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Saving the Peruvian Amazon with Designer Griela Perez (Spanish + English Interview)

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GRIELA PEREZ (One of twelve featured Peruvian designers in last year's Runway to Save the Rainforest).

GRIELA PEREZ (One of twelve featured Peruvian designers in last year's Runway to Save the Rainforest).

GRIELA AND THE BORDADORES

GRIELA AND THE BORDADORES

Griela Perez is a Peruvian fashion designer and owner of Las Polleras de Agus, one may ask what a pollera is. Well, a pollera is a one-piece skirt used mostly in traditional festivities and folklore throughout Spanish-speaking Latin America. 

Polleras are made from materials, such as cotton or wool and tend to have colorful decorations.  For the most part, the decorations are embroidered, flowers and regional animals are among the most common designs found in polleras.

During the Spanish colonization between 16th and 17th centuries, hacienda owners or hacendados enforced the indigenous population in the Andes to wear them.  Traditional polleras come from peasant dress from southern Spanish regions, like Andalusia.  Today, polleras are associated with indigenous and folkloric forms of dress.

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Las Polleras de Agus is a mix of respect, passion and admiration for our cultural identity. We seek to reclaim our traditional garments which are being lost over time.  By incorporating them into contemporary fashion, we create a versatile line.

Produced through traditional weaving, embroidery, and stitching techniques, our pieces transport you to indigenous Andean Peru.  They are created by folk art weavers for people who long to reencounter the past and value one of man's great masterpieces - Pre-Columbian Civilization.” 

FAMILY FROM THE PERUVIAN ANDES

FAMILY FROM THE PERUVIAN ANDES

INTERVIEW WITH GRIELA PEREZ FFC BLOGGER CAYETANA SAN SEGUNDO 
(SPANISH AND ENGLISH) 

Q. 
What are you doing now?

A. Trying to rescue an ancient art that is called the maquinasca, which is a Quechua word that means painting with threads (the art of embroidery). It is a sustainable fashion. 

Spanish: Tratando de rescatar un arte milenario que se llama la maquinasca palabra Quechua que significa pintar con hilos (el arte del bordado). Es una moda sostenible.

Q. Where do you live? 

A. I live in Cusco Peru.

Spanish: Vivo en e Cusco Perú.

Q. What first inspired your jungle themed line? Can people still buy it and if so Where can people buy it if they wanted to? What about the jungle inspires you? 

GRIELA PEREZ DESIGNS "Las Polleras de Agus"

GRIELA PEREZ DESIGNS "Las Polleras de Agus"

A. What inspired me was the history behind this art because at the beginning it was only the use of the clothes because they looked nice.  This was something that came to me because I wanted to put it on my daughter.  Then I started to know through the embroiderers that this art and others are being lost.  Obviously, that's when I fully commit myself to learning what lies behind this art.

Spanish: Lo que me inspiró es todo lo que hay detrás de este arte porque al inicio fué solamente el uso de las prendas porque se veían bonitas.  Esto era algo mío porque quería ponérselo a mi hija.  Después empecé a conocer por medio de los bordadores que se está perdiendo este arte y demás.  Obviamente, ahí es cuando me comprometo totalmente a aprender lo que hay atrás de este art.

Q. Do you still have that line on sale or are you designing something new? 

A. What we are doing is innovating because you know that when something is very repetitive it becomes massive and ours is super exclusive and we always try to create other things.

Spanish: Lo que estamos haciendo es innovar porque tú sabes que cuando algo es muy repetitivo viene a ser masivo y lo nuestro es super exclusivo y tratamos siempre de crear otras cosas.

Q. What is that thing that inspires from the jungle?

A. I love everything organic, everything that has movement and obviously the jungle is life and that's what inspires me. 

Spanish: A mí me encanta todo lo orgánico, todo lo que tiene movimiento y obviamente la selva es vida y es en eso en lo que me inspiro.

Q. Why is conservation important to your brand? 

A. It is very important because 1. We advocate to rescue a thousand-years old art that is being lost and 2. (Because we conserve) We make sustainable workshops that give work to the community.  We make their own community to develop.  Everywhere there is the theme of conservation and how to preserve this ancient art.  That way, we can help the embroiderers who live in the there because they are the ones who embroider our garments.  What we want is for them to grow and not have to go to the cities but to increase their own communities and contribute to sustainability.

Spanish: Es muy importante porque 1. nosotros nos advocamos en rescatar un arte milenario que se está perdiendo y 2. (porque conservar) hacemos talleres sostenibles que dan trabajo a la comunidad.  Hacemos que se desarrolle su propia comunidad.  Por todos lados hay el tema de la conservación y como conservar este arte milenario.  De esa manera, podemos ayudar a los bordadores que viven allí porque ellos son los que bordan nuestras prendas.  Lo que queremos es que crezcan y no tengan que salir a las ciudades sino que hagan crecer sus propias comunidades y contribuir a la sostenibilidad. 

Q. How is nature important to you personally from childhood, personal stories or memories you want to share here? 

A. Nature is important to me because we came from i. If we do not care, what future awaits us?

Spanish: La naturaleza es importante para mí porque de allí venimos.  Si nosotros no la cuidamos que futuro nos espera. 

Q. Do you have any anecdote from when you were a child or personal that you would like to share? 

A. I grew up in the Andes.  I am from Cusco by birth and it is definitely such a different life that nature gives you.  We are so far from all that is technology and modernity that it makes more human.  

I have the blessing to continue living here in a place where still five minutes away you find nature.  I love that my 3 year old daughter enjoys nature.  She has been my muse because this brand came out thanks to her when I put the first garment on he. 

Spanish: Yo crecí en los Andes.  Yo soy cusqueña de nacimiento y definitivamente es una vida tan distinta la que te brinda la naturaleza, tan alejada de todo lo que es tecnología y modernidad lo que te hace más humano.  

Tengo la bendición de seguir viviendo aquí en un lugar donde todavía a cinco minutos encuentras naturaleza.  Me encanta que mi hija de 3 años disfrutar tanto de la naturaleza.  Ella ha sido mi musa porque esta marca empezó gracias a ella cuando le puse la primera prenda. 

Q. What are you most excited about with your brand this coming season? 

A. We have gone little by little but the goal that we have always had since this project was created is to create an association so that the people who are really the participants and those who make your clothes can acquire many benefits like health, access to technology, etc..  Obviously, in these places you need to implement technology to be able to give them a tablet or computer so they can see the designs they are going to embroider.  For me, that has been a great achievement because we are already creating the association and this is one of the goals that the brand has.

In Peru a wave has been awakened that I think I have had a lot to do with because now it is a trend to wear polleras.  We have changed that western influence of using things that comes from outside (from abroad) and use what is ours.

Spanish: Hemos ido poco a poco pero la meta que hemos tenido siempre desde que se creo este proyecto es crear una asociación para que la gente que son realmente los partícipes y los que hacen tu ropa puedan adquirir muchos beneficios como salud, acceso a la tecnología, etc.  Obviamente, en estos lugares se necesita implantar la tecnología para poderles darle un tablet ó computadora para que puedan ver dan los diseños que van a bordar.  Para mí eso ha sido un gran logro porque ya estamos creando la asociación y esto es uno de las metas que tiene la marca. 

En Perú se ha despertado una ola que creo que yo he tenido mucho que ver porque ahora es tendencia el uso de las polleras.  Nosotros hemos cambiado esa influencia occidental de usar cosas que viene de afuera (del extranjero) y usar lo nuestro.

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Q. What was your favourite moment about being a part of runway to Peru last year? 

A. The moment I entered the backstage and saw that there were other super interesting brands from Peru and see me there around people so important, because we just started, was the most beautiful experience to me.  Seeing what happens in the backstage is beautiful.  I remember when I came in and was a little scared, I said to myself "I can do this". 

This project is very exciting and I see it in the followers of Instagram and Facebook when we publish something there are lots os hearts. This is becoming a love brand and I think we are on track.

Spanish: El momento que entré al backstage y ví que habían otras marcas super interesantes de Perú y verme ahí alrededor de gente tan importante, porque nosotros recién empezábamos, ha sido la experiencia más linda.  Ver lo que pasa en el entre bastidores es hermoso. Me acuerdo de cuando entré y tenía un poco de miedo, y me díje "yo si puedo". 

Este proyecto es muy apasionante y lo veo en los seguidores de Instagram y Facebook cuando publicamos algo hay muchos corazones.  Esto se está convirtiendo en un love mark y creo que vamos en buen camino.

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Q. If fashion for Conservation were to do any theme in any place in the world what would you want them to do and where? (Something related to conservation of a place or species) 

A. I would love for them to be inspired by the Andes.  Fashion for Conservation has as much to give as the theme of the jungle but we also have the Andes, which are so cold and forgotten but it is so cute and has so much color.  When you travel to these little towns and you see that everything is so dry, cold and there is no vegetation but suddenly a person full of color appears it is as if life comes back to you.  

Spanish: Me encantaría que se inspiren en los Andes.  Fashion for Conservation tiene tanto que dar como el tema de la selva pero también tenemos los Andes que son tan fríos y olvidados pero es tan lindo y tiene tanto color.  Cuando viajas a estos pueblitos y ves que todo es tan seco, frío y no hay vegetación pero de pronto aparece una persona llena de color y es como te vuelve la vida. 

WHATS NEXT?? NOVEMBER 18TH 2017 - FFC GIVES A TEDX LIVE FEBRUARY 2018 PARIS FASHION WEEK - FFC ANNOUNCES  NEWEST CAMPAIGN MARCH 27TH-APRIL 10TH - FFC RETREAT IN THE PERUVIAN AMAZING WITH HOJA NUEVA JUNE 9TH 2018 - SEATTLE RAINFOREST GALA! AUGUST 12TH 2018 -  ELEPHANTASIA FINALE EVENT NEW YORK

WHATS NEXT??

NOVEMBER 18TH 2017 - FFC GIVES A TEDX LIVE
FEBRUARY 2018 PARIS FASHION WEEK - FFC ANNOUNCES  NEWEST CAMPAIGN
MARCH 27TH-APRIL 10TH - FFC RETREAT IN THE PERUVIAN AMAZING WITH HOJA NUEVA
JUNE 9TH 2018 - SEATTLE RAINFOREST GALA!
AUGUST 12TH 2018 -  ELEPHANTASIA FINALE EVENT NEW YORK