosophy?
MA: Ancestral creativity in a piece of art.
SoS: How Does Maleiwa Aikat Give Back?
MA: Maleiwa Aikat works with groups of women encouraging them to keep tradition alive as a way of life, promoting fair trade and helping them with the supplies. We truly believe that diffusing their products, fruit of their labor, is the best way to help them recover their autonomy and consequently, reaffirm their indigeneity.
SoS: Most Beautiful Aspect About Living And Working In Colombia?
MA: Diversity and the possibility of helping in every corner.
SoS: What Is It Like Working Together As Sisters?
MA: It`s great because we know each other, we know our strengths and weaknesses.
SoS: Any Colombian Beauty Secrets? A Product Or Routine You Cannot Live Without?
MA: We only use 100% natural beauty products, we are addicted to coconut and roses, two powerful ingredients, nothing like cleaning your skin with a roses soap and moisturized with first cold pressed coconut oil.
SoS: Best Piece Of Advice You Have Ever Been Given? Who Gave It To You?
MA: “Work like you don’t need the money” – our DAD! It means enjoy what you are doing.
SoS: Go-To Item In Your Wardrobe?
MA: Mochilas! Each of have dozens of them, we even have this contest to find the most beautiful one.
SoS: Favorite Place You Have Ever Traveled? Where To Next?
MA: Marian: Amazonas. Machu Pichu. Alexandra: Tayrona Park. Caño Cristales.
SoS: Anything Else You Would Like Our Readers To Know…?
MA: To discover our products, Follow on Instagram : @maleiwa.aikat
Wayúu – Our Wayúu Mochilas are crocheted by Wayúu women from La Guajira, in northern Colombia, they believe that the knowledge to weave is a symbol of creativity, intelligence and wisdom. Every day, Wayúu women encourage the youth to follow in the traditional way of their culture, preserving this Wayúu ancestral creativity in the fabric of their mochilas, bracelets and dresses, which they create using pure cotton yarn and a crochet technique. The bags are made in three distinct color schemes. Vivo : bright colors that reflect the sun and the beach. Tierra : colors that reflect the earthy colors of their native land. Pastel : similar to the hues of a rainbow. Each bag is different and patterns are never repeated.
New Collection – The New Collection has been developed by a small association of women living in a small town located near Barranquilla, one of Colombia’s most important cities. These women from Aboriginal communities are dedicated to promoting their ancestral culture by offering, among other things, authentic mochilas, shoulder bags, which they weave by hand in the traditional way passed down through generations. Mixtures of earthy colors and vivid symbols highlight their attachment to the traditions of their ancestors. The distinctiveness of these bags is the fact that each of them can be reproduced.