Founded in 2015 in Guatemala City, Anita Lara is a slow fashion, ethnic design house. The Anita Lara luxury fashion brand was born out of the passion and admiration its namesake designer has for Maya culture and heritage, specifically the rich, handmade textiles that Maya women have worn for generations as a symbol of pride and belonging.
Anita Lara is an ethical fashion brand known for weaving together Maya heritage with modern ready-to-wear and tailored designs.
At Anita Lara, the world is full of color, patterns, symbols, and stories. Each textile is a work of art, woven and dyed by hand in a process that requires hundreds of hours of dedicated labor. From Guatemala to the world, all of Anita Lara designs are unique in essence, each narrating a different story through the colors, symbols, and patterns each artisan incorporated into the textile.
Behind each handmade piece is a team of craftspeople whose work reifies a sense of luxury and tradition. Women who wear Anita Lara are born leaders who are passionate about social and environmental causes. They don’t shy away from making a statement and they feel comfortable wearing eye-catching and bold fashion designs.
Maya textiles are known for their bold colors and patterns. Traditionally, Maya women wore Corte (a long woven skirt wrapped around them), held in place by a sash, and huipiles (tunic-like loose blouses).
They used belts, shawls, scarves, and embroidery to add more color and texture to their clothing. During special occasions, women typically wore elaborate headdresses and their finest jewelry.
Huipiles are polychromatic works of art that are incredibly diverse and complex. They are woven, dyed, and embroidered by hand and they can take months to complete. The colors, techniques, patterns, and symbols used vary depending on region, creativity, and personal taste.
The design is quite simple, a rectangular shaped piece of woven fabric with a hole cut in the center for the head. The sides were traditionally left open, however it’s common today to find huipiles with the sides sewn together.
Corte is the traditional Maya women’s skirt and it was traditionally hand-woven on a treadle loom by men. They are tube-shaped, which allows women to wrap the skirt around them and tuck it in firmly, and mid-calf to floor length.
Cortes are held in place with a sash or belt. As with huipiles, the color, shape, and pattern of the corte vary by region and personal taste.
Elaborate headdresses and jewelry were an important part of Maya attire. Headdresses were used mostly by Maya nobility and they were typically embellished with feathers, with the occasional precious stone.
Maya women also wore jewelry made from bronze, silver, gold, jade, and other precious stones. Women wore earrings, lip rings, necklaces, bracelets, pins, brooches, and more.
A TRIBUTE TO MAYA ARTISANSHIP
Weaving is at the heart of Maya culture and religion, and it has also played a key role in the development of Maya homes and families. Weaving is taught from generation to generation and it’s considered a sacred art -- Ixchel, the Maya Goddess of the Moon, Water, Weaving, and Childbirth is believed to have taught the first women how to weave.
Maya weavers are considered artisans as they have mastered the craft of weaving by hand using the traditional waist loom. Maya textiles are made from organic cotton, woven by hand, and dyed using natural dyes from plant, animal (insects), and mineral sources
It’s a slow, careful, and poetic process, done entirely by hand that results in colorful and meaningful works of art.
Anita Lara designs are a tribute to Maya artisanship. The luxury fashion brand uses only authentic, handmade Maya textiles and it works alongside Maya weavers to ensure that each textile is used correctly and respectfully. Anita Lara fashion items are all made by hand, from start to finish. Our designer carefully selects and handles each textile, while our team of sewers, tailors, and pattern designers bring to life each design by heedfully preserving and immortalizing the ancestral techniques used in the weaving, dying, and embroidering process.
Each fashion item takes hundreds of hours to complete, but through this artistic process Anita Lara is able to create pieces of clothing that narrate a unique story while allowing Maya weaving and artisanship to transcend through time and space.
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