When I walked into a charming corner store, Heritage by Hand, in Santa Fe, I knew already about the remarkable founder, Heidi McKinnon, and her rich experience curating and consulting for museums such as the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian and for the Museum of Freedom and Human Rights in Panama City. I knew that she has worked tirelessly to support cultural heritage and systemic change around issues of women's rights, human rights, and indigenous history throughout Latin America. I knew that she founded a non-profit bringing museums more fully into the field of humanitarian aid; that she cared about people and culture, memory and justice.
What I didn't know is how Heidi had poured all of that experience, relationship, and language fluency into a beautiful shop bringing global artisan wares to consumers. What I didn't know is that I would fall completely for a dress.
Which I bought. And later the top, too, and I wore them every chance I got. Then I asked Heidi to coffee and wondered if she might want to weave her beautiful connections with the artisans in Mexico into a collaboration with Ibu. It was a sweet Yes.
Victoria Martinez Velasco is the creator of my beloved top and dress, Heidi shares. She and the designs are Zapotec from San Juan del Rio, Tlacolula, Oaxaca. There are copies of her work in the market, Heidi explains, but these are originals from Victoria herself. The fabric, called manta, is medium weight, unbleached 100% cotton and a favorite in that region. The pleating creates freedom… and swish. Fabric panels called tela are hand-crocheted together at the sleeve—and woven Mixtec symbols grace the shoulders.
Ibu is honored to introduce this timeless dress and top, a story written by indigenous women in Oaxaca, and made possible by our collaboration with Heritage by Hand. I love being able to touch the thread of women who are spinning, weaving, crocheting, designing, constructing… and together singing their own music in cloth.
All the Best,