We had the good fortune of connecting with Thelma Espina and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Thelma, is there something you can share with us that those outside of the industry might not be aware of?
Through my designs, I strive to facilitate and encourage a sense of increased awareness surrounding what we wear, and how it inevitably deeply impacts our society and environment. Over the past few decades, the ecological foot print of the fashion industry has worsened, leading to the exploitation and unfair treatment of workers around the world; from underpaid laborers to overburdened children. The negative effects that the fashion industry has contributed on water pollution and consumption, waste accumulation, and an overwhelming amount of chemical and carbon emissions leading to the generation of greenhouse gases, I find that this has made a detrimental impact on our planet — and that it is one that continues to increase as the demand of the fashion industry grows day by day.
Born and raised in a country like Guatemala, I feel deeply privileged to have gotten the opportunity to interact and communicate with a selection of talented, extraordinary local artisans, who have taught me about their sacred ancestral relationship with textiles. For generations they have honored and kept up a handful of traditional techniques and processes. The use of organic fibers, natural dyes and handwoven fabrics are the pillars that make up the production of their garments — making these artisans the true pioneers of these sustainable practices. This experience has motivated me to produce fashion designs that equally honor these traditional practices, all the while being simultaneously eco-friendly and aesthetically pleasing. This hands consumers the opportunity to make the conscious decision between investing in eco-friendly sustainable garments versus fast fashion.
Moreover, having the opportunity to work hand-in-hand with several indigenous artisans has taught me of the importance of legacies in an ever-united universe, where everything that is alive is connected. This has, consequently, resulted in the birth of various collections that respect and honor our planet.
From this inspiration two lines emerged; the “Thelma Espina” clothing line: one produced with recycled, repurposed, and handwoven organic fabrics, and, secondly, a collaboration with La Roja Brand: a handbag line made from recycled plastic and naturally dyed hand-woven cotton.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Thelma Espina is a Guatemalan-based 100% sustainable couture-to-wear atelier merging Mayan finest handwoven methods, ecological materials and upcycled luxurious fabrics.
I am proud to present the highest sophistication of sustainable fashion and to exhibit one of a kind Guatemalan-inspired designs, unlike mass-produced fast fashion.
Aiming the introduction of traditional textile techniques and the promotion of fair trade handcrafts, I work directly with local artisans to create vibrant unique designs.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My mother has been my mentor and motivator in this creative journey.
Facebook: Thelma Espina