The 15th of October is International Crafts Day. As a brand that is closely connected with our Mexican artisans, we want to take this opportunity to share more about their skilled work and traditional Mexican craftsmanship.
Huaraches, traditional Mexican craftsmanship at its finest
Here's a short history lesson about the huarache shoe. The huarache shoes supposedly originate from Mexico, specifically the states Jalisco, Michoacán, and Yucatán. Although it's not 100% clear what the true origins of the huarache sandal are, it's most definitely predating the European colonialization of Mexico. The name huarache comes from the Tarascan word kwarachi from the Purépecha people in Jalisco, and refers to the popular handmade woven shoes. The initial versions of the shoe were mostly worn in rural communities by farmworkers and indigenous groups. In the 20th century, huaraches became very popular with the later versions, that involved rubber soles made out of tires.
The weaving technique of the huaraches is rooted in the Aztec culture and has since been inherited and improved by many generations. Because of this long history, the shoe is deeply embedded in the Mexican culture. The shoes are still made by artisans today and provide breathable and durable designs appropriate for the hot weather. The Mexican artisans behind the intricate huarache craftsmanship dedicate their lives to keeping the century-old tradition alive.
In this video, we show the craftsmanship process of our handwoven huaraches.
The value of traditional craftsmanship
Traditional craftsmanship is deeply rooted in a country or region's history. It's a tangible manifestation of cultural heritage. This heritage defines the national identity, as it reflects and shapes the values and aspirations of its people. In a world dominated by fast fashion, it can be hard for artisans to survive and keep up their business. But if traditional craftsmanship is not preserved, the skill might be lost forever. The history and integrity that has been built for centuries will be lost. By valuing traditional craftsmanship, we encourage artisans to continue to produce their craft and pass on their skills and knowledge to others, particularly within their community.
How we blend tradition with modern design
The first time we produced huaraches with our Mexican artisans, we quickly learned that what works in Mexico, doesn't necessarily work in the rest of the world. We first started selling in Germany and noticed that the German customers had a very different body build and foot shape. The shoes were simply not big enough for their feet! This lesson taught us that we have to blend Mexican tradition with modern design that works for the feet and lifestyles of our customers.
We are constantly inspired by Mexican footwear, such as the huaraches and charro boots, and blend these with modern design. By listening to our customers, we noticed that they have a need for closed shoes that are appropriate for the office and colder weather. By putting our heads together with workshop owners Hector and Sebastian, we came up with our oxford and derby designs, and boot collection. Every year, we are dedicated to collaborate with our artisans and design new unique, modern products that tell the story of the Mexican culture.
Check out this video to see how our boots are made.
Written by Jessica Teeuw