Revitalizing Quechua culture. Empowering Quechua women.
Mosqoy Peruvian Textiles is a community-based textile revitalization initiative that supports Indigenous Quechua weaving cooperatives in the Cusco region of Peru.
With the pull of consumerist desires for the cheapest textile, Quechua weavers today find themselves at a desperate crossroads: maintaining age-old weaving practices embedded with generations of knowledge appears to equate with a life lived in poverty, while achieving any hope of prospering economically calls for replacing weaving traditions with synthetic materials and homogenized, mass-produced designs.
Witnessing this urgent dilemma, Mosqoy aims to ensure the best of both worlds.
Mosqoy Peruvian Textiles provides outlets for textiles to be sold at prices that are fair and reflective of the true labour, time, skills, and knowledge they entail. This serves to:
Channel 100% of the profits back into Quechua communities
Revitalize this invaluable textile tradition that spans millennia
Connect women's often unacknowledged labour with a fair income source, fostering financial independence in their families, greater provision for their children, and a central, respected place in the rural economy
Sustain a foundation for women voices, which sing themselves through the medium of the textile
Renew cultural pride and enhance the perceived worth of textiles in both Quechua and non-Quechua communities
Maintain the transmission of woven cultural symbols, which encode Quechua history, cosmology, identity, beliefs, and values, from generation to generation
About the textiles:
Products offered by Mosqoy Peruvian Textiles are fairly traded with Indigenous weavers from the Cusco region of Peru. These textiles are made using traditional Indigenous Quechua weaving techniques, which have been practiced for centuries in the Andean mountains. Textiles are all hand-woven on backstrap looms using only locally-sourced alpaca, baby alpaca, and sheep wool dyed with natural plant pigments.
Quechua textiles are woven with beautiful patterns and symbols. Each weaving community works with a variety of symbols that represent vitally important aspects of everyday existence in the Andean mountains. Symbols relate to livelihood, tradition, knowledge, and well-being.
Traditional knowledge is required to carry out the steps of the weaving process, including shearing livestock, dyeing the fibre using natural plants, building the warp of the backstrap loom, and weaving the textile. This knowledge is grounded in Quechua tradition, language, environmental knowledge, and the geography of the Peruvian Andes. The loss of these rich weaving traditions due to pressures of globalization and the desire for inexpensive tourist commodities would result in the loss of this deep cultural knowledge.
To learn more about the Quechua textile tradition, check out our products.
Our relationship with the weaving communities:
We work with weaving cooperatives in some of the most remote communities in the Sacred Valley and Mapacho River Valley regions. We currently work with the communities of Amaru, Huaran, Parobamba, Cancha Cancha, and Pitukiska.
With acute awareness of the tendency of charitable and aid organizations to further feed dependency cycles, Mosqoy takes careful steps to stimulate self-sustaining cycles of autonomy:
Mosqoy only partners with established autonomous weaving cooperatives, thereby building on the pre-existing capacity of these associations to sustain themselves.
Beyond purchasing textiles at sustainable prices that fairly compensate weavers for their efforts, Mosqoy's Q’ente Textile Program also helps weavers to learn business and financial skills, thus giving them the capacity to set up their own market outlets and work independently with other retailers without Mosqoy’s support in the future.
We provide networking opportunities for weavers from different communities to come together at our annual reunions to exchange knowledge and ideas about weaving processes, exhibit their products, and participate in multi-community capacity-building workshops.
We hold monthly textile meetings to consistently check in with weavers and purchase their products. These meetings are held in weavers’ communities in their language (as opposed to asking community representatives to hike long distances to meet us). Because representatives who have the means to travel out of communities are often men and/or those with Spanish language capacity and economic means, this ensures that we can connect directly with women weavers. To witness our journey to one of our partnering weaving communities, Parobamba, watch this video!
Many of the weavers with whom we work only speak Quechua. Therefore, we always bring Spanish-Quechua translators to community meetings. This serves to venerate the Quechua language with the esteem it warrants and allows Quechua women to participate equally in discussions without their voices being compromised.
The profit model:
Mosqoy Peruvian Textiles works under a community-based framework and is informed by the voiced needs of Quechua communities. The profit model of this social enterprise has been designed accordingly:
In addition to paying weavers a fair-trade price for their work, all textile purchases include a donation to each weaving association’s Community Development Fund, which acts as a communal bank account to save for community-based socioeconomic development projects of their choosing.
The profit from the textile sales returns to Mosqoy, to invest in its operations and charitable program, the Mosqoy Youth Program, which provides post-secondary educational scholarships for promising youth from these and other communities in the Cusco region.
We buy textiles directly from the weavers; our weavers therefore always receive payment in full,
and the supply chain is reduced from producer to consumer.
100% of textile profits return to Quechua communities and a charitable youth scholarship program
Annual Weaving Encuentro:
Every spring, Mosqoy holds a weaving encuentro, or “meeting of weavers.” This is a fun, one-day event which allows members from each of our partnering weaving associations to gather together, share experiences, and learn from one another. The event is held at our field base in Casita Huaran. Activities include inter-community mingling, presentations from each of the weaving associations, a capacity-building workshop, and plenty of food!