We are a family owned and operated company driven by pride in our Guatemalan heritage. A special heritage indeed. We are on a mission to create high-quality, hand-made artisanal shoes using the very best of our Guatemalan regional textiles, while promoting and supporting talented Mayan weavers and their families. We proudly feature our country’s amazing hand-woven textile tradition by making it the star of our colorful Mayaxus sneakers. We work directly with each group of weavers, committed to a mutual fair trade and compensation agreement in which the weavers themselves set their own wages. As per the Mayan tradition, the women who weave our fabrics work in the comfort of their own homes, surrounded by their children and families. We strongly oppose any kind of oppressive sweatshop environment. When you buy our shoes, you help support almost 100 families from six Mayan communities throughout the Guatemalan highlands with a steady job and income.
Guatemala is world-famous for its beautiful textiles. As a fresh and bold new look, we transformed the traditional and distinctive güipil [/wiˈpil/] or regional Mayan blouse to fit our stylish shoes. Each of our featured models is made from a specific regional textile. The textiles we use are especially hand-woven for our Mayaxus sneakers in six regions of the Guatemalan highlands.
The fabric is carefully hand-woven and embroidered in narrow strips using a back-strap or foot-treadle looms and colorful shades of a variety of bright colored cotton yarn. The intricately decorated pieces of fabric are later joined together with heavy embroidery stitches to make the distinctive güipil. Although all güipil are created in the same local tradition, each weaver subtly incorporates her own patterns of bright colors in zig-zagging geometric shapes, animals, and flowers, depending on individual style and taste. This makes each piece of woven fabric unique and special.
We strongly support the traditional hand-weaving processes that have characterized the Guatemalan textile heritage. We have opted not to use any fabric woven by powered looms or manufactured using industrial machines, as these methods threaten the hand-made weaving tradition and the well-being and income of entire rural communities in Guatemala.
In the Mayan tradition, there are two different methods of weaving: the simple traditional back-strap loom and the foot-treadle loom. Both looms are hand-operated and enable the waver to weave intricate patterns in the fabric.
The back-strap loom has ancient roots in the Mayan tradition. It comprises of a simple system of bars and tensed straps attached around the weaver’s back. Shed rods are used to carefully weave cotton yarn back and forth. The weaver then uses her body weight to tension the loom. This method allows the skillful weaver to create an endless array of complex patterns and decorations.
The foot-treadle loom is a simple foot-operated device used to weave fabric. It enables the weaver to weave faster and create more uniform patterns, while still weaving by hand in the traditional Mayan methods.
We work with 100 amazing and talented women from five different regions in the Guatemalan highlands.