Our Story Pachacuti

Our Story

The roots of Pachacuti lie high in the Andes. Our fashion stems from the creativity, skills, traditions and heritage of artisans whose textile heritage spans millennia.

HANDWOVEN SINCE 1992

Our story is one of collaboration, preservation, transformation and reinterpretation.
Our story begins in 1992, 500 years since Columbus arrived in the Americas. A year
when indigenous peoples worked together to reassert their identity, recover their
cultural heritage and restructure their future based on their past.

Weaving is a communication system, a way of holding knowledge, a cultural exchange and
an economic opportunity. It is about relationships and the handing down of knowledge,
between mother and daughter, within the community, with other artisans, with the
fibre itself.

PACHA MEANS BOTH
EARTH AND TIME.

Pachacuti (pa-cha-coo-tee) comes from the Quechua language and means:
The turning around of time, the start of a new era, a world turned upside-down.
Our founder Carry Somers firmly believes that we can do business differently. She chose Pachacuti for our name because it describes our mission as a force for positive change in the global fashion industry and our endeavour to reverse long-standing inequalities. And so Carry began an exchange.
This exchange was different than what had gone before, with a foundation built on respect for the designs and skills of the artisans. In addition, it reflected high regard for their cultural heritage and an appreciation of the raw materials and the wider natural environment where they grow.
Our Story Pachacuti

OUR CORE BELIEF IN SUSTAINABILITY AND FAIR TRADE BUSINESS

During a research trip to Ecuador in 1990 for an MA in Native American studies, Carry was shocked the see the exploitation of artisans by intermediaries. Consequently, she decided to return to Ecuador to work with two co-operatives that had both experienced arson attacks. Soon, in a matter of months, the positive impact of her actions on producers was evident, and their children started going to school for the first time. She gave up her planned PhD and so Pachacuti was born. Carry believes she was the first person to put the words fair trade and fashion together.
Following the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh, Carry was inspired to take action. Along with co-founder Orsola de Castro, they created Fashion Revolution, a global coalition calling for fundamental reform of the fashion supply chain.

Carry was inspired to act after the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh.  Alongside co-founder Orsola de Castro, she created Fashion Revolution, a global coalition calling for systemic reform of the fashion supply chain.
Our Story Pachacuti

A TRACEABLE NARRATIVE

Therefore, Pachacuti became a trailblazer in an industry built upon secrecy and injustice. Following the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh and the climate change emergency, major brands have begun to take transparency and sustainability issues more seriously. But progress is slow. For example, commitments are vague, and responsibility does not  reach down the supply chain to those who weave the fabric, tan the leather, or grow and spin the fibres.

Pachacuti has been a pioneer of radical transparency in the fashion supply chain. We believe that transparency is the first step towards a new culture. A culture of openness and accountability. More importantly, a culture of responsibility and trust.

Our Story Pachacuti
Our Story Pachacuti
GPS locations of Pachacuti’s hat weavers.
(Azuay, Ecuador)
Our Story Pachacuti
GPS locations of Pachacuti’s straw producers.
(Manabi, Ecuador)

Our commitment

1.

We worked on the pilot project of the Sustainable Fair Trade Management System, and in 2009 became the first company in the world to have its entire supply chain fair trade certified.

 

2.

We piloted the EU Geo Fair Trade project. It traced the journey of our Panama hats from the straw grown in the coastal cloud forest to the houses of our hat weavers, using GPS mapping. Annually, we collected 60 social, environmental and economic indicators. Accordingly, we used these to measure the impact of our business practices. Not just on the environment but on our producers, their families and communities. In addition, we measured the amount of water and energy used in making our products.

3.

We are proud to have been the first brand certified under the World Fair Trade Organisation’s (WFTO) Fair Trade Guarantee System.

Only 37% of our producers have completed primary education. So we had to devise new, visual ways to assess our impact on alleviating poverty. The tools we developed have been used by many organisations all over the world.

DOING THINGS DIFFERENTLY
IS PART OF OUR DNA.

We exist to change fashion.

Fashion that works for the powerless, and not just the powerful. Fashion that works for people. Fashion that works for biodiversity, for ecosystems, for forests, for animals, for soil, and for oceans.

Above all, to do things differently requires the creation of a sustainable and fair system. One that does not fuel climate change or feed on the exploitation of others. And one that is not built on the abuse of human rights.

TO DO THINGS DIFFERENTLY MEANS PACHACUTI

The word Pachacuti translates as ‘to remake the world’.

A new mindset.

A new era, interwoven with respect for culture, craftsmanship, human rights and preserving the environment.

A new system.

A new way of working.

And a new beginning.

It translates as ‘to remake the world’.

A new mindset.
A new era interwoven with respect
for culture, craftsmanship and human rights
and the preservation of the environment.
A new system.
A new way of working.
A new beginning.

Our Story Pachacuti