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Our Story

The roots of Pachacuti lie high in the Andes. Our fashion stems from the creativity, skills,
traditions and heritage of our artisans whose textile heritage stretches back 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, and a world turned upside-down.

Founder Carry Somers, chose Pachacuti as our name because it describes our endeavour to be a force of positive change to help reverse the inequalities of the global fashion industry. She believed that business could be done differently and began an exchange based on respect for the artisans, respect for their cultural knowledge, skills and designs, and respect for the raw materials and the environment in which the fibres grow.

Sustainability and Fair
Trade business practises
have been at our core
from the outset.

After a research trip to Ecuador in 1990 for her MA in Native American studies, Carry was so shocked at the exploitation of the artisans at the hands of the intermediaries that she returned to work with two co-operatives who had both experienced arson attacks. Within months, the positive impact on the producers was clear and their children started going to school for the first time; she gave up her planned PhD and Pachacuti was born. Carry believes she was probably the first person to put the words fair trade and fashion together.

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.

A TRACEABLE NARRATIVE

Pachacuti became a trailblazer in an industry built upon secrecy and exploitation. Since
the Rana Plaza collapse in Bangladesh and the climate emergency, major brands have
started to take transparency and sustainability more seriously, but progress is slow,
commitments are vague and responsibility does not extend far enough into the supply chain
to the people who weave the fabric, tan the leather, or grow and spin the fibres.

Transparency is the first step towards a new culture – a culture of openness
and accountability, a culture of responsibility and trust.
Pachacuti was a pioneer of radical transparency in the fashion supply chain.

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

Our commitment to
improving standards led to
our participation in three
important international
pilot projects:

1.
We worked on the pilot project of the Sustainable Fair Trade Management System and became the first company in the world to be Fair Trade Certified for our entire supply chain in 2009.

2.
We worked for three years as a pilot on the EU Geo Fair Trade project which traced our Panama hats using GPS mapping from the straw growing in the coastal cloudforest through to the houses of the Panama hat weavers. We collected 60 social, environmental and economic indicators on an annual basis to measure the impact of our business practices on our producers, their family and community and on the environment. We measured the water and energy use of our products.

3.
We were the first brand certified under the WFTO Fair Trade Guarantee System.

(Only 37% of our producers have completed primary education, so we had to come up with entirely new, visual ways of assessing our impact on poverty alleviation. The tools we developed have since been used by organisations around the world. )

DOING THINGS DIFFERENTLY
IS PART OF OUR DNA.

We exist to change fashion.

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

Doing things differently requires the creation of a new, sustainable, equitable system which
does not fuel climate change or feed on exploitation and human rights abuses.

 

DOING THINGS DIFFERENTLY MEANS
PACHACUTI

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.