VOZ Autumn/Winter 2013: Change Through Beauty Arrives

One of the things that I loved most about the VOZ A/W 2013 presentation at the Metropolitan Pavilion during New York Fashion Week was the way that designer, Jasmine Aarons, and her team opted to start off the runway show with an awe-inspiring sequence of images featuring VOZ’s Chilean artisans and their rural design studios.

Goodlifer: VOZ Autumn/Winter 2013: Change Through Beauty Arrives

We have been watching this shift in fashion week strategies for a while now, and as the threads of ethical production and regional storytelling continue to take hold, it seems as if we are collectively working to create even better collaborative design initiatives as we look ahead to what timeless style means for the future.

 Voz Star Shawl (hand-loomed and dyed with mineral clay) accessorized with Mikuti bangles

Voz Star Shawl (hand-loomed and dyed with mineral clay) accessorized with Mikuti bangles

With all of the current discussion about ethical fashion’s influence on innovative textile design, motif exploration, and global styling expressions, it seems fitting that we continue to consider how and why well-executed runway presentations might go to new lengths to create a bolder stage for today’s fashion narratives. Failing to do so not only makes the collections themselves seem a bit flat, but also blatantly overlooks some of the deep traditions and stylistic influences that regions like Chile, Peru, India, Africa, the deep pockets of Asia, etc. have on contemporary designers. VOZ Autumn/Winter 2013 does not just pay homage to Chile’s textile history and artisan communities, but also serves to illustrate why design initiatives that intelligently incorporate the very real economic and cultural concerns of the present are inherently modern with their integration of social impact solutions.

 Che dress (chocolate, 1005 hand-loomed wool and dyed with mineral clays) accessorized with a Mikuti pendant

Che dress (chocolate, 1005 hand-loomed wool and dyed with mineral clays) accessorized with a Mikuti pendant

It was quite moving to experience traditional textile designs translated into luxurious and motif-sensitive separates in this debut runway collection by VOZ. The hand-loomed wool, spun baby alpaca, and raw silks seemed pure and lustrous under the show’s lights, but geometric chevron patterns and alluring details like magical ‘Anumka’ and vine symbols also popped like pure jewels on the models. As a fair-trade company that works closely with Mapuche women artisans, it is quite evident that this new label’s mission of bringing about ‘change through beauty’ is so much more than an artisan-based co-op enterprise or sourcing venture. Professional empowerment takes many shapes and forms, as VOZ clearly demonstrates.

Ivory dress (100% wool, hand-loomed and dyed with hualle moss) paired with Chevron shawl 100% baby alpaca, hand-loomed and dyed with clay

Ivory dress (100% wool, hand-loomed and dyed with hualle moss) paired
with Chevron shawl 100% baby alpaca, hand-loomed and dyed with clay

As Voz describes: “The rare luxury of time is woven into each one of VOZ’ hand-made pieces, celebrating centuries of artistic indigenous traditions. Our lush natural fibers are of unparalleled quality, sourced locally and dyed naturally for minimal environmental impact. Through collaborative workshops modeled after the Stanford d.school, artisans and designers work together to envision, prototype, and finalize designs for VOZ collections. For designs included in VOZ’ collections, artisans receive name credit and earn meaningful royalties for every garment sold.”

Goodlifer: VOZ Autumn/Winter 2013: Change Through Beauty Arrives

Square poncho in 'terracotta', 100% wool, hand-loomed and dyed with hualle moss

Square poncho in ‘terracotta’, 100% wool, hand-loomed and dyed with hualle moss

The fact that the collection’s hues were also created out of regional mineral clays, hualle moss and leaves, and the very earth and sky of rural Chile is indicative that VOZ artisans are not only accustomed to being agriculturally resourceful but also inherently sense that there is resonance in materials and traditions that are good for both body and soul. A/W 2013′ s asymmetrical shawls, ponchos, cowl dresses, and layering tunics are smart statement pieces and also serve as eye-opening examples of why fashion production is being pulled up by the roots and shaken out by the very hands of its makers.

Voz alpaca blend swing coat with 100% wool hand-loomed collar, black draped tank in 100%silk chiffon, and black wool high-waisted trousers with tapered leg

Voz alpaca blend swing coat with 100% wool hand-loomed collar, black draped tank in
100% silk chiffon, and black wool high-waisted trousers with tapered leg

VOZ Autumn/Winter 2013 is not about re-appropriating the secret ingredients of a lost culture but rather of turning the process over to the artisans themselves so that they can identify and preserve what might need to be reworked for the next generation. VOZ is fashion as voice and also serves as a smart example of why change can be beautiful and a statement piece for all.

Inspiration and styling boards for VOZ's Autumn/Winter 2013 presentation. Photo by Abigail Doan

Inspiration and styling boards for VOZ’s Autumn/Winter 2013 presentation. Photo by Abigail Doan

Backstage at VOZ's Autumn/Winter 2013 presentation. Photo by Abigail Doan

Backstage at VOZ’s Autumn/Winter 2013 presentation. Photo by Abigail Doan

Watch the video above to hear Jasmine Aarons talk more about the philosophy behind VOZ.

Photography by Waseem Ghatas; styling by Julie Ragolia;  jewelry by Mikuti; lead photograph of VOZ weaver María Huento’s workshop space while she crafts the Poncho Alerce by Pilar Castro Evensen; backstage photos by Abigail Doan.

About author
An internationally exhibited fiber and environmental installation artist, Abigail’s eco-textile artwork is featured on Greenmuseum, Art Cloth Text, Landviews, the Textile Arts Center blog, and in the handbook, Green Guide for Artists. She has been a regular contributor on sustainable style and textiles for EcoSalon, Ecouterre, HAND/EYE magazine and her own art and fashion blogs, Ecco*Eco and Lost in Fiber. She is also a curator of exhibitions and events related to ideas about “fashioning self and the environment.” Future dreams of melding art, family, and sustainability include the thrifty recycling of textile scraps from her domestic sphere, teaching family recipes to her twin toddlers, and building a house from scratch in the American Southwest with her very resourceful and dashing husband.
Submit your comment

Please enter your name

Your name is required

Please enter a valid email address

An email address is required

Please enter your message

About

What constitutes the good life? It’s a question we’ve asked ourselves since the dawn of time and something we all strive for. To us, the good life is not a destination but a journey. We want to see more positivity in the world. Thinking happy thoughts makes for happy people, and happy people are more productive, innovative and at peace with the world. We believe in the transformative power of good news.

Goodlifer © 2017 All Rights Reserved

Designed by WPSHOWER

Powered by WordPress