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Our Story

A pioneer in Fair Trade fashion, Carry Somers established Pachacuti in 1992 after becoming inspired through reading the autobiography of Anita Roddick. Carry decided that if one woman could have such a positive impact on the beauty industry with no experience in the field, there was nothing to stop her from trying to do the same within the fashion industry.

After completing an MA in Native American Studies, she returned to Ecuador to work with two cooperatives she had met on a research trip who were both victims of arson attacks. She provided them with the financial means to buy in bulk and, with no background in fashion, designed a knitwear collection which sold out in six weeks.

The impact of this approach became immediately apparent and Carry decided that she would forgo a planned PhD and focus on creating sustainable, rural livelihoods for producer groups in the Andes Mountains of South America. However, Carry’s journey to business success was not an easy one: in the first year of business she experienced the theft of all of her profits and a substantial business loan by an armed robber in Ecuador, followed by death threats. She ended up living in a van for a year to repay the money she owed.

Passionate about encouraging and preserving traditional textile skills, Carry’s designs have always drawn on the rich cultural heritage of Latin America. Her hats have been shown at London, Paris and Milan Fashion Week and sold in some of the world’s foremost luxury stores, such as Isetan and Liberty.

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.

Carry now works full time at Fashion Revolution and Pachacuti is run by her husband Mark. Formerly a sculptor for special events at The White House in Washington, DC, he now puts his artistic skills to work in creating bespoke hats and fascinators for our clients and he is passionate about the beautiful quality hats produced by Pachacuti’s extraordinarily talented producers.