Luna del Pinal
Luna Del Pinal is a brand fascinated with the artisanal craftsmanship and artistic heritage of Guatemala. Founders Gabriela and Corina set out on an adventure to learn about an ancient Backstrap Weaving technique from Guatemala and the idea of a brand grew from there. The concept of slow fashion is fundamental to the brand, creating ethical, handmade garments, which celebrate and support native artisans. With such a contemporary and fresh aesthetic, there is a notable buzz around this brand. Their collection has just landed at VASQUIAT and we were eager to find out more.
How and why did Luna Del Pinal originate?
It happened very organically during a trip to Guatemala. The trip was not intended with the idea of starting a brand. All we wanted was a break from fashion whilst learning more about Backstrap Weaving and to really immerse ourselves in nature and the origins of textile.
We took a course with an association in Atitlan with whom we kept in touch and started sampling with. After a few samples back and forth, we made a capsule collection of 6 jackets and launched Luna Del Pinal in Paris for AW16.
Where do you see Luna Del Pinal’s position in the fashion industry?
Luna Del Pinal is a luxury brand that breaks with the stereotypes of a "sustainable brand" but still encourages the world to be more socially and environmentally conscious.
Can you tell us more about Backstrap Weaving and why you were eager to learn about it?
It’s one of the most ancient techniques in textile making and a very time consuming, intricate art that also requires a lot of strength and can be very meditative. Your body is the tool that creates the tension in the loom in order to weave.
Why do you think it is important to keep these artisanal techniques alive?
It’s our history.
They are part of our past and they have to be part of our future. To lose this would be to lose a huge part of our culture.
Imagine how sad it would be if everything we know was made mechanically. There is no soul, no love, no luxury in things that are made industrially. They have no value and it’s probably also a huge reason for why people can discard their clothes so easily.
What is the reason you have chosen to base production in Guatemala?
We are lucky enough to work with some of the best, most skilled artisans on the planet. Guatemala’s textile scene is super rich, so it makes sense to keep exploring the endless possibilities offered. Also, half of our brand is Guatemalan (Corina).
“A huge goal of ours since the start has been to preserve artisanal techniques and our challenge was to modernise the techniques so that more people would understand this and develop the same passion we have for them.”
Can you tell us more about the local artists and craftspeople you have been working with in Guatemala?
In the beginning, when we started, we would travel lots into the deepest bits of Guatemala to visit the communities we work with and they would bring us into their homes, introduce us to their families and cook delicious meals for us. They try their very best to make you feel special and make sure you know how grateful they are for a new order. This has always been a huge highlight of our brand and how we want Luna Del Pinal to continue growing. Through these tight bonds we have learnt about their way of life and to respect their customs and traditions.
We’d like to tell you that our friends are struggling deeply due to the situation the world is living and through the halt in economies worldwide, they’ve been hit even harder. They are used to living on a day to day basis and this is now impossible. Access to essential needs like food and water is close to inexistent. They need help.
Does the Luna Del Pinal brand now have a connection and responsibility to support the craftspeople working in Guatemala?
Yes! So much! Ever since Covid-19 was considered a pandemic, we’ve been in touch with all the communities we work with and we have lived their struggle horribly. They are freelancers that don’t benefit from government help as other parts of the world do and as their employers, we have a responsibility with them. We are proud to say we have raised $17,500 plus in two weeks. Our goal is $40,000 which will mean we can help 650 families, close to 4000 people. If you would like to help, you can do so by helping us spread the word and by donating to our cause. Find more on our social media @arte.sano.earth and @lunadelpinal.
How closely do you work with the craftspeople during the production process?
Very, very closely. If we can’t be in Guatemala this will happen through innumerable Skype calls and when we are in the country we will visit them or invite them to visit us and work together.
"Through these tight bonds we have learnt about their way of life and to respect their customs and traditions."
“Luxury is to own a unique handmade garment, made by an artisan who has been mastering a technique for centuries. A luxury garment will not dictate who you become but will live with you and become part of your life.”
What does the word ‘luxury’ mean to the brand?
Luxury is to own a unique handmade garment, made by an artisan who has been mastering a technique for centuries. A luxury garment will not dictate who you become but will live with you and become part of your life.
How have your collections evolved as you have grown as a brand?
We don’t just make jackets anymore, although we do get described as the jackets label a lot. It’s also not all handwoven, we want to preserve as many artisanal techniques as we can. As we grow, our hunger to learn more and use more techniques keeps increasing. We would love to keep exploring and keep surprising people whilst still being able to say: that’s a Luna Del Pinal thing.
What is the most important thing you have learnt since launching the brand?
The importance of sustainability moving forward and to listen and respect the artisans, their traditions and their customs. We have also learnt the real challenge of creating beautiful everyday clothes that are wearable but still made to the highest standards by the best makers.
Also, how not to underestimate production…haha
How do you control your production and ensure you maintain quality?
Welcome to the story of our lives. There are huge amounts of work and effort that go into each and every production and with Luna Del Pinal we go through the process twice for each collection. Haha! One being the production of textile and the second the manufacturing of the garments.
We do visit our manufacturers regularly and make sure communication is super clear and as straightforward as possible through every step of the way.
With our textiles is a different story. We actually embrace imperfections and irregularities. We took on irregularities from the very start. It’s what makes the fabrics so beautiful and after all, it is done by hand, it can’t be perfect and we don’t want it to. The imperfections are what make them perfect.
“We took on irregularities from the very start. It’s what makes the fabrics so beautiful and after all, it is done by hand, it can’t be perfect and we don’t want it to. The imperfections are what make them perfect.”
Do you think we are on the right path for a sustainable fashion industry?
You could already see progress before Covid happened and due to the pandemic, many more measures are being taken that will hopefully change fashion for good. It is essential that big houses take the lead in this as they have the loudest voices and people will listen to them.
We also wanted to say how we believe it’s urgent that the fashion industry starts making a change regarding racism.
It’s time for black talent to be acknowledged and for the whole industry to be inclusive and be diverse.
Again, it is crucial for big houses to take the lead as they are for one, so influenced by black culture and so they should honour it, but also because they hold more power and will be listened to.
A change is just so necessary.
Luna Del Pinal commits to educate ourselves, learn and do better.
Do you think the Covid-19 pandemic will dawn a new era of responsible fashion?
Yes, absolutely. Big changes are already happening, which is a great sign.
We have to be resilient and understand what this new world and new customer will want. Sales have drastically dropped and the consumer will not be buying like it was before Covid. People will be more cautious of where to invest their money. Surely, something created with meaning and value will be a good place to invest in.
The future is scary for all of us but we have been given the unique chance of changing everything we’ve always wanted to change and we should take it and make things better, slower and more consciously. Precise, beautiful, essential.
We have all seen how fashion cannot keep being what it was and it is time to change and do things better.
“It’s time for black talent to be acknowledged and for the whole industry to be inclusive and be diverse.”
Why do you think the idea of ‘slow fashion’ is important in the industry today?
Global warming is a reality our industry has to be held accountable for it. We can’t keep producing the immense amounts of clothing that we do, when to this day, 40 million tons are being discarded a year.
What other artisanal techniques have you discovered and why do you think it is important to keep these alive?
Throughout the years, we have worked with embroidery, crochet and hand dyeing as well as hand-weaving. Every technique, however, offers millions of possibilities and we can get really specific. It’s all about discovery and history. We have a healthy obsession of wanting to use every new technique we discover. It’s so exciting.
The beauty of artisanal techniques lies in the history behind them and how they develop throughout time, because they reach new places, have been influenced by other techniques and sometimes end up merging into something new.
The artisanal techniques are part of our history. They are part of our past and they have to be part of our future. To lose this would be to lose a huge part of our culture. Imagine how sad it would be if everything we know was made mechanically.
There is no soul, no love, no luxury in things that are made industrially.
They have no value and it’s probably also a huge reason for why people can discard their clothes so easily.
What’s next for Luna Del Pinal?
India!! Hemp textiles, artisanal techniques in Europe...
Our journey has always been about exploring textiles and it would be super interesting to start exploring science and textiles. There are numerous interesting projects happening between science and fabric. It is the future and it would be mega if we could create biodegradable clothes – a very responsible way of making trendy garments.