On the slopes of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta in Colombia, four indigenous groups have lived in simplicity according to their nature-rich spiritual traditions, untouched by the rest of the world. They call their sacred mountain Umunukunu, and entertain no interest in meeting you or me there, as they have loved their life as they've known it: a pure and harmonious whole. Except, that is, for the Kankuama. 15,000 remaining individuals who, by inhabiting the lower reaches of the mountain, have come to know tourist's cameras and western developers and the concept of money. Their diminished cultural and spiritual identity leaves them poorer in every way, and in need of work in this new world where they find themselves.
Yasmin Sobet studied architecture and was diving deep into furniture design when she began to play with her native Colombian textiles, making accessories for fun. She held a trunk show on a lark, blew her friends away with fresh designs, and started soon thereafter, out of demand, the celebrated brand, Mola Sasa. Now, Yasmin reaches out to women artisans throughout Colombia to learn their valuable traditions and make of them a product that the US market loves.
In a new endeavor this year, Yasmin went to these Kankuama women to create a line of bags and earrings from maguey - a kind of agave plant which they can sustainably harvest. Boiling them in natural dyes from flower and seed extracts, women dry the fiber in the sun before it is wrapped over wooden hoops. Separately, cana flèche fibers from a Zenu group are woven to hold the hoops . . . the result is so light and chic, I cannot stop putting mine on every time I leave the house.
Harvesting the Maguey plant for earrings; Yasmin Sobet, Founder, Mola Sasa
As though that were not enough, Yasmin went to the Chimichagua women in the different region of Colombia to weave bags out of their native Estera palm leaves; again with handles by the Zenu women. Voila, an all-natural beauty is born. Just like Yasmin herself.
In a recent interview, when asked what makes a Mola Sasa woman, Yasmin was immediate and clear in her reply. The Mola Sosa woman is feminine, empowered, independent, conscious and bold. Wait. For a minute there, I thought she was talking about the Ibu woman!
It is one and the same when we dig into these endeavors sharing a common goal. Just wait until you see what we've cooked up with Yasmin for this fall. Ibu x Mola Sasa. Did you say empowered, feminine, and bold? Look OUT.
All the Best,
Susan Hull Walker