The Return of Awamaki Lab: Peruvian Fashion Comes to the Big City

Awamaki Lab is back. New Yorkers with a passion for (sustainable) fashion can line up this weekend to preview and pre-order the latest collection presented by the eco-design cooperative Awamaki Lab. Thanks to a triumphant inaugural collection that was presented in the city at this time last year, the Lab has been able to expanded its efforts tremendously, and the results of said efforts are as bright as the all natural dyes that bring vibrancy to this season’s capsule collection.

Joining Awamaki to design Lab Season 2 in the sacred Patacancha Valley of Peru were Andria Crescioni and Courtney Cedarholm. These two talented Parsons graduates’ design visions were realized with the help of the skilled sewing and knitting cooperatives created in 2011. Lab was able to launch the sewing co-op and provide vocational training to the women involved thanks to profits generated by last year’s collection, while the knitting co-op was founded to create additional jobs for female artisans in the region who whose homes were devastated by the flooding of the Urubamba Rover in January 2010.

Along with producing some killer knitwear under the direction of Ms. Cedarholm, the small group of Peruvian knitters are able to earn income to support their families. Ms. Crescioni, Ms. Cedarholm, and the team of seamstresses give the women of Ollantaytambo’s handwoven textiles a street chic interpretation that perfectly marries a city girl’s sensibilities with the traditional garb of the Andean region that inspired it. The customary aesthetic maintains while simultaneously feeling accessible for fashionistas who won’t be climbing Machu Picchu anytime soon.

While last season, designed by Nieli Vallin, presented us with the surprising opportunity to incorporate a poncho into our fall wardrobes, Lab Season 2 brings us perfect reinventions of trends like the ubiquitous military or safari jacket. Forget fatigues; think patterned pockets and patches of vibrant color.

For a full viewing of the collection check out the Awamaki Lab Season 2 Presentation and Trunk Show; Presentation Friday, January 27th, 7pm-10pm and Trunk Show January 28th-30th, 11am-6pm. Textile Arts Center, Manhattan, 26 W 8th St. New York, NY 10011.

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